Designers on Holiday is a summer camp in Gotland, Sweden, for 20- and 30-something creatives. The brainchild of designers Bobby Petersen and Tom Gottelier of LA- and Oslo-based Petersen & Gottelier, the getaway was conceived in 2014—a year after the two graduated from London’s Royal College of Art—when they acquired a 3.5-acre parcel of farmland from a friend’s mother. It’s a place for kindred spirits to spend a few sunny weeks together dreaming up and building structures for outdoor living: tents, micro-cabins, saunas, and shower towers, all with a focus on “sustainable, off-grid living in a modern, luxurious, and design-conscious way.”
Petersen and Gottelier are an international duo: “Bobby is Swedish-American, and studied in Sweden, Iceland, and the UK,” they explain. “Tom is British, and studied in the Netherlands and the UK by way of Sri Lanka.” Designers on Holiday began as a passion project: seeing the value of collaboration, they enlisted friends to join them on their island retreat off Sweden’s southeast coast. Now, they host a minimum of 30 designers each summer for one- and two-week stays—admission is by portfolio and interview, and the fee is a mere £20 per day, including meals, materials, and field trips (“it is very much not for profit,”says Gottelier). The past two seasons had to be canceled due to Covid. Still, Petersen and Gottelier have continued dreaming up Designers on Holiday-like structures in California—and using DOH as the signature name for their outdoorsy designs. Join us for a look at what they’ve been up to in Sweden and California.
The camp has slowly come to be courtesy of its campers: each season, new structures get added that are both essential (the cooking area) and fun (the plunge pool, outdoor gym, and movie theater). Tents, cabins, and anything collapsible is stored in a barn during the winter.