To understand what is commonly considered to be ‘Swedish design’, first you need to understand a snippet of Sweden’s history.
“The concept of folkhem – coined more than a century ago – called for a democratisation of people’s homes to make them functional and equal for all Swedes. It’s still very much present in the way people consume design today,” explains Paola Bjäringer, founder of Misschiefs, a collective of 10 female designers who are challenging the status quo of Swedish design.
She adds that a new wave of designers are beginning to reimagine what Swedish design stands for. Among them are her fellow Misschiefs trailblazers.
“We aim to present high-end limited edition objects and furniture created with total freedom of expression,” says Paola. “We need to rethink how we create, produce and buy design that lasts and help us better our everyday lives both as functional objects but also as broader proposals for societal change.”
Paola Bjäringer. Credit: Kimberly Ihre
Throughout February, Misschiefs will be exhibiting their collection of contemporary collectible design* in central Stockholm, launching on the opening day of this year’s Stockholm Design Week. It’s the most important week of the year for Scandinavian design with the main event, the Stockholm Light & Furniture Fair at Stockholmsmässan, opening on 8th February. But there’s plenty more to see and do; hundreds of other design events – from exhibitions and seminars to workshops and cocktail evenings – will also take place across the city.
Designers – and design lovers – from across the globe will congregate in the city for Stockholm Design Week and, most likely, a spot of shopping and sightseeing. But where should they start? The Local asked Paola where she turns for design inspiration and alternative retail therapy in the capital.
Not only does Woodstockholm serve up some of the most delicious – and most inventive – dishes in the city, it also doubles as a furniture store. The food and furniture share the same philosophy: traditional craftsmanship, quality raw materials, and innovation. The menu is themed and changes every couple of months, so expect something different every time you dine.
Situated on trendy Södermalm island, Butiken Republiken is a boutique and showroom featuring unique design pieces, sculptural building kits, and curated vintage objects. Its founders’ passion for design shines through in the hand-picked collection which is an eclectic blend of old and new. In true Swedish style, there’s also a strong focus on sustainability which is achieved by selling handmade pieces or items produced only in small quantities.
Founded in 1674, Stockholms Auktionsverk is the world’s oldest auction house to still be in operation today. It’s the leading marketplace for art, crafts and antiques in the Nordics, selling pieces from a variety of ages and eras. “It’s the best place to buy and see objects in town,” enthuses Paola. “For example, it’s the only auction house daring to sell contemporary design prototypes.”
Run by Sweden’s Salvation Army, you’ll find Myrorna second-hand shops across the country. “There’s fantastic stuff to be found,” says Paola. Pick up vintage clothes, find a piece of retro furniture, or hunt for smaller design items. There’s plenty to rummage through and lots of Scandi gems waiting to be rediscovered.
Every weekend between April and September, stalls and food trucks spring up along the waterfront in Hornstull. “It’s a great weekend flea market,” says Paola, and one of the liveliest weekend events in the city as well as a hotspot for the city’s coolest dwellers. Grab a bite to eat and enjoy it in the sunshine sat on wooden deck benches overlooking the water before bagging a bargain.
Moderna Museet museum shop
Located on the island of Skeppsholmen, Stockholm’s Moderna Museet was opened in 1958 to collect, preserve and exhibit modern and contemporary art. It’s worth visiting the museum as much for the collection as it is to check out the museum shop which is a treasure trove of design-related treats. “There’s always a good choice of interesting smaller design items,” Paola tells The Local.
Nordiska Galleriet might not be first that springs to mind when you think of alternative shopping spots, but Paola believes a change in management is beckoning in a new era for one of Europe’s leading contemporary classic furniture stores. “The store famous for showcasing and selling high-end designer objects and furniture looks to be heading towards more risky stuff and featuring specially-made designs like the lamp by Färg&Blanche,” she says.
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*A portion of the profits from each item purchased at the Misschiefs exhibition will be donated to The Case For Her, a trailblazing funding collaborative that invests in two areas: menstruation and female sexual health and pleasure.
This article was produced by The Local Creative Studio and sponsored by Visit Sweden and Visit Stockholm.