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‘Back Pocket’ Restaurant Culture, Stockholm
The fine dining scene in Stockholm is well documented. Focussing on fresh ingredients, local produce and ecological seafood, the chefs of the Swedish capital have embraced the Nordic Manifesto which, in 2004, outlined how best to develop new Scandinavian cuisine.
However, in a city where eating well can be eye-popping expensive, a more wallet-friendly trend is on the move, while still combining those high qualities associated with fine dining – ‘Back Pocket’ (or Bakficka) restaurants are characterised by a conversation-friendly atmosphere at a reasonable price.
Often within the same building and sharing the same kitchen and staff as their big sibling, these stylish restaurants offer a more affordable taste of the city’s fine cuisine:
Speceriet is the casual sister restaurant of Michelin starred Gastrologik. Whilst the communal bench seating may go against the grain of the more reticent Swede, the vision has certainly been executed. More a restaurant to drop in after work than a place to book weeks in advance; great produce, service and plating keeps them coming back for more.
Oaxen Krog is nearly 25 years old and is in its second incarnation in leafy Djurgården, Stockholm. It also has a second Michelin star since 2015 and its fine dining pedigree makes it pretty much a permanent fixture in Restaurant Magazine’s 50 best restaurants in the world. It now has a more relaxed sister restaurant, Oaxen Slip, a ‘Bakficka’ with which it shares a clear focus on Swedish, locally sourced and seasonal flavours.
Also, check out Råkultur’s relaxed take on the glorious gastronomy of Sayan Isaksson at Esperanto. Meanwhile, probably Sweden’s most acclaimed and esteemed restaurant, Operakällaren, has had its own back pocket since 1962 – it’s just taken a while for everyone else to catch on!
Featured Designer – Arne Jacobsen
1902 – 1971
Widely regarded as the grandfather of modern Danish design and contributor to the Functionalist movement, Arne Jacobsen has certainly made his mark in the world of architecture and design. Although some of his ‘avant-garde’ projects caused outrage at the time, leading to riots and protests in Denmark, his work is now revered and celebrated by Danes and indeed all over the globe.
He received a gold medal for his graduation project (an art gallery) from the School of Architecture at the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts, and his long career was launched.
An interesting character, Arne Jacobsen was known as a perfectionist modernist, never overlooking the smallest of detail but he was also heavily into nature and botany and painted watercolours. During World War II, to escape persecution for his Jewish heritage, the Danish resistance helped him escape by row boat to Sweden where he spent two years designing textiles and wallpaper.
Arne Jacobsen’s chair designs are probably the most iconic and well-known of his portfolio. They are part of design history, simple and functional in minimalist Danish style. The Egg Chair, Swan Chair and Ant Chair (now the Series 7 chair) can be found in many stylish establishments today.
Among the buildings that he was commissioned to design is the world’s first designer hotel, the SAS Royal Hotel (now the Radisson Blu Royal) in Copenhagen. Everything in the hotel was designed by Arne Jacobsen, from the employees’ uniforms, lighting, furniture and door handles to the ash trays sold in the shop. Hotel guests today can book room 606, the Arne Jacobsen Suite, a showcase for the original décor.
St. Catherine’s College, University of Oxford, received Grade I listing in 1993 and was also designed by Arne Jacobsen. Again, he was responsible for designing all aspects of the project, including the famous high back ‘Oxford’ chairs and the flatware. The college boasts open plan quads and unique interiors. He even chose the species of fish for the pond.
The award-winning cocktail and tableware series Cylinda-line was designed by Arne Jacobsen in 1967 for Stelton. So iconic, simple and stunning, Cylinda-line is still in production and available from Century Design.
Although it is many years since his death the Arne Jacobsen legacy still lives on. He embodied the concept of ‘Gesamtkunstwerk’, a work of art that makes use of all or many art forms.