Category Archives: Stockholm

Lovisa Wattman mugs – pure genius

On my visit to Stockholm, I picked up a set of two mugs by industrial designer Lovisa Wattman.  Since unpacking said mugs from their cocoon of bubblewrap, I’m happy to report that they are pure genius.  

Genius mugs

Genius mugs

I must admit I had my doubts about using a mug sans handle for my coffee, which seems to be the practice at cafes in Stockholm.  However, these mugs are genius – they keep my coffee warm and my hands cool.  This to me is what fabulous design is all about:  incredibly functional and great looking.  My only small complaint is that I wish the rubber base was a bit sturdier for us clumsy folks.

Sadly Lovisa Wattman mugs are not available in Canada as far as I can tell (please someone prove me wrong!)  You can order them online from the uber cool design store Designtorget http://www.designtorget.se/designtorget/se/

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Hey da Stockholm

Today was my last day in Stockholm.  Tomorrow I’m off in search of leprechauns in Dublin…

Although I was only here for a couple of days, I’ve made a list of my observations of this fine city:

1. It reminds me of a combination of Canada and Europe, if that makes any sense at all.  You have abundant water, trees, greenery and birds, mixed with European architecture and super old history stuff (I know – my eloquence is killing me too right about now…)

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2.  I swear everyone in Stockholm is really good looking – even their pets are good looking…

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Yes....I know I'm devastatingly gorgeous....

Yes....I know I'm devastatingly gorgeous....

3.  Wicked awesome design – it’s everywhere in this city and surprisingly some of it is almost free..

Not almost free....

Not almost free....

almost free....

almost free....

4.  There can be life after one’s tennis career is over….

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5. No one messes with Thor….

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Good bye Stockholm!  Thanks for letting me be your guest and for giving me an opportunity to see the country where my grandmother was from.  Strangely, it felt a lot like home here 🙂

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Design in Stockholm – sin super fantastiska

Due to the Midsummer holiday in Sweden and subsequent store closings, this isn’t quite the design post I wanted to do on this fantastiskt city (that’s Swedish for fantastique!).  However, one doesn’t visit Stockholm without noticing the devotion this city has to great design, whether it is available for purchase or not.

 

Book case in the lobby of my hotel

Book case in the lobby of my hotel

 

The Swedes know a thing or two about making design accessible to the masses at prices which are very reasonable.  I’m not just talking about Ikea here – I’m talking about shops around Stockholm with designs by people we’ve never heard of in North American and whose names we couldn’t pronounce because Swedish is such a difficult language!  

One such shop is called Design Torget (www.designtorget.se) which carries a variety of products ranging from kitchen and other household items, to things that make weird bird sounds (no clue what exactly it was).  I was fortunate enough to purchase these uber cool mugs designed by Lovisa Wattman.  What makes them uber cool you make ask – they are thermos mugs.  Pretty and practical – how very Swedish!

 

Thermos mugs by Lovisa Wattman

Thermos mugs by Lovisa Wattman

Amongst the touristy shops selling Pippi Longstocking memorabilia (yes she’s Swedish!) and Swedish flags in Gamla Stan, I found a shop called Iris Hantverk (located at Vasterlanggatan 24) with interesting designs by a Swedish company called Bengt & Lotta (www.bengt-lotta.se).   Since I have a sweet tooth, I couldn’t resist purchasing a couple of items with their “Candy” design.  

 

"Candy" apron and tray

"Candy" apron and tray

 

modern chairs outside an ice cream parlor in Gamla Stan

Modern chairs outside an ice cream parlor in Gamla Stan

Design in Stockholm – sin super fantastiska – even if 98% of the shops are closed in Stockholm this weekend 🙂

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Midsummer in Gamla Stan

I was completely psyched for a day of design shopping in Sodermalm, when I walked outside and realized a few shops in my neighbourhood weren’t open.  I thought it was a little odd and asked a woman passing by if today was a holiday.  Sure enough, it’s a Swedish holiday called Midsummer.  Basically Swedes celebrate the solstice.  Not sure if tomorrow will be total sunlight for 24 hours or not = I’ll let you know.  The important thing is that shops are closed – some for the entire weekend!  It’s almost as bad as Paris shopping hours….

 

She also disapproves of Midsummer store closings...

She also disapproves of Midsummer store closings...

Well, I figured if Sodermalm didn’t want my money, I would walk around Gamla Stan instead.  Gamla Stan is the old part of Stockholm.  It was also tourist central, with more people carrying cruise line totes and wearing matching jackets than I ever hoped to see.

 

A street in Gamla Stan

A street in Gamla Stan

The upside is that a number of stores and restaurants were actually open.  There are a lot of tacky shops here.  One shop for viking memorabilia actually sold weaponry.  I can just imagine trying to explain having a broadsword in my luggage to airport security…..

 

A must on every viking's shopping trip

A must on every viking's shopping trip

There are also plenty of ice cream shops (ben & jerry’s included), as well as cafes.  I stopped at one cafe to feed my latte addiction and have a sugary snack.  I realized I had too much caffeine when I could barely hold my fork steady to eat…

 

Latte and snack to fuel my time in Gamla Stan

Latte and snack to fuel my time in Gamla Stan

The coolest thing I found was jewellery made by a Swedish artisan out of old forks and spoons, at a tiny store called Trangt & Trevligt at Vasterlanggatan 24.

 

Earrings made from old cutlery

Earrings made from old cutlery

Not all of my time was spent shopping in Gamla Stan.  I soon discovered the Royal Palace and with my trusty Stockholm card, I went to see the Royal Apartments and the not too shabby guest apartments.  Sadly, I was not allowed to take any pictures inside.  However, rest assured that it was not decorated with bedazzled Ikea furniture.  It was appropriately shiny in a regal sort of way – a slightly more subtle and smaller version of Versailles decor.  

 

Lion who wishes he was inside rather than outside the Palace

Lion who wishes he was inside rather than outside the Palace

I also had an opportunity to visit Gustav III’s Antikmuseum, which took me maybe 15 minutes to see.  If you have nothing else to do, it’s not a bad way to spend 15 minutes.  However, if it’s a choice between going there and going for ice cream….well, I think it’s obvious what you should do 😉

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Stockholm – museums and an island visit

Yesterday afternoon I arrived in Stockholm from Paris.  I must admit to having a bit of culture shock after spending more than a month in la belle Paris.  Here the streets are wider, cars stop for pedestrians, there are fewer people and it kinda reminds me of Canada.  

Today I planned to do a boat tour of the archipeligo.  However, the boat place I went to offered a different trip, so I figured why not get on the boat and see where it would take me.  The boat took me to a cute little island called Fjaderholmarna, where you can look at the work of local artisans, go for a walk and stop for coffee and cake.  

 

View of Stockholm from the boat

View of Stockholm from the boat

 

Fjaderholmarna

Fjaderholmarna

After eating a small piece of almond cake on the island and purchasing some lovely pottery from a local merchant, I returned to Stockholm and began my afternoon as a culture vulture.

First I walked over to the Moderna Museet and the adjoining Arkitekturmuseet (aka Modern Art museum and Architecture museum).  There are some rather interesting sculptures leading up to the museum.  

 

sculptures leading to the Moderna Museet

oooh....colourful...

Inside the museum are some really wacky pieces of art.  My favourite was a bizarre installation called Ketchup Sandwich – and yes there were actual bottles of heinz ketchup all over the floor in various states of use.  The museum also includes a coffee bar, a cool gift shop, automatic glass doors and washrooms are equipped with a hand dryer made by Dyson (the vacuum cleaner company).

 

Latte from the museum's coffee bar

Latte from the museum's coffee bar

 Attached to the museum is a small architecture museum.  If you like small models of buildings, it’s an interesting place to go.  There are no tiny people to go inside the buildings, so you’ll just have to use your imagination.   I’m more interested in industrial design so I was a little less excited about the tiny buildings.

I walked in the rain to the National Museum, which features a collection of art ranging from Swedish artists to Rembrandt and Dali.  After visiting the Louvre with its masses of tourists, it was a relief to not feel crushed in a museum.   Disapproving rabbits are also sweeping into Stockholm.  They have yet to make as much headway in Northern Europe as they have in Paris, but mark my words….they are on their way….

 

Art at the National Museum

Art at the National Museum

 

bunnies disapproving of the museum...

bunnies disapproving of the museum...

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