Emma Aars
KOKOON Favourite Places

Berkeley - California

Emma Aars is wearing Brighton Blazer - Black

Legends like author Joan Didion and philosopher and gender theorist Judith Butler inspired 23-year-old Emma Aars to leave Norway’s rocky coastline and study sociology at The University of California, Berkeley and step the same grounds, they have done in the past. When she needs a break from words and her studies, Emma plans her own projects. Among them an Instagram account evolving around sociology and fashion – a combination she takes great interest in.

Where’s your favourite place?
At the moment it’s Berkeley, California, where I live and study. The campus is absolutely beautiful, and I love walking home just before sunset through the huge green areas surrounded by libraries. It’s maybe a little cheesy to say, but after long days buried in theories and footnotes, it’s so refreshing to step outside, get some air, stretch my legs, but also get the perspective on everything that is thought, written and read inside these buildings.

Why is this your favourite place?
I guess, I really love everyday life and find it magical in all its ordinariness. That’s why I also love all the places that make up my everyday life - which at the moment consist of my home, the fifteen-minute walk to campus and the evening walks in the Berkeley Hills. On these walks I get to look at all the houses. And I get a glance of the lives behind the windows, all these customized registration plates people have on their cars, where people write their own weird messages. I saw ‘ROTHKO’ on a red Tesla the other day, that’s my favourite so far. And a campus filled with magnolia trees, a local supermarket with different samples every day, stopping by Goodwill in the hunt for funny coffee mugs or nice cheap clothes or just to listen to the music they play in store. 

How did you experience the place for the first time?
I arrived at Berkeley in January 2019, and for a long time I waited for that big a-ha moment, realizing I’d already started a new life here a little while back. Consequently, I immediately felt completely at home. This was kind of an absurd feeling, I had to get used to.

Things you usually do when you’re there? 
Have visitors! I first of all bring them to my two favourite supermarkets, ha ha! Berkeley Bowl and Trader Joe’s are both so amazing. Show them my favourite libraries, walk up to Lawrence Hall of Science to watch the architecture and the view and end the day with food at Ippuku, which’s an amazing izakaya. 

Is it a place you like to visit by yourself or with someone?
In many ways, I feel like I have Berkeley to myself - in the same way as I share my everyday routines with myself in my own company. I don’t think, I would want to, or really be able to, share my relationship with the city with other people. I don’t remember, where I read it, but there is this notion, that a city doesn’t exist in itself - there only exist as many cities as there exist different lives lived within the city. Kind of a city being an experience rather than a place.