Hilda Hellstrom
Hilda Hellstrom. Photograph by Coco Capitan.

“People look at my pieces and don’t understand how they’re made or what they’re made from,” says the Swedish designer Hilda Hellström, who is known for her vases and urns that appear to be carved from natural marble— if marble came in swirls of teal and peach. Her production process, which she developed as a grad student at London’s Royal College of Art, involves layering a resin-soaked powder called jesmonite into a mold—almost like ’70s sand art—then carving and polishing it to look like stone. In addition to urns, Hellström, 30, has turned the stuff into crystalline sculptures for Swarovski and tables for the New York design store Matter. For a show at Stockholm’s Gustavsbergs Konsthall gallery this month, she cast various materials inside jesmonite logs and then sliced them open like geodes. The exhibition also features sculptures made from anthracite, a glossy coal that’s easy to mistake for plastic. “It can be so hard to tell these days what’s fake and what’s not,” she says. “I just love playing with people’s conception of reality.”

The Monument. Photograph by Asmund Sollihogda.