Thought of the Day

I don't believe in morality, but I believe in ethical conduct as set out by His Holiness the Dalai Lama: "Ethical conduct = a way of behaving that respects others’ right to be happy".

Saturday, 17 October 2009

STOCKHOLM :: Mini Style Guide for Conscientious Citytrotters

"Stockholmers have an incredible quality of never taking things too far. Whether it's in design, architecture, fashion or catering, Swedes just seem to achieve the ideal balance. They've even got the perfect word for it, lagom, which means 'just right'. "
This description wraps the captivating duality of Stockholm: a cosmopolitan capital taking the foreign influences to heart while retaining self-awareness and Nordic coolness.

First of all, make sure you have a Wallpaper City Guide at hand. It is pocket-size, easy to flick through and at £4.95 inexpensive. I like how the blurb reads: "discreet so that you don’t feel like a tourist" -- the worse nightmare of many citytrotters, my husband included: he is always reluctant to show himself in public consulting a Lonely Planet Guide or a city map.

Although highly criticised, one of the merits of frill-free airlines is to have reunited Europe. It has never been easier and cheaper travelling around our continent.

Where to stay 

If you feel nautical and wish a sea view, J Sealodge Gashaga is the place for you.

If you look for the same ambience at a more affordable price, the ship hostel is a quirky and economic choice. Its superb location  (it is set on central  island) and ecological breakfasts are a plus.

Alternatively, Birger Jar Hotel offers contemporary bedrooms, each designed by a different local designer. I particularly like the bold prints of suite 621 designed by interior design company Svenskt Tenn.

What to pack
It's a cold country and rather freezing for more than half of the year. So, it is paramount that you keep warm as cold feet may affect the quality of your stay. Even though winter days are so short that you feel obliged to make the most of them, I personally find Nordic cities in the cold months authentically charming. So, assuming you will be visiting in the coming months, the question is: how to be warm while retaining that chic city look?
You could take inspiration from street style blogs, or play safe and pack a technical gear that works also outside the ski runs.

Stockholm city Look
If it is not a minus degree temperature, this practical, vaguely nautical look, will do.

Pop Culture
Before visiting a place, I like to immerse myself into its popular culture through films, art, design and food. It is a way of getting into the *globetrotting mode* to fully suck in the zest of it.
Aside one of the most acclaimed Swedish directors Ingmar Bergman, I appreciate the work of Lasse Hallström on Chocolat, What's Eating Gilbert Grape and, above all, Life as a Dog (photo above).

Together by Lukas Moodysson is a chaotic film exploring the messy dynamics of a modern commune. It is a film of *feelings*, funny and sweet.

Scandinavian design is renowned world-wide. One of the reasons behind its popularity must have to do with the fact that cold climates make you productive and creative. I recently stumbled across this lush Swedish design magazine: Skona hem, first seen on Jubella. 

If you want to take a peek at original Swedish houses, take a house tour around lovely Benita Larsson's house. I also recommend a couple of eye-candy design blogs,  rigorously made in Sweden: Emma Designblogg and Om Hoom Sthlm

Viaggi e Sapori is a food blog created by an Italian lady living in Stockholm and conveniently written in Italian and English. She mainly cooks Italian cuisine, but every now and then she throws in delicious Swedish recepies, such as Yellow Pea Soup, Swedish Potatoes Gratin and Pyttipanna.


Allmanna Galleriet 925 exudes a certain degree of shabby chic ambience. It is a restaurant, bar and club, all in once.  


I would happily get lost in the cobbled streets of Gamla Stan (the Old Town) and spend a substantial chunk of my time in the galleries and design shops of Skeppholmen, the Museum Island.

The visit would not be complete without a stroll in the up-and-coming district of Kungsholmen (photo by Peter Leonard) and amongst the cutting-edge boutiques and boho cafes of Södermalm.
Photo here

If I need to pick one of Stockholm's many islands, I would choose Djurgården. It is a royal parkland, with open-air museums and galleries dotted about. A relaxing place, as my Swedish friend defined it.


Sofo is the coolest shopping enclave in Södermalm, showcasing emerging Scandinavian labels.

When I was in Helsinki two years ago I came across this label which looks quintessentially Swedish and with the coolest name: 5th Avenue Shoe Repair. The collection is rigorously  monochromatic with focus on the intricate sartorial cut. It looks extravagant and yet so portable.

I have just bumped into this photo collection of craft and design shops in Stockholm. They are certainly worth a look. Your mouth will start watering and you will be start longing for a trip to Stockholm!

I cannot finish this excursus of all Swedish-related things without mention of the home of all homes: IKEA. No need, of course, to pay a visit to this sanctuary of affordable and creative home décor, but I cherry picked some of classic must-haves for your convenience:

Clockwise from top: The ubiquitous DOCKSTA table, TIRUP swivel chair, IKEA Swedish meatballs and New Printed Fabrics.

Swedish Massage

I would spend the last morning of my trip in a SPA and indulge in a Swedish massage. Sturebadet is an historical SPA which hosted stars of the calibre of Greta Garbo.

Photo seen on Muttaburrasaurus

If you prefer a more minimal environment, then Yasuragi is where you can spend Zen moments and receive a soothing massage before your flight home.

Creative Stockholm
Check out the Fun Theory, successfully experimented at Odenplace station. Very funny!

1 comment:

vi said...

oohhhh... in sofo we had nice shopping!! and we also have a picture for you!!! we have to meet absolutely.