Modern Gustavian - Sweden's other design style

I am visiting family in Stockholm this and the coming week. Driving along the outskirts of the city, my family often points out some new development that is springing up here and there - mostly modern structures which would not be out of place in any city from Ankara to Zabrze, buildings that shirk all embellishment in favour of Corbusier's vision of a home as 'a machine for living in'.

There is nothing in strictly modern Swedish architecture or design I wish to explore. I adore embellishment. Sweden has produced super brands- institutions, rather - that will become major landmarks when historians are chronicling the journey from this modern design style to whatever comes next.

What I would like to highlight briefly, though, is the way modern designers are referencing the Gustavian style in today's interior decoration.

As a rule, to achieve a recognizable Gustavian style calls for far greater restraint than say a classic French or English design style. There tends to be a limited palette of greys and China blues. There is a small but charming range of touchstone pieces - there is the Mora cloak, the white horse, the Swedish stove and of course the wide range of Gustavian antiques or passable replicas that are widely available to create the look.

Pale and interesting is still very much the order of the day for the most faithful reproductions of the classic Gustavian style, as seen in the below image- pretty, to be sure, but arguably they suffer for the lack of novelty of composition or form?

A standard Gustavian interior

Challenging as playing around with the Gustavian style must certainly prove to be given the limited decor touchstones mentioned above, these schemes below do offer some insight into how some designers are playing with this genre to create spaces which feel distinctly Swedish in character but are less of a carbon copy of the original classic designs.

For further details on putting together your decorative scheme, contact

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