There’s a sh*t-ton more to lifestyle culture from Northern Europe than wobbly furniture and canned shark that smells like your granny’s armpits. Enter Designqvist, the charming story dedicated to the Scandinavian way of living.
With its wide range of vintage cutlery, dining accessories, pots, bowls, glasses and plates all hailing from Sweden, Denmark, Norway and Finland of the 1950’s to 1960’s, the shop is filling a niche I’d personally never known existed. But thanks to owner, Sandra Nalepka, the roundabout 30 square metres of Designqvist have become a place of pilgrimage for some. “Especially when it’s about cutlery a certain company stopped producing, or a certain batch with a distinct production error, the pieces won’t stay in my shop for long. Sometimes they’ll be gone again in 6 hours.”
To be able to sell sought-after dining helpers means to find them first. When asked about her work ethics and organisation, the blonde half-Swedish shopkeeper laughs a quick trademark laugh. “I spend a lot of time networking, asking around, and have a set period of time each year when I’m on the road in Sweden to get the goods at markets or from private sellers. Sometimes it’s a bit like finding the needle in the haystack. But the rush after I got a very distinct piece, wow, it’s what makes all the travelling and endless hours on the phone well worth it.”
What blows me away personally is how much Sandra can tell me about each of her exhibits. “Oh, that’s an OPUS set from 1958 with palisander handles. The glass is by Iittala, Kaj Franck made that one piece into a timeless legend. Do you see the Gense cutlery set to the left? Pick it up. It feels a lot heavier than it looked, no? That’s their trademark design. Beautiful.” So may it be that you’re a hardcore aficionado of vintage Scandinavian bits and bops surrounding food, or just want to learn more about how classy you could live your life, Designqvist will enlighten you. And please tell your granny sorry from us for ranting about her smelly armpits. She’s a nice lady.