Stockholm’s creative energy is dynamite, something evidenced by the sheer amount of agencies and digital pioneers who are expanding from their Stockholm bases to open offices further afield in Europe and even as far as America. Chances are, if you’ve noticed any particularly innovative digitally inspired work over the last few years, there was probably a Swedish name in the creative and/or production credits. Our second City Guides stop, takes a look at Scandinavia’s creative capital, and lets you know where and who you should be checking out.
[ Creative Agencies ]
The proud owners of 15 Cannes Lions, three Webby Awards and all manner of other silverware, keeping things foolish has paid off for this creative agency who excel in the fields of innovation, communication and strategy. A recent campaign involved helping Swedish television network, TV4, to launch the new TV format ‘Single life’ by deep-diving into the dating habits of Swedish singles.
Offering innovation in a mobile age, BBH Stockholm has built over 60 mobile-optimised websites and 150 apps for iOS and Android since Steve Jobs introduced the first iPhone. Built around a small, tight teams of strategists, creatives, UX/UI designers and developers, BBH Stockholm has worked with Adidas, Red Bull and KFC amongst other clients to help them excel in the mobile arena.
Promising to “Make Enemies & Gain Friends” with their unique take on what it means to be a creative agency, SNASK do not do things by conventional means. Alongside their branding/design and stop motion/live action projects, the team also offer lectures on creative entrepreneurship, a book-cum-manifesto, a beer brand and a bike.
[ Design Agencies ]
Having been awarded Best Design Agency in Sweden by their clients, Bold’s curiosity, intelligence and passion for building strong brands has paid off just three years after opening. Bold create distinctive and innovative design solutions based on craftsmanship, data-driven research and strategic thinking and their revitalisation of Swedish brand, The Shirt Factory, is the perfect demonstration of their cockiness and craft.
When Perniclas Bedow lost his day job at an advertising agency in 2002 he decided to start his own studio and thank god he did. These days, he and his team design durable visual identities, well-made publications and engaging packagings, all linked by the simplistic Scandinavian approach to design that we’ve come to envy and embrace.
Stockholm Design Lab has, since 1998, worked internationally and domestically with a wide variety of clients; from airlines, spirits brands, museums, fashion labels, hotel chains, fast moving consumer goods to retail environments, technology companies, cultural and educational institutions, and pharmacies, transforming them at both local and global level with simple, remarkable ideas.
[ Production Agencies ]
Working to surpass the ordinary, Filmic Art have created advertisements for a roster of clients across animation and film. Directing and producing everything in-house, the team draw together skills in graphic design, animation, 3D, VFX and live-action to produce some visually stunning shorts.
The Swedish Fixer was founded by Fatima Hammami, someone who has a rich background working with content for the TV and film industry having already worked as a producer, director and actress for all the major Swedish broadcasters as well as in the UK and USA. These days, Fatima and her team offer full production services for TV, film, corporate and music videos for clients including CNN and Sky.
It’s work hard, play hard at Camp David, with 10 directors working to produce engaging shorts for a client list that includes Visa, IKEA and Replay. Their recent Elmsta 3000 Horrorfest advert created alongside Saatchi & Saatchi received two nominations in Sweden’s Roygalan advertising awards.
[ Interiors ]
Having distinguished themselves as a publisher of design rather than a conventional producer, Design House Stockholm works in the same way with designers that publishing houses work with authors. Rather than selecting a designer to make a specific product, all designers are invited to bring their personal ideas to a task, united under the aim to gather a collection of the very best Scandinavian design today.
Every year Residence Magazine awards the Designer of the Year prize to a designer or studio that propels the Swedish design scene forward. In 2015 this prize went to Note Design Studio which works within the fields of architecture, interiors, products, graphic design and design strategy to transform non-material values into tactile objects and spaces.
Mixing Scandinavian interiors as well as bigger known brands, anyone wanting to buy into a piece of Scandinavian culture should head to Grandpa. In fantasy worlds we’d have enough money to afford both the up-and-coming designer labels as well as the vintage finds. But we’ll settle instead for a browse around this wonderful department store in two different locations.
[ To visit ]
Symposium Stockholm welcomes you to the “creative capital of the world” every June for a week-long festival of ideas, fashion, music and tech that captures the future and the forward-thinking energy of Sweden. At the heart of the event is the 'Brilliant Minds' conference; a gathering of innovative international luminaries, global decision-makers, and young emerging talent who challenge conventional thinking in business and society.
You’ll need to wrap up warm in chilly February for Stockholm’s annual Design event, but for anyone wishing to immerse themselves in Scandinavian design’s most important week it’s a must. In most locations you’ll be safe from the sub-zero temperatures outside, as the majority of the festival takes place in galleries, showrooms, parties, “after fair” meetings, cocktail spots, museums and cultural institutions.
If Scandinavian furniture design is more your thing, then fear not. Stockholm Design Week is hosted under an umbrella of events that also includes the Scandinavian Furniture Fair and Northern Light Fair at roughly the same time as Design Week. Specific to the furniture and light fair is a trend show, design bar and an area for one-off furniture products as well as Aurora, an area dedicated solely to Nordic architecture and design.
[ To shop ]
Owned and operated by 'bokhandeln Konstig', Scandinavia's leading art bookseller, the Konst-ig/books store is your go-to for all contemporary art, architecture, crafts, design, fashion, graphic design, photography and related theory needs whilst in Stockholm.
It is scientifically proven to be impossible to enter Papercut and not loose around three hours of your life amongst the shelves of carefully handpicked books, films, magazines and other details. Of course there are other bookshops of this type in the world - but the size and scope of Papercut is a black hole you won't be able (or want) to escape for hours. Don’t say we didn’t warn you.
For those wanting to look local, a trip to Nitty Gritty is a must. One look at their Instagram, flushed through with Nordic cool and you’ll see why. Stocking brands you’ll know such as Adidas and Palace Skateboards alongside Scandinavian designers you won’t ensures this store is a dressing-up den for the coolest kids in town.
[ To eat ]
Dinner service is just one weekend in every month, so be sure to make a reservation at this young and extremely talented chefs food studio. Expect fine dining food in a setting that feels more like being in the living room with the chefs.
You can’t visit Scandinavia without trying some ‘New Nordic’ cuisine - the food craze that’s been sweeping around the world since Copenhagen’s Noma put the region on the world map. Speceriet is the best place to try it if you don’t want to go all out, it’s the casual sister restaurant of Michelin starred Gastrologik and serves Scandinavian flavors and produce with a modern twist at not too extortionate prices.
Located in the Museum of Photography, this 110 seat restaurant is right on the docks providing the perfect view of Stockholm whilst you dig into chef Paul Svensson’s signature cooking in which vegetables take the lead on the plate — with meats, fish, and seafood playing supporting roles.
If you have any recommendations for places for future guides, connect with me here and let us know!