Art is all around at Brillo

Are you dying for an ice cream, a five-course dinner, or just some great music over a cocktail late at night? If you are in central Stockholm, at virtually any time of the day, Taverna Brillo, will cater for your needs. A bustling establishment right in the core of Stureplan, with a special relationship to art. Jenny Danielsson sat down with Luciano Leiva and Carl Carboni to find out more about how art plays a vital role at this restaurant.

5 min read

We meet up at The Green House Bar (in Swedish Växthusbaren), located at the back of the restaurant. A large rectangular space with two bars, a greenhouse with trees and featuring a large bronze sculpture by Oskar Korsár. There are paintings on the walls in the section where a group of people hover over their laptops. For anyone with a portable workspace this is a great spot.    

Luciano Leiva (LL) is The Green House Bar’s art and music organiser. He has observant, intense green eyes. We say hello, and he goes over to a large table with all the gear any DJ could ever dream of. He puts on some music, which sets the scene perfectly for a chat over coffee in the late afternoon. Luciano is a successful club manager, as well as a proficient DJ in his own right. He points out that the curtain at the photo booth is made by Ida Sjöstedt, an award winning Swedish fashion designer running her own clothing line. We are joined by Carl Carboni (CC), elegant as always in a three-piece suit, with a friendly smile on his face.

We sit down underneath a work by NUG, a well-known Swedish graffiti artist who went from being an illegal action painter to being represented by the fashionable Gallery Steinsland Berliner Gallery. This journey was made via the respected University College of Arts, Crafts and Design, and a presentation in an art fair in 2008, that outraged the then Minister of Culture, and stirred a debate around the borders of art production.

How come there is a site-specific mural by NUG here?

CC: The owner, PG Nilsson, has always been interested in integrating and working with art in his restaurants. Over the years, he has also worked closely with the art advisor KIWI, a partnership between the two artists Ulf Kihlander and Martin Wickström. It was their suggestion to add this punk element to the restaurant when it opened in 2012.

LL: The carpet design in the restaurant is made by the same artist.

Carl, what is your role in the business?

CC: I am Svenska Brasserier’s brand manager. My job is to develop the brand and to work with the overall image of all the restaurants.

Is Tavern Brillo part of Svenska Brasserier?

CC: Yes. Svenska Brasserier consists of a group of restaurants, 6 in total. The majority are located around this area.

LL: Another part of this group is Riche. I used to run a club there, every Thursday for 8 years, before I was invited to manage the events here at The Green House Bar.

CC: Riche also has brilliant site specific art work. For example , a window piece made by Gunilla Klingberg.

It’s brilliant how art has its own section on each restaurant’s website. How does the art programme come about?

LL: The programme at The Green House Bar has grown organically.  It’s been a process right from the start. Thinking about it, I guess it often comes via the music. This is a venue for hanging out with friends, to get introduced to new people, and to have a great time. Art is an integrated part of everything we wish to create. This summer we have a couple of clubs run by artists, and staff in the gallery. It all blends together.

How did the current summer show with Fifa 200 come about?

LL: Fifa 2000 is an artist from Chile. He is represented by MEGA Foundation, for the moment located in Solna. Maria Elena Guerra Aredal, who runs the place, presented a show with his work and we got talking about having an extension of that show here. So we did. We also hosted the party after the opening reception in Solna.  

Do you have a budget to work with?

LL: No, we don’t, and I am glad that we don’t have one. The art projects we decide to engage with don't really need to generate money  and put it back into the organisation. Also, we are not trying to create a commercial site for art here. But, of course, we are more than happy to connect a potential buyer to the exhibiting artist.

What role does the art that you work with play?

LL: It’s an element of what we do. We have no interest in promoting anyone already established. It's more about looking for tomorrow's talent.

CC: This is in a way what we’ve done at Riche for many years. There is a now a long tradition of presenting shows in the bar area, as well as in the restaurant.

Do you have a wish list of artists you’d like to put on display?

LL: No, and that’s the point. We are only ever as good as our last gig. There is so much talent out there, that we haven’t even been introduced for yet. I prefer to keep my eyes open, always.

CC: I absolutely agree. Let’s see what the future holds.    

Who’s your crowd?

LL: Anyone looking for a great atmosphere. The idea is to create a wide range of club and events. We can’t cater for everyone’s taste every time, but we hope to attract as many people as possible.

CC: Everyone is welcome!

The image above is a portrait of Carl Carboni, made by the artist Jon Holm.  


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