FROM THE NORTH
Inspired by his Sámi heritage and Lapland roots Per Enoksson founded Hikki – a company creating saunas and wood-fired bathtubs in Umeå, Northern Sweden. Hikki develops sustainable products with timeless design, encouraging a tranquil lifestyle. As a child, Enoksson learned to craft Sámi everyday objects out of leather and reindeer horn at his parents’ studio, and the unlimited possibilities for creative adventures contributed to his choice of profession later in life. The Hikki wood-fired bathtubs can be experienced at the famous Ice Hotel in Jukkasjärvi, among other places.
Students at work at the Umeå Institute of Design at Umeå University in the north of Sweden. Since it opened in 1989, the school has gained a reputation as a dynamic environment with exceptional possibilities for creative studies.Photo: Jonatan Stålhös/imagebank.sweden.se
Up north you will also find the internationally acclaimed Umeå Institute of Design, connecting industrial design talents from around the globe. Since UID opened in 1989, it has gained a reputation as a dynamic environment with exceptional possibilities for creative studies.
The traditional houses of Elsborg in Falun, Dalarna.Photo: Jonas Lindgren/Visit Dalarna
The classic red paint, Falu rödfärg, is also a product from the North. The paint is immensely popular among Swedes, and red houses with white corners have become somewhat of an icon for Sweden. Falu rödfärg is in fact an earth paint, traditionally made from debris from a well-known copper mine in Falun, Dalarna. There are numerous places in Dalarna where you can find traditional red houses, such as Elsborg in Falun.
FROM THE SOUTH
In the south of Sweden, especially in Småland and Skåne, you’ll find several of the country’s most prominent furniture and interior design producers. The reason is simple: an abundance of forests and water, supporting both the furniture and glass industry. Many furniture companies have been family owned for generations, while some of the newer ones are taking another step into the future with new methods of sustainable production, new distribution channels and international collaborations. The beauty for the producers is to have all their suppliers and craftsmanship nearby, so they control the quality during the whole process. Sweden is also one of the few European countries where local production has increased during the past ten years. An increasing number of producers base their work on an environmental awareness that generates added value and international competitiveness.
Chairs Dent by Blå Station at restaurant Borgmästargården in Kristianstad, Skåne.Photo: Blå Station
Blå Station is one of the family businesses in Skåne, located in what used to be a sewing factory in Åhus, on the southeast coast of Sweden. Curiosity is the fuel of Blå Station, and they aim to “keep searching, not for the already known and established, but for the unexpected, yet-to-be discovered”. Blå Station has for example contributed to the design of the restaurant Borgmästargården in Kristianstad.
Källemo Furniture Manufacturers aim to create sustainable and timeless furniture, which will outlive temporary trends. The A’EKI chair, designed by Sigurdur Gustafsson, and Concrete chair, designed by Jonas Bohlin, have become popular design items due to their quality and elegance.Photo: Tina Stafrén/imagebank.sweden.se
In the heart of the old forests of Småland lies Gemla Furniture, the oldest furniture factory in Sweden. Its inner sanctum, beech and ash are tamed into timeless furniture by skilled craftsmen, with sustainability as their key value. Another furniture producer in Småland focusing on sustainability is Källemo, creating high-quality furniture with long-term validity, meaning that trends are unimportant in their designs. They have a public showroom located in Värnamo, where you can view their designs.
Top-end furniture manufacturer Lammhults is also located in the south of Sweden, with a production facility in a modern 10,000 square meter factory along with a large showroom. Other brands originating from the South are the modern light manufacturers Pholc and Zero, as well as lifestyle brand David Design.
FROM THE WEST
Sweden is one of the world’s most innovative and research-intensive nations. Several universities place high in European rankings, and their research has contributed to the global success of Sweden’s many high-tech companies.Photo: Sofia Sabel/imagebank.sweden.se
New designers are constantly appearing in West Sweden. Thanks to the Academy of Design and Crafts at Gothenburg University, the west coast is home to many talented artists and designers from all over the world. The school focuses on different kinds of arts and crafts such as pottery, furniture production and textile design.
The Rörstrand museum is situated in Lidköping and displays beautiful Rörstrand porcelain collections.Photo: Rörstrand
Besides producing new talent, the west coast also has a long history of successful design brands, such as the almost 300-year-old porcelain manufacturer Rörstrand. You can learn more about their designs at the Rörstrand museum situated in the old factory premises in Lidköping. The museum displays plenty of beautiful collections as well as tools, sketches and a round kiln. Other brands with a long history in West Sweden are Korbo, Tre Sekel and Bolon.
The heart of Swedish textile production is also located in the West, in Borås, known as the textile city. The town was a meeting point for selling handmade textile products as early as the 16th century. Many textile industries were established there in the 19th century, which was the start of a successful international textile trade. Bolon is one of the textile companies in West Sweden, having transformed from a traditional weavery to a successful design brand creating innovative flooring and creative interiors for customers such as Armani, Google and Mercedes. All of Bolon’s production facilities are still located in West Sweden. Other brands with a long history in the West are Korbo and Tre Sekel.
Cement tiles by Marrakech Design at Scandic Grand Central Teaterbrasseriet in Stockholm.Photo: Scandic
A newer company from the West is Carpe Diem Beds, creating comfortable beds inspired by the nature on the west coast - in particular the feeling of lying down on the soft heather growing in the archipelago. Other new brands are Studio Dejawu and Studio Mutant, as well as Marrakech Design creating cement tiles inspired by Moroccan style. The tiles have become very popular and can be seen at design hotels such as Scandic Grand Central Hotel and Hotel Haymarket in Stockholm.
The Swedish capital has become globally renowned for its design scene. In Stockholm, progressive design is visible all over the city - in public spaces, restaurants, bars, showrooms, boutiques and museums, with sustainability and innovation as key values. Being the world’s second biggest hub for tech and startups, Stockholm attracts innovative people from all over the globe, which has definitely made an impact on the design scene.
One source of innovative design is Beckmans College of Design, located in the heart of Stockholm. The school has been a meeting point for the artistic progress for the past 75 years, continuously producing new talent. Beckmans arranges exhibitions, fashion shows and lectures in Stockholm throughout the year.
Experience innovative design at Design House Stockholm, in the shopping centre NK i Stockholm city.Photo: Design House Stockholm
Design House Stockholm is another Stockholm based brand, describing themselves as a publisher of design rather than a producer. They collect ideas from various designers, of which some are later selected for production. The aim is to create products that add an element of innovation to their genre. The flagship store is located at shopping centre NK in Stockholm.
The chandeliers at Noi by Nobis Hotel are designed by Antoni Arola, and are part of a project by Dahl Agenturer.Photo: Peo Bengtsson/Nobis Hospitality Group
Having connected architects with producers for over 40 years Dahl Agenturer has completed numerous successful interior design projects in Sweden. The showroom in Stockholm displays a constantly evolving collection of design items personally selected by the staff. However, Dahl’s projects can also be experienced all over Stockholm, such as the modern chandeliers at restaurant Noi at the contemporary luxury hotel Nobis in the city centre.
Outdoor furniture Parco and poster board Bill Post in Pildamsparken, Malmö. Designed by Broberg & Ridderstråle for Nola.Photo: Nola
Design in public spaces is an important part of making design accessible to a wider audience, and Nola is a Stockholm based brand specializing in this. They focus on high quality, functionality and sustainability, combined with interesting designs that add a sense of innovation to public spaces all over Sweden. Their outdoor designs can be seen by the shores of Riddarholmen, or in Pildammsparken in Malmö, for example.
Asplund is another Stockholm based company, displaying their furniture as art objects in the Asplund Gallery. Furniture producer Articles and handicraft specialist Friends of Handicraft, studios Färg & Blanche, No Early birds and Cake, as well as top-end textile and fashion brands Astrid, John Sterner and Hope, are all based in Stockholm.