72 Hours in Småland, Sweden—Part Two

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By Jenny Xie
We take you deeper into the woods of Småland, southern Sweden's largest province, where the age-old traditions of glass- and furniture-making are alive and well.

In this installment, take a private tour of acclaimed designer Bruno Mathsson's summer home, peek inside the forest workshop of artisanal hatmakers Horisaki, learn about the origins of IKEA, and more. (If you haven't read Part One yet, catch up here!)

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Day Two

Källemo

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Sven Lundh founded furniture company Källemo in Värnamo in 1970, aiming to create experimental pieces that would stand the test of time—and keep the interest of the eye. His daughter, Karin Lundh, took us on a guided tour of the headquarters, where signature pieces like the Concrete Chair and the National Geographic Cabinet were on display.

Bruno Mathsson Center

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A fifth-generation carpenter, Bruno Mathsson went on to become one of Sweden’s most famous designers and architects, creating such iconic creations as the Eva Chair. The museum is housed in one of his glass house creations, inspired by a visit to the U.S. and the iconic building by Philip Johnson.

Södra Kull

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We enjoyed the special privilege of touring the summer home of Bruno Mathsson and his wife, Karin Swård. Full to the brim with Mathsson’s own designs, the couple’s belongings lying undisturbed, the residence is a luminous example of how the renowned Swedish designer approached work and life, putting functionality and innovation above all.

For the full tour, follow this link.

Vandalorum

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Founded by the aforementioned furniture maker Sven Lundh, the museum of contemporary art and design was built according to the original vision of Italian architect Renzo Piano. The exhibitions are housed in three red barns, a nod to the traditional houses that dot the surrounding countryside.

Where We Ate

We were treated to a traditional dinner of hyttsill at Kosta Boda—the food is prepared in the furnaces where glass has been left to cool down. Above, we're having "hot shop" herring, smoked sausage, fried pork, baked potato, and lingonberry jam.

We were treated to a traditional dinner of hyttsill at Kosta Boda—the food is prepared in the furnaces where glass has been left to cool down. Above, we're having "hot shop" herring, smoked sausage, fried pork, baked potato, and lingonberry jam.

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Painstakingly handcrafted out of natural materials like rabbit or beaver fur and treated with fire and water, Horisaki Design & Handel hats are as much art objects as they are fashion statements. With fans that range from singer Lady Gaga to actor Don Johnson, the pieces can take weeks to make. The label draws from both Japanese and Scandinavian influences—Makoto came to Sweden from Japan when he was 13 years old, while Karin grew up on a nearby farm.

We recently had the honor of visiting the couple’s workshop, a modest, pitched-roof building whose peeling paint echoes the distressing of the hats themselves.

For the full tour, follow this link.

The Glass Factory

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Both an extensive museum and a glassblowing workshop, The Glass Factory boasts some 50,000 pieces and details the creative fervor of Boda glassworks during the ‘60s and ‘70s. We were lucky enough to arrive just as a stunning chandelier, commissioned by Sweden’s Nationalmuseum, was being finished.

Gemla

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Founded in 1861, Sweden’s oldest furniture factory in Diö cultivates wood-bending techniques carried over from Austrian-German pioneer Michael Thonet. We toured the grounds and got to witness skilled craftsmen bending steamed beech and ash to create durable, timeless pieces.

IKEA Museum

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The founder of IKEA got a humble start selling matches, Christmas decorations, fish, and pens before opening the doors of the company at the tender age of 17. He named the store for his initials and his hometown: Ingvar Kamprad, from Elmtaryd, Aggunaryd. The interactive museum documents his life, the company’s roots in Swedish resourcefulness, and its explosion onto the international design scene.

Where We Ate

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Where We Stayed

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Did you miss Part One of the adventure? Find it here.