The Aesthete: Hakan Rosenius talks more personal taste

The artistic director of Asprey continues his list of likes with shopping in Stockholm, Steve McQueen’s style and the graphic art of Ed Ruscha

Hakan Rosenius at home in London
Hakan Rosenius at home in London | Image: Kate Martin

My style icon is Steve McQueen. He lived differently to other actors; he didn’t just stay in Hollywood – he travelled and raced motorcycles, and that came across in the way he dressed. Obviously there is a strong masculine feel to his style, but he looked just as good in jeans and a T-shirt as he did in a suit.

My favourite room in my house is the informal sitting room. It has an enormous green sofa designed by David Hicks, where I sit and watch Wes Anderson films in great comfort. 

1960s Flag Halyyard chair by Hand J Wegner, €20,000, from Jacksons in Stockholm
1960s Flag Halyyard chair by Hand J Wegner, €20,000, from Jacksons in Stockholm | Image:

An object I would never part with is a Serpente glass plate by Carlo Scarpa for Venini in black, red and white. I’m the only one who likes it; everybody else thinks it’s really ugly, including my husband – I’ve had to put it in a cupboard to hide it from him. 

If I had to limit my shopping to one neighbourhood in one city, I’d choose Östermalm in Stockholm. There is an amazing indoor food market, Östermalms Saluhall, for meat, vegetables and beautiful bread, and the main fishmonger has a wonderful restaurant attached to it. The clothes in Morris fit me perfectly and Jacksons has a great eye for 20th-century antiques and Scandinavian furniture. JP Willborg has a huge selection of antique carpets – it has a basement stacked with them and staff roll them out for you to look at. Jacksons, Sibyllegatan 53 (+468-665 3350; JP Willborg, Sibyllegatan 41 (+468-783 0265; Morris, Humlegårdsgatan 19 (+468-667 2010; Östermalms Saluhall, Östermalmstorg (


The last music I downloaded was a jazz album, This One’s For Dinah, by China Moses and Raphaël Lemonnier. The singer has a strong and interesting voice, and I discovered it just driving one day.

The last meal that truly impressed me was at Restaurante Somorrostro in Barcelona. It’s in the old workmen’s quarter – you see washing lines hanging above the street. I had deep-fried sea urchin in a crab broth with toasted garlic and a raw egg yolk: truly extraordinary. Carrer de Sant Carles 11, 08003 Barcelona (+3493-225 0010;

Rosenius’s skincare products
Rosenius’s skincare products | Image: Kate Martin

The best gift I’ve given recently was a dozen handkerchiefs and a dozen pairs of socks. When I was starting school, aged five, my grandmother gave me the same gift. She told me that you should never buy anybody a single handkerchief or pair of socks. I went to Jermyn Street and chose them from lots of shops and wrapped them individually for my husband – he was delighted.

And the best one I’ve received recently was a collection of old estate auction catalogues from Sotheby’s, including the collections of Bunny Mellon and Baron de Redé. They were from my husband for my birthday – there is always so much historical background to be found in them, and as a present it had a lot of thought and effort behind it.

Seafood at Restaurante Somorrostro in Barcelona
Seafood at Restaurante Somorrostro in Barcelona

The best thing I’ve read in the past year is Six by Six, a limited collection of photography books published in six sets of six titles, each by different photographers, all very well curated. I have been collecting books that focus on 20th-century photography, art, architecture, interior design and fashion for 30 years; I have 2,600 books in storage, but my current collection is in my study. I curate the book department at Asprey: customers ask us to find a specific book and then we rebind it and design the jacket – it’s very popular. Asprey, 167 New Bond St, London W1 (020-7493 6767; Six by Six, $6,000 for one set;

The one artist whose work I would collect if I could is the American artist Ed Ruscha. His work is very graphic, very precise. He will paint a mountain landscape and then put some very random words across it that bear no reference to the image – it feels irreverent.

Rosenius’s Serpente glass plate by Carlo Scarpa for Venini
Rosenius’s Serpente glass plate by Carlo Scarpa for Venini | Image: Kate Martin

In my fridge you’ll always find berries and yoghurt, which I have for breakfast with seeds, all from Whole Foods; Moliterno black truffle pecorino, which I discovered at a market in Düsseldorf – friends bring it back for me; and a bottle of Ruinart Blanc de Blancs. At the moment I have a fillet of beef marinating for five days, which is one of my mother’s recipes – it’s like a Swedish carpaccio.

The grooming staples I’m never without are my fragrance, Serge Lutens Santal Majuscule; Carsons Apothecary Facial Hair Conditioner, because my beard gets wiry and dry without it; and Akademikliniken Pure Active Serum from a Swedish cosmeceutical skincare line, which is lightweight and absorbs really well into my skin. Akademikliniken Pure Active Serum, €95 for 50ml; Carsons Apothecary Facial Hair Conditioner, £19.95 for 30ml; Serge Lutens Santal Majuscule, €115 for 50ml EDP;

Steve McQueen filming The Great Escape, 1963
Steve McQueen filming The Great Escape, 1963 | Image: Getty Images

An indulgence I would never forgo is renting a house on Harbour Island in the Bahamas for New Year. I like it because there is absolutely nothing to do, although on New Year’s Day, the big Junkanoo parade provides the carnival atmosphere. 

If I weren’t doing what I do, I would be the owner of a shop selling antiques and unique objects, putting pieces from different centuries into a big cabinet of curiosities.


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