Want a fresh window on the world? Go shopping in a foreign country. Avoid the ubiquitous international brand stores which look the same in any city, and instead seek out shops designed by creative individual entrepreneurs. Below are some examples of creative marketing and distinctive products I saw unique to Stockholm.
Light bouncing off this glass menagerie in a jewelry store window caught the attention of many a passersby.
This subtle rainbow spectrum in glass also tempted shoppers to purchase a goblet in every color.
If they hadn't been so delicate, I would have squirreled away some of these in my suitcase. Wouldn't they look fabulous in a bowl on a coffee table?
One modern Swedish design pioneer, Carl Mulmsten, opened his shop in 1940 not far from his grandfather's Grand Hotel. Mulmstenbutiken has been selling his handmade modern Scandinavian designs ever since.
Mulmsten has an inspiring story. His father was a surgeon to the royal court and expected him to follow an academic pursuit. Instead he forged his own path, creating modern Swedish furniture with his hands. He won acclaim in 1916, when he won the competition to build furniture for the new Stockholm City Hall. He went on to design for the Waldorf Astoria and the United Nations. Ironically, he eventually was named Honorary Professor of Design and Handicrafts.
Don't you love his chair shape?
His oval coffee table is also pleasing to the eye.
Down the street is another famous Scandinavian design house, Svenskt Tenn, which actually predated Mulmstenbutiken.
This shop was founded in 1924 by Estrid Ericson, the Swedish forerunner of Martha Stewart.
Ericson collaborated with well-known architect Josef Frank, combining her artistry with his design talent. Their enterprise was so successful that the shop is now owned by a foundation to foster scientific and medical research in Sweden as well as preserve the cultural values of Swedish home interior design.
It is easy to see why the design business flourished. Fabrics in vivid colors,
The shop even includes a charming tea room so ladies can chat after they shop.
The combination of quality home goods, happy coloration, and pleasing designs would make a pleasant shopping experience anywhere in the world; this one is unique to Stockholm. (And I didn't buy a thing.)