72 Hours in Småland, the Design Capital of Southern Sweden—Part One

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By Jenny Xie
Follow us on a whirlwind, three-day tour through the forests of Småland, where the crafts of glass- and furniture-making have been evolving for hundreds of years.

The largest province in the south of Sweden, Småland is the birthplace of IKEA, Pippi Longstocking, and renowned furniture designer Bruno Mathsson. Its long stretches of forests, lakes, and meadows, dotted with iconic rust-red cottages, have also produced world-famous glass and furniture dating back to 1742. 

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We recently toured the enchanting region in search of its hidden—and not-so-hidden—gems, driving along its snow-dusted highways for the best design destinations. Keep reading to see what we discovered, what we ate, and where we stayed in the countryside.

Day One 

Uppgrenna Naturhus

Part greenhouse, part cafe, and part events venue, Uppgrenna Naturhus is the brainchild of entrepreneur Bodil Antonsson, who first imagined the project on a trip to a village nursery as a child. Perched on the shore of Lake Vättern, the greenhouse took eight years—and plenty of persistence—to realize. 

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Built on the site of an old barn, the sustainable greenhouse uses the garden to purify greywater. In the cafe, visitors can partake in fika, the Swedish tradition of having coffee and a sweet snack, while basking in sunlight and waterfront views. Upstairs, the glass-encased loft is a multipurpose lounge space with hammocks for rent; and downstairs, a rainforest room offers light therapy to combat long Swedish winters.

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Where We Ate

72 Hours in Småland, the Design Capital of Southern Sweden—Part One - Photo 8 of 9 - A furniture showroom and a popular farm-to-table bistro, Wood in Stockholm is a cozy space furnished with many products that are for sale.

A furniture showroom and a popular farm-to-table bistro, Wood in Stockholm is a cozy space furnished with many products that are for sale.

72 Hours in Småland, the Design Capital of Southern Sweden—Part One - Photo 9 of 9 - Hobo Hotel in Stockholm features a spacious bar and restaurant, and the rooms come with essentials that you can borrow during your stay, like an umbrella or a tote bag.

Hobo Hotel in Stockholm features a spacious bar and restaurant, and the rooms come with essentials that you can borrow during your stay, like an umbrella or a tote bag.

Ready to see more? Click here for Part Two of our journey through Småland.

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