Top design places to visit in northern Sweden
Looking for places to explore Swedish design, arts and crafts on your holiday in Sweden? Svensk Form (the Swedish Society of Crafts and Design) has put together this list of the top design places to visit in northern Sweden.
Svensk Form aims to demonstrate the benefits of good design to social development, to stimulate the development of design in Sweden, to increase respect for the value of design work and to expand and deepen attitudes towards issues of form and design.
Hand printing textiles is truly an art, requiring precision and patience. Learn more about the printing process and stock up on unique, hand-printed fabrics at this factory shop in Jämtland.
Founded in 1946, Frösö Handtryck is both one of Sweden’s few remaining hand screen printers and one of the country’s oldest hand printers. The printing process and craftsmanship are largely the same now as then and can be viewed in action in the combined factory and store in Frösön, Östersund.
Umedalen Sculpture Park
Located in the gardens of a former psychiatric hospital, this sculpture park has exhibited art by almost 200 Swedish and international artists.
43 works by artists such as Miroslaw Balka, Louise Bourgeois, Tony Cragg, Antony Gormley, Anish Kapoor and Clay Ketter make up Umedalen Sculpture Park, open year-round and free to the public. A unique garden experience by world-renowned landscape architect Ulf Nordfjell completes the experience.
Bildmuseet in Umeå
Bildmuseet (roughly translated as ”the museum of image”) does not only offer interesting exhibitions, created in cooperation with museums, artists and universities from all over the world – it is also an architectural gem.
Located next to the Umeälven river, the seven floors of Bildmuseet reside behind a striking façade of Siberian larch. Existential, political and philosophical issues are intrinsic to the programme. Bildmuseet has been prized for both its architecture, by Henning Larsen Architects in collaboration with White, and the overall experience.
Treehotel in Harads
Have you ever considered sleeping in a bird’s nest, a UFO or a mirror cube? Probably not, but when it comes to design and architecture in Sweden, everything is possible it seems.
Treehotel all started in 2010 with Britta and Kent Lindvall’s dream to turn a 1930s retirement home into a guesthouse in their home village Harads, roughly 100 kilometres from Luleå airport in Swedish Lapland. The end result was not an ordinary B&B – it turned into a tree hotel complete with eight huts inspired by the film The Tree Lover.
The rooms are suspended 4-6 metres above ground with views of Lule river valley, the tall pine trees and if you’re lucky – the Northern Lights. In order to make each hut unique, various Scandinavian architects, including Norwegian architects Snöhetta (The 7th room), Swedish Tham & Videgård Arkitekter (Mirrorcube), and Finnish-Icelandic-Norwegian studio Rintala Eggertsson Architects (Dragonfly) have put their mark on the design.
This high-end hotel is located in a renovated country home on the border to Finland, combining nature, art and culture for a truly unique experience in peaceful surroundings.
The cultural entrepreneur Gunhild Stensmyr is in the process of building a centre for arts and design in Tornedalen, a region with a unique mix of Swedish-Finnish-Sami culture. The first step to be completed was Arthotel Tornedalen, located at the banks of the Torne River with an amazing view across the water to Finland.
Icehotel in Jukkasjärvi
Icehotel is not only a cool (!) hotel. It is perhaps Sweden’s most unique art gallery, with yearly art exhibitions made of snow and ice.
Sustainability is at the core of this unique hotel located above the Arctic Circle, on the bank of Sweden’s largest river, Torne. Built entirely from ice from the river, this hotel is reshaped each year with new artists designing the rooms. When the temperature rises during spring, it melts and returns to the river.
Since 2016, the hotel features a permanent structure open all year round. This addition, Icehotel 365, has 18 art and deluxe suites designed by selected artists, an ice bar and a gallery, all run on solar power. A visit here is easily combined with activities such as dogsledding and boat trips beneath the Midnight Sun.