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The store that blazed a trail for Scandinavian design

The interiors shop that became a much-loved institution

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The store that blazed a trail for Scandinavian design

December 22 2009
Katrina Burroughs

Every time I lift my little flat box of Georg Jensen cutlery from the kitchen drawer, the simplest supper begins to feel like an occasion. The knives have just the right kind of heft in the hand, and the matt-finish stainless steel smoulders rather than sparkles – who really wants to see their reflection in a spoon? The lovely, linear shapes of this classic set seem absolutely contemporary, though they were actually designed in 1963 by the sculptor Henning Koppel, then launched at the World Expo in New York. And, more than 30 years later, I discovered them while idling in an interiors store in Brompton Road.

I’ve long had a love of all things Scandinavian, from wood-burning fires to colourful, folksy printed textiles, which makes Skandium one of my favourite interiors stores on the planet.

Just over a decade ago, Skandium stormed into London, bringing the best of 20th- and 21st-century Nordic design to the uninitiated Brits. And my, hasn’t the assignment gone well. We’re all well versed in the virtues of Orrefors and Iitala glassware nowadays, and can converse sensibly on the merits of Marimekko duvet covers and Louis Poulsen pendant lights.

And, though they sell plenty of big-ticket items (for instance, the romantically named EJ250 Sofa by Erik Jørgensen, from £3,698), there are oodles of more reasonably priced pieces – my New York cutlery (pictured) costs £45 for each knife, fork and spoon trio. And inexpensive impulse buys are arranged like sweeties around the store. Last week, I was tempted by Pia Wallén’s fantastic felt slippers (£43). They’re sleek and sculpted, with white zig-zag seams stitched across thick black felt, and just the right side of clumpy.

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