Born in Copenhagen in 1962, designer Nina Tolstrup studied marketing at the Copenhagen Business School, earning her Bachelor’s degree in 1986. Between 1986 and 1989, she worked as a marketing coordinator at the Scandinavian department store Magasin du Nord, going on to train as a designer at the École nationale supérieure de création industrielle (ENSCI-Les Ateliers) from 1989 to 1990. Between 1990 and 1995, she worked as a trend forecaster, editor, and photojournalist in Paris and, from 1995 to 1996, as a design manager at Eleven Danes Design in Copenhagen.
In 2000, Tolstrup and her husband and collaborator Jack Mama founded the multidisciplinary Studiomama in London’s East End. In 2013, a second studio location was established in Stockholm. Studiomama designs furniture, electronic products, exhibitions, jewelry, glassware, and interior and architectural projects. Clients include Habitat, E&Y, the Danish Embassy in London, Wentworth, twentytwentyone, and Lexon, among others. In addition to its client-driven work, the studio also designs and manufactures a range of self-directed pieces in-house. An often humorous, minimalist aesthetic characterizes much of Studiomama’s work, as does a passion for craft, upcycled materials, and overall sustainability.
Notable projects include Re-Imagined (2011–13)—a seating collection created from chair frames discovered around Tolstrup’s East London home—and Waste Not, Want Not—a furniture series for Bloomberg 2012 that recycles over 400 used wooden pallets from the company’s waste.
Tolstrup is based primarily in London. Since 2009, in addition to her design work, she has also served as a consulting professor and curator of Danish craft at the London branch of Syracuse University.