Stocking Up in Stockholm

Town & Country - Travel
Summer 2003

By Raphael Kadushin

This city devoted to beauty is a wonderful place to find the chicest sleekest new designs.

The best place to start island-hopping is the district of Östermalm, home to opulent 19th century hotels, grand theaters and seductive stores. The neighborhoods real landmark, however, is
Modernity, (6 Sibyllegatan; 46-8-20 80 25; www.modernity,se), a furniture boutique devoted to the Scandinavian classics that defined mid-20th-century modernity.
- Sweden didn’t have to deal with any wars or revolutions in the past two centuries, owner Andrew Duncanson explains. So unlike in other countries, production continued, the nation could develop its own aesthetics undisturbed, and its design stayed pure. The subdued lines you see in Swedish décor are really an echo of Swedish society, with its stress on social equality, modesty and the philosophy that no one individual or design should be too obvious or too loud.

That’s a heavy metaphysical weight for a coffee table to bear, but Duncanson’s finds- vintage, though some styles are still in production- stand up under the load. A Lamino lounge chair, a fluid swoop of blond wood, conveys a purely Swedish democratic ease; Duncanson’s fifties original, designed by Yngve Ekström, goes for $2,015. Just as sleek are an Arne Jacobsen Drop chair ($22,240) – a big teardrop of cognac-coloured leather crowning skinny copper legs- and a collection of mid-20th-century Swedish ceramics, including a round green-glazed vase($4,725) designed by Berndt Friberg in the sixties.