Swedish design is practical, accessible and increasingly sustainable. It is ingrained in daily life. We've all experienced it one way or another. The obvious encounters for North Americans being IKEA, Volvo, H&M, Fjällräven and, if you're old enough, Electrolux... The beauty of Swedish design is that there are so many more brands, big and small, just waiting to be discovered. Design lovers from all over the world have long known this and Sweden is now a trendy design destination.
Design for the many
In Sweden, design is a democratic affair and so is the Swedish Design Museum. Don't go rushing to Skeppsholmen or Östermalm, you won't find it amongst the other museums. It is a virtual museum with no physical collection, only digital content. The driving principle behind this unusual museum is the same that has driven Swedish designs for decades now: "make design available to the many". Stig Lindberg wanted his designs to bring joy and beauty to every household in Sweden. Ingvar Kamprad, IKEA's founder, also had that same idea of creating "a better everyday life for the many people".
Design in Sweden is meant to be part of everyday life and enjoyed by everyone. It only makes sense that the Swedish Design Museum would allow people from all over the world to be part of it, whether or not they can physically make it to Sweden.
Like other museums, it has scheduled exhibitions. The current one is in progress until May 2019. The great thing with a virtual museum is that older exhibitions can be archived and made available online even after they have officially closed. The first exhibition of the museum, called "Live from Sweden" provided a look into the ordinary daily lives of Swedes. It covered design, architecture and fashion.
My favorite item in this exhibition has got to be the Thule Glide stroller. A short film offers an immersion into an early morning run on a late October day. All you have to do is pretend to be sitting on a bench by the canal and watch life goes by. Listen to the birds and feel the fresh air, you'll want to go for a run too. The object itself, the Glide stroller, embodies the Nordic way of life. It combines the possibility to lead an active, outdoorsy life while involving babies and toddlers without having to compromise.
Designed in partnership with Veryday, Thule wanted to offer a stroller that would allow active new parents to continue to exercise no matter the weather, the terrain or the season. It is a functional solution to an everyday need and it makes a statement to the importance of allowing parents to stay active with their children. Did you know that parental leave in Sweden can be up to 480 days?
Home Viewing Exhibition
The current exhibition, which opened last October is dedicated to Swedish homes. Not the picture perfect architect's homes that we all love and dream of, but actual cozy everyday Swedish homes. Not to worry however, all these homes are blessed by owners who possess that effortless ability to make even the simplest of space stunning. If they don't make you want to move to Sweden in the blink of an eye, they'll at least provide great inspiration for your own home.
Think of it as a house viewing, but instead of providing room sizes and description, the listings present the history of the building, a description of the town or region and detailed descriptions of significant decor pieces used everyday in the house.
There are currently ten houses to view on the Museum's website and others are to be published on a regular basis. This immensely interesting exhibition is curated by Niki Brantmark the author behind the award winning interior design blog My Scandinavian Home. While the photos are stunning, it's the text that makes this exhibition so special as it provides an insight on the evolution of Swedish architecture and design over the last 150 years.
I would normally say hurry and book your next flight to Stockholm, but in this case it is more a case of relax, brew yourself some coffee, grab a pastry and enjoy a quiet fika while browsing the exhibitions. Enjoy!
Visit 24/7 at: https://swedishdesignmuseum.comFollow