Svenskt Tenn and Malmstenbutiken in Stockholm

If Esplanadi and the flagship stores for Marimekko and Artek are a good place to start when exploring design in Helsinki then the comparable starting point to explore modern design in Stockholm could be Strandvägen. 

Streets of large, expensive and ornately-fronted apartment buildings were laid out to the east of the old city around 1900 forming what was then a new area called Östermalm. Strandvägen is the southern-most road of this area and follows the north shore of the part of the harbour known as Nybroviken, the road continuing east as far as the bridge over to the island of Djurgården.

Svenskt Tenn at Strandvägen 5 is a major design shop that was opened by Estrid Ericson in 1924, initially to produce good but affordable pewter - the name means Swedish Pewter. The Austrian architect Joseph Frank (1885-1967) joined the company in 1934. In Vienna he had opposed the major movement to produce large apartment buildings in the city and had designed a number of small, simple and functional houses or villas. Before joining Svenskt Tenn he had designed five villas in Falsterbo in Skane, in southern Sweden (below Malmo) with flat roofs, balconies and terraces creating a clear link between simple, informal interiors and the gardens around the villas. For Svenskt Tenn he produced designs for textiles and furniture that reflected this approach with clean bright designs in strong colours inspired by plants and flowers. Svenskt Tenn exhibited at the World Exposition in 1937 and again in New York in 1939 and has maintained since then World-wide recognition for the quality of their products.

Carl Malmsten (1888-1972) was almost the same age as Frank. He was a furniture designer and took a strong position against the move towards functionalism in architecture and furniture design in the 1920s, believing instead in traditional craftsmanship (slödjd), apprenticeships and work on co-operative projects. His reputation was established by 1916 when he designed furniture for Stockholm City Hall and then was commissioned to design furniture for the Royal family. He established two schools for furniture studies - one on the Island of Lidingö close to Stockholm, now part of the University of Linköping, and the other, Capellagården on the island of Öland in Vickleby, for courses on textile design, cabinet making, furniture making and horticulture. The Malmstenbutiken at Strandvägen 5b (so immediately next to Svenskt Tenn) has a wide range of furniture and textiles from a number of designers but also sells classic designs by Malmsten such as the Sofa Nya Berlin that Malmsten produced for the Swedish Embassy in Berlin in 1958.