Friday, 26 July, 2013 | in Places
Gotland: Bungenäs Peninsula
Piles of white stone dot the lengthy path into the Bungenäs peninsula in northeast Gotland. This was once the largest limestone quarry on Gotland before it turned into a military training ground in the early 1960's.
Today though there's no hum of heavy machinery or artillery blasting. It's very quiet. As we finally come upon signs of civilization our first impression lands somewhere on the edge of eeriness and delight. The scene takes a moment to settle into.
Idyllic buildings from the early 1900's, recently restored, sit in an industrial landscape. Old rustic signs point the way to contemporary art exhibits and inviting restaurants stake their place among the original oven stacks.
It turns out that Skälsö Architects has been commissioned to turn the deserted peninsula into a place where people will want to visit and live, and they're going about it in a very interesting way.
Instead of working to disguise the cratered land with its 100 or so concrete bunkers and steep quarry edges, they're embracing it just as it is. A total of about 150 residential home plots have been selected and developed to blend into the surroundings with low, ground-level buildings in concrete or wood, recessed windows to minimize glare, and a muted color palette of gray, brown and green.
The old factory area that's just been restored with its general store (ca 1928), ovens (ca 1910), limestone barn (ca 1910), and dining room (ca 1944) will continue to develop as a central gathering place for the community and visitors. Most intriguing of all, the area will remain largely traffic-free. Hopefully that means it will still feel worlds away, years from now when the plan is complete.
Some nice before / after pics of the job architects Eric Gardell and Daniel Heilborn faced are here.
Thursday, 25 July, 2013 | in Places
Gotland is the island of limestone. Slite is the town that makes that stone into cement. So not surprisingly, cement is the natural material of choice for Slite-based sculptor Stina Lindholm.
And what a place she's found to work and draw inspiration from. At Skulpturfabriken, her home, workshop, garden and more are spread across a beautiful old farmhouse estate. Every day she opens her property to visitors who are invited to stroll amongst her sculptural pieces in a lush garden setting or poke their noses into her factory.
Lindholm also has a shop onsite that harmoniously mixes a selection of her own modern concrete work with sumptuous textiles and simple traditionally-crafted home and garden tools.
When it's time for a break, grab a (very good!) coffee and treat in the cafe and enjoy the garden some more while the kids play on the expansive lawn. The day we were there, we noticed trays of kanelbullar [cinnamon rolls] being walked across the lawn from one of the homes to the cafe. Fresh from the oven (the artist's own perhaps?) and delicious.
Wednesday, 24 July, 2013 | in Places
Gotland: Rute Stenugnsbageri
Fabrique Bakery in Stockholm is one of my favorite places, anywhere. So discovering its pastoral mothership in a remote corner of Gotland, just minutes from our vacation home, was a happy bit of serendipity to say the least.
Rute Stenugnsbageri is small bakery with a great big wood-burning stone oven that turns out loaves with a perfectly charred crust, just the way I like it. The flour in the bread and meat in the sandwiches is delivered directly from farmers in the surrounding area.
It's lovely, especially with the golden evening sun reflecting off of the aged limestone building and flooding across the garden and picnic tables.
Enjoying a sweet treat here (or loaf of bread, or pizza in the evenings) comes with a wonderful sense of fleetingness that forces you to appreciate the moment of beauty during that precious blink of an eye you're in it.
Rute Stenugnsbageri after all, is only open in the summer while warmer winds prevail. This is because of the unique character of the stone oven. Every night the wood oven is filled with 50 kg of birch wood and heated all night. By morning the oven has reached its highest temperature and baking begins. Throughout the day the temperature will drop, setting the order and pace of what can be produced that day. Evening comes and cools the oven, and the whole process begins again, day after day until autumn blows in and it gets too cold.
Wednesday, 19 June, 2013 | in News
Embrace the new
Welcome back to From Sthlm!
You might have noticed that things have changed a lot around here.
Here's a quick rundown
• From Sthlm is now based in Stockholm! That means we've never been positioned better to bring you the latest new designs and inspiration from Sweden.
• Although we won't be importing our favorite finds into the States anymore, we're honored to have become a bridge between Swedish designers and people who love their work throughout the US and English-speaking world.
You've shown us over the past four years how much you want to see the new ideas that bloom and flourish in this patch of northern idyll. And we won't let you down now!
• At the new From Sthlm, we'll continue to bring you the same great coverage of who and what is inspiring us and making waves here in Sweden.
• Naturally, we're looking into new ways of making a selection of the very best designs available to you once again.
• We'll also be expanding the scope! There are great ideas coming out of our Nordic neighbors Norway, Denmark, Finland and Iceland, and we'd love to share those with you too.
It's been an exciting year already, so we've brought our very latest news with us over to the new site.
As for all of the previous years worth of independent designer profiles and interviews? Well, a firm goodbye is too hard, so we'll be posting just the highlights from each year in the coming weeks, along with updates from your favorite From Sthlm designers.
Now, without further ado, welcome to the new From Sthlm!
Wednesday, 15 May, 2013 | in News
Dwell is looking at you, up-and-comers
Always exciting to pull a favorite US magazine off the racks in faraway Sweden. Even more fun when my byline is in it!
Check out this month's May issue of Dwell Magazine. It features international designers that you probably don't know yet but should.
Great looking spread, Dwell. Thanks!
Tuesday, 16 April, 2013 | in Places
Reykjavik's New Design District
Last month I was invited to Iceland's fifth annual Design March / HönnunarMars event. Besides loads of great Icelandic designers who I'll continue to share here, I discovered an exciting new design district taking shape in Reykjavik's old harbor area.
More at Dwell
See my article and slide show over at Dwell.com for peek into Reykjavik's new design district.
Sunday, 31 March, 2013 | in Products
Icelandic Design: DesignMarch 2013
This month I had the pleasure of visiting Iceland for the first time. And what better occasion could there be than DesignMarch, Iceland's annual design showcase event in Reykjavik?
I had no idea what to expect. I haven't heard much about Icelandic design. I've been so busy taking in the active design landscape of Iceland's prolific Nordic neighbors that I just hadn't turned an eye westward. Until now. And boy were my eyes opened in a really wonderful way.
Icelandic design is hard to categorize in a word or two. For one, there's hardly any wood- the defining material characteristic of other Nordic design. Iceland is largely a big barren rock. You don't see many fluffy green trees and cuddly things like that. Except maybe its Icelandic ponies, which do look pretty cuddly. (These pictures by Lisa Congdon, need I say more?)
There also isn't a long design tradition like you see throughout Scandinavia. Before 1998 when the Iceland Academy of the Arts was set up, there was no design school. Design as a discipline just wasn't much valued.
On top of that, Iceland is (to be blunt) a tiny remote island near nowhere; with an entire population that's about the size of St. Louis. So in terms of finding local manufacturers to make the brilliant things you design… well I guess you could say it's kind of a make it work kind of place.
Putting all of these factors together, what kind of design scene do you get?
A brilliant one! That's what kind.
The ideas I saw were colorful. Fresh. Sometimes a little off kilter, sometimes in an interesting way. Best of all, the mood of the place was like creative crack. The Icelandic designers I met were so excited to be designers. To be creating. To be doing what they loved. And it showed.
Here were some of my favorite discoveries...
1 - One of downtown Reykjavik's fantastic public artworks is this mosaic wall by Gerður Helgadóttir, finished in 1973.
2 - These fish necklaces were just one of many memorable jewelry concoctions by Steinunn Vala of Hring eftir hring.
3 - Papageno blanket by Vik Prjónsdóttir.
4 - Playful furniture by Krukka made of recycled pieces.
5 - Something Fishy play and model sets made from actual fish bones by Róshildar Jónsdóttur.
6 - Herdubreid mountain pillows by Markrún, named after Iceland's national mountain.
7 - Bended Sofa by Gulleik Løvskar. A new kind of office sofa to encourage creativity through stretching and lounging.
8 - Metamorphosis clusterable wall hooks by Anna Þórunn Hauksdóttir and Ingibjörg Hanna Bjarnadóttir.
9 - Keilir candle holders by Gu∂rún Vald.
Thursday, 14 March, 2013 | in Places
So nice to meetcha, you barren rock. Can't wait to get to know you better.
Cheeky one, Icelandair. The booze, by the way, still isn't.
Saturday, 9 February, 2013 | in Designers
Interview with Luca Nichetto
This week at the very height of Stockholm Design Week I had the pleasure of catching up with furniture designer and part-time Stockholm resident Luca Nichetto.
More at Dwell
Check out my full interview at Dwell.com where Luca pulls back the curtain on the furniture fair circuit and explains how his upcoming exhibition in Milan has a lot to do with Japanese poetry.
photos courtesy Luca Nichetto. portrait by Markus Moström
Wednesday, 6 February, 2013 | in Products
Sthlm Furniture Fair 2013: Greenhouse picks
The Stockholm Furniture Fair is the highlight of February. Scandinavia's most exciting furniture brands all come armed with their latest and greatest. Yet every year, I head straight to the Greenhouse. The Greenhouse is a special section of the fair that's given over to new designers, independent designers, and design schools. Here, fresh talent gets a fleeting but very high profile opportunity to make a lasting impression. Usually they don't disappoint.
This year 36 independent designers and 38 design schools exhibited. These were some of my favorites…
1 - Originally from Japan, Haruka Furuyama found inspiration in a small house at Carl Malmsten's Capellagården School where he studied cabinetmaking & furniture design. He describes his lilla ateljen range of furniture as comfortable, cozy, simple, bright, and inspiring. Photo copyright © Haruka Furuyama Design & Craft.
2a + 2b - Jun Furukawa, based in Gothenburg, aims to "inspire joy in our daily lives" through designs such as his colorful Flower" stools (2a) and endlessly configurable Tray+ table (2b). On his table, stackable wooden trays can be moved around freely on an adjustable extending frame. Table+ photo copyright © Jun Furukawa.
3 - Ok, so maybe you've seen shelves in shapes before. But this deer shaped shelf left a particularly striking geometric impression. Sisters Cilla and Bette Eklund of BEdesign create designs firmly rooted in their Finnish homeland. Pictured is Bette Eklund.
4 - Desktop detail from Fredrik Andersson's AU 79 desk. This piece was made from the recycled cross sections of old skateboards, and was featured in the "Is this it?" collection from Beckmans College of Design, Stockholm.
5 - Oyyo is a Stockholm design studio founded in 2011 Lina Zedig and Marcus Åhrén. Their bold patterned dhurrie rugs are handwoven by a community of craftspeople in India.
6 - I loved Marianne Andersen's In Theory pendant lamps made of blown glass with a pine wood center. A perfect blend of modern and rustic, delicate and strong. They were featured in the "State of Things" exhibition of Norwegian designers. Photo courtesy Marianne Andersen.
7 - Malmö based STOFT design collective "wants to add poetry into our daily lives". They succeed with their mechanical thoughts cabinet in which the mechanical locking device is embellished with cogs and other fascinating moving bits, and put on display. It makes visible that which is otherwise taken for granted. Photos courtesy of STOFT.
8 - Viktoria Henriksen's lovely loopy wobbly FRØ vases were part of the exhibit from Oslo and Akershus University. Pictured with designer Viktoria Henriksen herself.
9 - Alexandra Raraben spins handwoven perfection in her appropriately named Intricate lamp. Visit her site to see the wonderful pattern it creates on the wall (one of my favorite things about lamps, so often overlooked) and sketches. Alexandra, you thought of everything.
10 - Lisa Hilland is a graduate of Central St Martin's in London and now has her own design studio in Sweden. Her Petit Pois chair in conjunction with Snickarakademin Kristianstad in ash wood with brass details is simply the most beautiful folding chair I've ever seen. Not surprisingly, she was named "Designer of the Year" 2013 by Plaza Magazine. Her whole collection is gorgeous. Photographer: Niklas Lundström
Thursday, 31 January, 2013 | in Products
More geometry in color by Maria Holmer Dahlgren
Maria Holmer Dahlgren of Metagram Studio never disappoints. She was one of our most popular designers ever when we made her our featured designer in March 2010.
Since then she's been so busy. Just check out her collection for London's Tate Galleries.
As usual, her newest pattern on trays, coasters, and notecards matches her exuberant personality. I like the yellow and black variations, but I love the hues in the full-color one.
Also, the tea towel pattern below of the fish that live in Stockholm's archipelago is actually her first collaboration with her daughter, Moa Dahlgren, who co-designed it.
A portion of each sale of the tea towel (10 Swedish kronor, or about $1.50 US) goes directly to a Stockholm-based program that offers support to the homeless and to women in prison.
Tuesday, 29 January, 2013 | in Products
Fab new colors from Formverket
Barbro Tryberg Boberg of Formverket is one of our favorite people. In fact we've chosen her as our featured designer twice at From Sthlm, in June 2010 and May 2011.
So we were delighted to find her at Formex this month along with some new lovelies in a springtime range of colors.
As if we weren't already completely sold, she had to go and offer her hardwearing plastic rugs in cheery bright pink and green. And that one on the left, with the ochre stripes? I think I need it.
Monday, 28 January, 2013 | in Designers
Anna Ekre: illustrator, designer, storyteller
I discovered Anna Ekre in the Young Designers section of Formex this month and was completely taken with her striking patterns.
Formex is a gift and interiors fair, so Anna was there with her illustrations and graphic designs adorning wallpaper, posters, pillows, and tray tables.
This collection is called "Love Tales" and includes "The Lovers" above, and "The Deer & the Wolf" below.
In "The Lovers," a harlequin pattern depicts the tumultuous forces blowing lovers about in a storm of emotion. "The Deer & the Wolf" takes us to a fairytale world where danger lurks and horses flee, but the brave stand solid and secure.
When I got home I checked out Anna's website. Wow. If you like her patterns on pillow cushions, you should see them in her fashion designs. I'll have to post some here on the blog once I get through my Formex finds and Design Week, which will be in full swing next week. Lots to look forward to!
Sunday, 27 January, 2013 | in Designers
Brave Production by Barolo-Mårtensson
Remember Knits by the Metre? We featured them in the shop back in 2011.
Now Margot Barolo and Ulrika Mårtensson are Brave Production and are back with some new creations in porcelain that are as unique and gorgeous in their perfect irregularity as we've come to expect from this talented duo.
What do you think?
Friday, 25 January, 2013 | in Designers
A peek into Lisa Bengtsson's boudoir
Lisa Bengtsson is at it again, with the fabulous Boudoir range in new colors. We love the new coppery hues as much as the vivid blues below she launched in April.
The big news over the past year though is that now she is producing the fabrics herself. Before, buyers would come to Studio Lisa Bengtsson for wallpaper, trays, tea towels, dishcloths, ceramics, posters, and such.
But to complete the look, you'd need to go to a different company, Mairo, that produced the fabric and textiles.
Now Lisa's doing it all. It's a lot. Go Lisa go.
Here are some more fun details from her stand at Formex this month.
Thursday, 24 January, 2013 | in Designers
Design Stories: cool lamps not wasted
Another Formex find that captured my attention were these lamps that premiered as a collaboration between the Design Stories studio and Returhuset in Göteborg. The aim of the collaboration is to create beautiful new products from the industrial waste of local businesses.
For instance, the fabric in the Drawstring Lamps that I like so much was originally made to screen and filter sunlight. That's why it works so beautifully for lighting. Clever ladies. I'm equally smitten with the cords they designed to go with the lamps.
portrait by Ann Eringstam
Wednesday, 23 January, 2013 | in Products
Found at Formex: Prettypegs
Prettypegs is my favorite kind of find. So simple, so genius.
What do you do with that ok couch or bed you bought at Ikea- you know, the one that every other person knows by heart?
Why, change out the legs of course. Swapping those dull stumps for something a little more colorful, a little more curvy, a little more refined, or simply unexpected is all it takes to give a drab piece of furniture personality.
Kudos to Stockholm-based Mikael Söderblom and Jana Cagin who spotted this simple solution and did something about it. They launched Prettypegs last February and have already been noticed around the world.
Last week at Formex I had a chance to see Prettypegs for myself and meet Mikael. What a range. What lovely quality. Even the packaging is beautifully made for display. All around, a smart retail idea.
This splurge is a no-brainer for me- for just the sofa maybe. If only they didn't cost about $30/peg, I'd be buying a lot more.
Tuesday, 22 January, 2013 | in Designers
Fresh design collective: Repa Studio
Repa Studio was one of my favorite finds at Formex. They are a new collective of textile designers from all over Sweden. They're working separately but together to help each other out and make a stronger impact in the competitive world of textile design. I think they're on to a smart idea here.
This is their first project since coming together while studying Textile Design at The Swedish School of Textiles in Borås. Taking on Formex's theme this season, the project is called "Fresh" and consists of eight very different patterns that share a common color scale.
• Linnéa Eketrä with her design "Strömmar"
• "Sakura" by Josefina Tengvall
• "Kap Verde" by Lena Melin
• "Ferry" by Malin Bobeck
• "Sigrid" by Linnea Nilsson
• "Flur" by Anna Jonsson
• "Pieces" by Micaela Angerheim
• "Vildvuxet" by Petra Wester Norgren
Tuesday, 1 January, 2013 | in About me
Hello, I'm Tiffany Orvet. I run From Sthlm. But that's not all I do.
Here is a little more about me, about how From Sthlm has evolved, and about how actually, it all comes down to people.
A career telling stories
For over 20 years I've been making TV. Producing programs, developing them, buying them and selling them.
They've been about history, our world, our bodies. Legends, rituals, rites of passage, processes and journeys of every kind.
I worked for National Geographic Channel in Washington DC where I brought in the highest rated programs at the time, Onboard Air Force One and Onboard Marine One, and oversaw series including Hard Time, Taboo, Hooked:Monster Fish, Ultimate Factories, and many more. I've also worked for production companies across the US and UK.
Always, I find, my stories end up being about people.
A passion for good design
Design is also a story about people. What inspires people, how people create, how people create for other people, and how people feel (and work and play and live) in the environments they create for themselves.
Here at From Sthlm (pronounced From Stockholm) I've been acquainting myself and my readers with Swedish design through this lens since 2009.
You might have known us as a unique shop featuring a new independent Swedish designer each month, and selling select pieces in limited amounts from our base in San Francisco. We did this for over three years.
You might have known us as an importer and distributor of Swedish design in the US. We were in 32 shops in 12 states across the US. We even won a spot in the special juried Accent on Design section of the NY International Gift Fair. All of this during the US's biggest recession ever.
And now, we've relocated to Stockholm, and that changes everything. I still love design. I still love TV. I still love telling fascinating stories about people. But the lens is a little different from this far north part of the world with its moody winters, jolly summers, proximity to the rest of Europe, and people-first approach to most things.
At From Sthlm I will continue to be your bridge between the US and Northern Europe, and I look forward to sharing the experience with you.
Tiffany Orvet at email@example.com
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Thank you for all of your support!