Tag Archives: Scandinavia

Scandinavian texiles

I saw a green, floral patterned sofa in a Florida thrift store about two years ago, and I’ve been unable to put in out of my mind. So, when I buy a new sofa, it’s not going to be plain, or neutral, it’s going to be upholstered in a gorgeous floral patterned fabric. And don’t say I’ll get bored of it, or it’ll go out of style, because there are plenty of much more important/dull decisions that need to be made based on what I’ll be doing in ten years, so I might as well have fun when it’s a only a sofa. I’ve long been a lover of  Scandinavian fabrics, especially the botanical ones on a dark ground, so the colour jumps out at you – the absolute cream of the crop is Swedish designer Gocken Jobs’ bright and beautiful flower prints, actually rather more like botanical drawings than the usual stylised Scandinavian style, and slightly weird in its choice of flora (rhubarb anyone?). I’ve yet to find anything that comes close in my price bracket, but a lengthy search did throw up some other beauties – not all of them upholstery fabrics, but good for curtains, cushions etc – that are pretty reasonable. My absolute top tip, if you’re a sucker for higher-end Nordic brands like Marimekko but have no cash,  is to get yourself to Ikea; its fabric ranges have all the graphic punch and occasional forays into surrealism, but at much nicer prices (it’s also often the quietest place in the whole shop, useful if you’re suffering from Ikea Stress Syndrome). Here are my finds; and if anyone can find me a Gocken Jobs-alike for under £70 a metre, let me know….

Eivor Leva, £7/m, Ikea

Cherry orchard by Marianne Westman, £28.94/m, from New House Textiles

Rhubarb, by Jobs Handtryck, £143/m, Skandium

Amalfi Ofelia by Sandberg, £71.50/m, Tangletree Interiors

Spira Haga, £29.95/m, Hus & Hem

Kvitter blue, £22.95/m Hus & Hem

New store: Tiger Stores

These images show the Stratford branch of Tiger Stores, a franchise from Denmark that’s expanding all over Europe, including in the UK. They’re value-focussed (ie cheap) but manage to do it in a way that results in a vastly better shopping experience than the pound stores, although it’s barely more expensive. A good dose of Scandi design sensibility really helps – soft pendant lighting hangs low over the display areas, giving a cosy domestic feel, and despite the fact that it sells a dizzying array of products (from spice mixes to art stuff, toys and colourful reading glasses that can only be described as ‘jazzy’) everything’s arranged neatly and attractively, like the huge bank of colour-coded candles at the rear of the store. The best analogy I can think of is the IKEA marketplace, but it’s better than that. There’s plenty of homewares with a high hit-rate, especially the ranges that stay true to Danish tastes – simple graphic prints, a bit of whimsy, lots of charm. If there isn’t one on a high-street near you, I expect there will be soon. Or you could buy a franchise and open your own…

A Scandinavian summerhouse

Swedish mag Hus&Hem this month features what I would think of as the classic Scandinavian summerhouse – the kind that thousands of families flee to from the city every weekend at this time of year. To say that I am jealous of this cultural tradition would be a massive understatement; imagine how much more bearable the working week would be if you could hit the road at the end of it and stay here. This place has got the studied informality of Scandinavian design down to a tee – a white shell with lots of colourful accessories; a few old pieces plus a handful of contemporary classics. I will be thinking of its lucky owners as I spend another weekend in the grimy city. (But at least, come December, I will get, ooh, six hours of daylight. Yeah! Take that, Scandis!)

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