Medtech inspired by art

7 November 2017

Recently, a portrait of Bactiguard’s innovator, Billy Södervall, was unveiled at Bactiguard’s headquarters in Botkyrka. The portrait, painted by the renowned Swedish artist Urban Larsson is a tribute to the innovator and founder of Bactiguard’s unique infection prevention technology.

“Billy Södervall is the DNA of Bactiguard, he is the founder of our unique technology,” says Christian Kinch, CEO at Bactiguard and the man behind the idea of the portrait.

“The portrait is a tribute to a very special man whose innovation and life’s work saves at least 10 lives every day!”

It is the renowned Swedish artist Urban Larsson who has painted the portrait of the Swedish inventor. Urban Larsson who, some years previously, had the honour of immortalising the Swedish queen, H.M. Queen Silvia, a painting now hanging at Gripsholm castle and belonging to the National Museum.

Early in his career Billy Södervall started working with the engineer and lighting expert Axel Bergström, who had been an apprentice to Gustav Dahlén – the Nobel Prize winner in Physics in 1912 as well as the innovator behind “Agafyren”. Bergström developed the technology of applying a thin layer of metal on non-conductive material and he transferred the knowledge to his pupil Billy Södervall. Billy further refined the technology and developed the application area into Bactiguard’s infection prevention technology, which prevents bacterial adhesion and biofilm emerging on medical devices.

Billy is still active in the company, working continuously on new applications for medical devices.

“Billy is like a walking, exuberant, energized popcorn machine of ideas,” explains Christian Kinch. “And at the same time a responsible person who never postpones anything until next day.”

The artist Urban Larsson and inventor Billy Södervall found many common elements in art and science during their many and long sessions in Larsson’s studio in Amsterdam.

“We both work with something that is based on reality and requires direct observation,” states Larsson. “Both within art and science we need to observe and take a step back before we can move on.”

“It was a wonderful experience to be portrayed,” acknowledges Södervall. “It was the first time someone managed to make me sit still for 3-4 hours in a row! In addition, Urban and I had many deep and interesting conversations during these hours. There is a clear link between chemistry and art. Like art, the most important thing in my development work is to continuously observe what’s happening. “

“When I was told for the first time that I would be portrayed, it did not make any sense to me,” says Södervall. “What did I and the queen have in common? But then I got it! At Bactiguard we have a technique of noble metal alloys; gold, silver and palladium …. and that’s a bit precious! I am extremely grateful, it was a tremendous experience to be portrayed,” concludes the Swedish innovator whose portrait is now available for viewing at Bactiguard’s headquarters in Botkyrka.