Exclusive British furniture store Heal’s has promoted Scandinavian design in Britain for almost 100 years, beginning in 1923 with Orrefors crystal. In 1951 they first introduced the successful campaign “Scandinavian Furniture”. This summer, Swedish design makes a comeback at Heal’s, with the exhibition “Swedish Summer”, featuring eighteen established and up-and-coming Swedish brands - with everything from Swedish Hasbeens’ iconic clogs to the cool lightbox company BxxLght.
“We are absolutely thrilled to have eighteen Swedish companies coming into our Tottenham Court Road store to create a design quarter and lots of interesting events, from flower headband making (perfect for festival go-ers) and quilting, to Swedish cross-stitching techniques and knitting styles,“ Carmel Allen, Creative Director at Heal’s, tells the SCC.
The exhibition will run in their Tottenham Court Road flagship store between 27 July and 23 August. Every day there will be ‘fika’ available with delicious Swedish food and cakes served. A spectacular launch party will be held on 6 August where guests will have the opportunity to explore the new Volvo XC90, so far only showcased in limited places.
Thoughts of Swedish Summer captured Allen’s imagination about a year ago, after working together with a Swedish woman (named Louise), as passionate about Swedish design as she was about Swedish traditions. There was something about the stories of endless days, the midnight sun and crafting flower garlands that painted a picture in Allen’s mind and planted what would become the inspiration for the Swedish Summer exhibition.
“Six months later a friend of Louise’s who worked at the Swedish Embassy got in touch and the seeds of Swedish Summer at Heal’s was born,” says Allen.
How do the British in general feel about Swedish design?
I think the appeal of Swedish design lies in its simplicity and functionality and can be enjoyed and appreciated by everyone. Swedish designers are also increasingly focused on sustainability, and many have adopted a cross-disciplinary approach to their work, where art, craft and design are mixed and matched.
What are the highlights of this year’s exhibition – what shouldn’t one miss? Your personal favorite?
This is a great opportunity to visit eighteen Swedish brands all under one roof, selling everything from furniture and lighting to textiles, accessories and ceramics. Exhibitors are made up of new designers alongside more established companies to create a varied and very Scandinavian experience for in-store customers including Design House Stockholm (accessories), Massproductions (furniture), Orrefors Kostaboda (glassware and accessories), Örsjö (lighting), Swedish Hasbeens (shoes/clogs) and even Lakrits (licorice). There will also be many workshops where you can learn a new skill, we have everything from Flower headband making for adults and children to learning how to cross stitch, see our events schedule at www.heals.co.uk/event.
What about the launch party on the 6th of August. Who can come and what have you got planned?
Everyone is welcome to the launch party! We’ll have DJs and drinks all evening, sponsored by Rekorderlig Cider and Mackmyra Whiskey, with Swedish food to sample during the night. The Volvo team will be on hand to show you around their new XC90 and of course you can buy homewares and accessories from our pick of the best Swedish brands. Swedish Summer at Heal's will run between the 27 July and 23 August and is a collaboration between the Embassy of Sweden in London, Business Sweden, VisitSweden and Heal's. The launch party is at the Tottenham Court Road Store on August 6th between 6 and 9 pm.
Photo credit: Manses Design.