Classic Swedish housewares
September 5, 2013 5:33 AM   Subscribe

Can you help me identify some classic-design Scandinavian housewares?

I am trying to find a gift for a dear friend who is, through unfortunate circumstances, now living on his own, but who, on the bright side, can now have the fabulous mid-century Swedish bachelor pad he always wanted, but couldn't when he was...not living on his own.

I'd like to get him a really iconic Scandinavian design. Ideally something that doesn't say 'wedding registry' but would be instantly recognizable, to one who knows about these things, as a classic design. Budget up to, say, $75. So far I have found the Aalto vase, which is a decent enough choice, but what else is there I haven't thought about? A classic pitcher or wall hanging or whatever? Much obliged.
posted by catesbie to Shopping (14 answers total) 24 users marked this as a favorite
Erik Herlow Copenhagen Cutlery 'Obelisk' flatware? Everybody I have over for a meal, without exception, notices and comments. It's pricy but you could probably score at least a couple of place settings off eBay to start him off.

The Dansk spiral candleholder is iconic, I think, and available at a reasonable price.

Rosti is great stuff and the Margrethe bowl is certainly iconic, and comes in loads of lovely colours.

Copco is fabulous to look at and, in my view, far superior to Le Creuset.

Alessi's Italian but the look is not too far removed. Some better-known designs
posted by kmennie at 5:59 AM on September 5, 2013

Glass housewares or sculptures by Kosta Boda. Seconding the Margrethe bowls. Wooden butter knives. Cheese slicer. For iconic mid-century design of (though high prices) look at Svenskt Tenn, no idea if they are available in the U.S., but you can check the fabrics etc. for inspiration.
posted by meijusa at 6:06 AM on September 5, 2013

If he is a sic-fi fan then I have the perfect idea. Flatware designed by Jacobsen that was also used in 2001 (and Star Wars II, if that matters). Crazy expensive as you'd only be able to buy one 5-piece set for $100 (or less at other retailers) but really cool, really modern, really slick, really Scandinavian.
posted by bfootdav at 6:29 AM on September 5, 2013

You could get a ScandiPhone (a reproduction of the classic ’50s Ericofon).
posted by misteraitch at 6:51 AM on September 5, 2013

This is Danish, but the Stelton Vacuum Jug is an incredibly cool and classic design.

The Danish Design museum had this included in their classic design collection (you'll find a picture on P. 16, and maybe some other ideas throughout).

Again, Finnish, but Marimekko has super cool fabrics and housewares that would be instantly recognised as Scandinavian in style (although arguably Finland is not Scandinavian, but they do have a lot of common design elements as well as a history of being a Swedish colony).

Your friend is lucky - I looooove Scandinavian design. I wish my suitcase and wallet had been bigger when I visted a couple years ago to bring back everything!
posted by urbanlenny at 7:29 AM on September 5, 2013

If you are looking for Finnish there is everything Iittala (especially the Gaissa, Festivo, Ultima Thule collections, and of course the Aalto vase) because being the biggest design company every famous Finnish designer has designed something for it. Artek is a company that started just to sell Alvar Aalto furniture starting with this stool but also cantilevered chairs. For fabrics Marimekko is the most famous, and for ceramics go to Arabia (now owned by Iittala) though only a few designs are modern.
posted by Kaiverus at 7:33 AM on September 5, 2013 [2 favorites]

You want (as do I!) a Sarpaneva pot. Classic Finnish design that is both beautiful and useful.
posted by Alice Russel-Wallace at 7:49 AM on September 5, 2013

Seconding the Michael Lax Copco stuff. I've got some and it's not only beautiful, it works beautifully too.
posted by fivesavagepalms at 8:32 AM on September 5, 2013

Response by poster: These suggestions are fabulous. They have sent me down a rabbit hole from which I suspect my wallet will not recover (now that I know about any number of other things I was not aware I needed to own), but I am grateful. I think the winner is going to be either the original Aalto vase or that gorgeous Stelton vacuum jug (which I think was the very thing I was thinking of when I wrote 'pitcher'). Thanks so much!
posted by catesbie at 8:53 AM on September 5, 2013

Catherineholm bowls (Norway) are gorgeous.
posted by schoolgirl report at 10:40 AM on September 5, 2013 [1 favorite]

Something by Georg Jensen, such as this citrus peeler.
posted by The corpse in the library at 1:05 PM on September 5, 2013

If this'll help with your budget: the iittala vase comes in a cookie cutter.
posted by The corpse in the library at 1:07 PM on September 5, 2013

If he is a sci-fi fan

Now it seems obligatory to bring up the Duett pitcher and juicer, used as a prop in Space: 1999.
posted by kmennie at 2:17 PM on September 5, 2013

(link contains inaccurate info though; here is the MoMA page)
posted by kmennie at 2:23 PM on September 5, 2013

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