Ben Gorham’s perfect weekend in Stockholm

The founder of beauty and lifestyle brand Byredo goes from paddleboarding to playing boules, stopping for Swedish fashion, vintage furniture and conceptual art along the way

Byredo founder Ben Gorham
Byredo founder Ben Gorham | Image: Felix Odell

“We aren’t big sleepers in our family. On Saturdays I get up early and go with my wife Natasha and daughters, Anouk and Ines, for breakfast at Omayma, in Söder, a café that serves delicious, healthy food. It’s a simple place with cement walls and an exposed kitchen – the focus is on what they make, which includes raw, vegan and gluten-free dishes. The menu changes a lot, but whatever I’m eating I always have Swedish coffee, which the rest of the world calls ‘drip coffee’.

If the weather’s nice we’ll leave the city and go out into the archipelago to Dalarö – “valley island” – where we have a place. We might kayak or paddleboard, and then go for lunch at Smadalaro Gard, a little farm that dates back to the 19th century and now has rooms where you can stay. I’ll have something typically Swedish, maybe shrimp on rye bread.

Then we’ll head back to the city and visit Moderna Museet, which is on a picturesque island and has a great collection of contemporary art, including Robert Rauschenberg’s Monogram – the goat passing through the tyre – and some Donald Judd and Marcel Duchamp pieces. It is interesting to go with the girls because they engage with conceptual art, and the museum has workshops at the weekends. They have been learning about collages at school, so they find the Joan Miró inspiring because it’s essentially collage and colour. We also like CFHill, which shows excellent contemporary work. I’ve seen some great Carsten Höller pieces there.

If I’m shopping, I like brands that take the best parts of the Scandinavian aesthetic but mix them up with interesting silhouettes and other cultural influences. Our Legacy does that really well and is one of my favourite fashion labels. I’ll go to its store on the south island, then head over to Eytys, which is a young, cool Swedish shoe brand that makes a lot of different styles of sneaker. It’s a local label, like Acne, which has a global outlook both creatively and in terms of its business model.

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We have some great vintage furniture stores in Stockholm too. I really like Dusty Deco, where I recently bought a set of Africa chairs by Tobia & Afra Scarpa. The owner finds incredibly rare stock, such as Pierre Jeanneret pieces from Le Corbusier’s administration buildings in Chandigarh, and he also makes his own designs. The rugs are particularly good.

If we’re lucky enough to get a babysitter for Saturday night, Natasha and I go out for dinner. Mathias Dahlgren is the most famous chef in the city, based at the Grand Hôtel. I like his Matbaren restaurant, which has a casual vibe. He also has Rutabaga next door, which is vegetarian; if we’re with friends from out of town we may take them there, because it’s a unique experience. If it’s just the two of us we also like going for a drink at Teaterbaren then on for dinner at Teatergrillen, a big classic Swedish bistro in the same building. The seafood is good there. They have something they call the “Silver wagon”, a roast that they roll out, but I tend to opt for fish.

On Sunday I make a family meal – a chicken curry or beef vindaloo. Swedish food is quite bland, so it is taking time for the kids to get used to it. Before we eat, we all go for a walk in Djurgrden, which used to be the king’s hunting grounds. Being outdoors is increasingly important to me, and I love to go for long walks with the kids. We play boules by the docks, or go out on a fast RIB into the archipelago, which is the most amazing experience. Even when you live here, it blows your mind how beautiful Stockholm looks from the sea.”

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