“Malmö is pushing the boundaries of Swedish design”
Historically, Sweden’s third largest city Malmö has been more associated with the port and industry rather than with design. But when industrial designer Jenny Ekdahl talks about the new scene currently emerging in her home city, it is easy to be infected by her enthusiasm.
In the Malmö of 2017, the classic Swedish design values of “light and minimalist” might just as well be replaced with “experimental and artistic”, thanks to a creative vibe amongst Malmö’s strong start-up culture that creates the feeling that anything is possible, for those who want to and can.
Jenny Ekdahl passionately describes how a new generation of designers are well on the their way to putting Malmo on the map as an obvious design destination - by pushing the boundaries of Swedish design and testing new ways to reach the end customer without going through unnecessary intermediaries.
Vacant premises with low rents have meant that the new generation of designers can easily open their own studios and consequently sell unique objects directly from their showrooms, instead of investing in mass production for resellers.
And this is exactly what Jenny Ekdahl is most excited about when asked for the best tips on Malmo’s new design scene: the possibility to visit these creative studios and snap up hidden treasures and unique objects from among the prototypes, test items and finished design.
This is Jenny Ekdahl’s guide to Malmö’s most exciting small design studios - and to all the other delights that the design-interested tourist wouldn’t want to miss.
Unique design in 3 - 5 seconds
“Jenny Norberg is so important for the design scene in Malmö. Hers is the most acclaimed of all the small studios in the city, and she’s also really good at keeping the scene together by pairing up designers for different projects. Her work is stylistically characterised by a combination of brutalism and minimalism, in which coincidence is often an important aspect. She has an interesting project that is actually a commentary on contemporary mass production. She calls it “3 to 5 seconds” where she creates unique objects in just three to five seconds. Sheets of glass are transformed into mirrors and lumps of clay become candlesticks in a process that you can follow on site in her studio."
Jenny Nordberg, Regementsvägen 14 - open by arrangement.
Skinny dipping and beautiful views
“I’m not an architect so I really can’t say much more than that this is a beautiful building in a beautiful location. There’s really something very special about Ribersborgs Kallbadhus (cold baths). The old wooden building’s pale green hues blend in perfectly with the grey-blue of the sea, and create a peaceful place that awaken creative thinking. You can be completely free here - and even go skinny dipping if you want to. If bathing isn’t what you fancy, you can enjoy the view of Malmö instead, with the Öresundsbron bridge over to Copenhagen and the Turning Torso skyscraper.
Ribersborgs Kallbadhus, Lilla Varvsgatan 14
Welcome to my place
“Naturally, I’d also be delighted to welcome you to Studio Stoft, where I work together with my partners in crime, Ola Nystedt and Joel Herslow. We do story-driven design and often focus on emotional shapes, on what it is that makes people want to feel and interact with materials and objects. Of all our projects, I’m particularly proud of our design trailer = Nomad that we designed in collaboration with another Malmö-based designer, Kajsa Willner. It’s a mobile exhibition trailer that moves around the city containing various objects from local designers as a way to take the products to the end customer. The project is very typical of the new scene in Malmö, as there’s a strong willingness to cooperate in this way among we Malmö designers.”
Stoft studio, Nobelvägen 90 - Open by arrangement
Grandiose lunches in a minimalist setting
“At the end of the dock in the port you’ll find Malmö’s most exciting lunch restaurant, Saltimporten Canteen. They serve classic Swedish dishes with a modern and fresh twist. As a designer I also love the simple and minimalist setting that draws in the industrial area neatly, and the large glass windows facing the port dock provide a lovely view of the sea. It’s a creative environment and hardly a coincidence that many designers have their offices in the same building. For example, the acclaimed MKID, Milan Kosovic Industrial Design, is located here.
Saltimporten Canteen, Hullkajen, Grimsbygatan 24
The Future is Female
“Butler/Lindgård is a female design duo that designs and prints textiles by hand. They often work with experimental processes, such as when they unleashed a group of dancers covered in wet paint and transformed the result to fabrics and patterns. If you visit their studio you can follow their processes from sketch to finished prints, which are also available for sale on pillows, clothes, prints and more. My favorite collection is their new Skin collection, inspired by wrinkles and other tactile “flaws” on the human body. Feminism is always an important part of their message.
Butler/Lindgård, Ehrensvärdsgatan 6 - Open by arrangement
Take your bike up to your room
“I haven’t stayed at Ohboy, but I was a little involved in the project as I helped to identify local designers who could do the interior design. In the end it was Malmö-based Lisa Hilland and Mats Theselius who designed the furniture for the rooms that have been completely adapted for life on a bike and a sustainable lifestyle. The result is fantastic and the location is great, next to the Skate park, five minutes from Malmö Central Station."
Ohboy Hotell , Lilla Varvsgatan 24
An art gallery and a concert hall
“Malmö’s new concert hall, Malmö Live, is not only a place for music but also for architecture, art and design. They’ve created fantastic rooms with micro-spaces showing objects from local designers and artists. Both Jenny Nordberg and Butler/Lindgård are represented and our design trailer is place here from time to time. The concert hall is also a piece of art in itself.”
Malmö Live, Dag Hammarskjölds torg 4
“Trés Bien closed down its shop for a while to focus solely on its web shop, but now the physical shop has re-opened, in new premises and with a new concept. I read somewhere that they wanted the interior design to reflect the odd clash between Malmö and fashion at a top international level, just as opposites always feature in Trés Bien’s collections. The range in the shop at Fersens vägen 20 consists primarily of their own designs but it also has a small selection of other labels and designers. People flock here."
Trés Bien, Fersens väg 20
Ribersborgs kallbadshus, in Malmö
A beautiful location in Malmö, all seasons. There’s really something very special about Ribersborgs kallbadshus.
Photo: Anton Olin
Ribersborgs kallbadshus, in Malmö
Photo: Anton Olin