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Design Hunting by Train Through Scandinavia

by Jill Gleeson
EDGE Media Network Contributor
Tuesday Jun 21, 2016

For design-obsessed groupies of the sleek lines, simple beauty and warm functionality that are the hallmarks of Scandinavian home furnishings, a trip through Denmark, Sweden and Norway just might trip internal circuit breakers. Be prepared to be overwhelmed. Major cities like Copenhagen, Gothenburg and Oslo are filled with even more breathtaking homegrown home goods than gorgeous blonds. From legendary china to gleaming wood tables the size of aircraft carriers and everything in between, Scandinavian interior design shopping is among the world's best. Just remember to pace yourself.

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While bopping through three countries on a quest for great Scandinavian decor might seem like a labor of love, Eurail makes it all not only easy but actually fun. Grab a Eurail pass (now available up to 11 months in advance), take any train to Copenhagen, Gothenburg or Oslo - or wherever the mood strikes you - and get shopping. Reservations aren't even always required. Border crossings are a breeze, too. Don't have much time to shop 'til you drop? The company's Global Pass is now available in five- and seven-day validities good for use in a one-month period.

Danish Design for Your Digs

Copenhagen, nearly 850 years old and crisscrossed by sparkling canals, is a profoundly charming city. It also is home to the Royal Copenhagen flagship store, housed in a three-story, four-century-old building on the tony shopping street Stroget. The company has long kept the royal family supplied with its achingly lovely, hand-painted porcelain, much as famed Danish brand Georg Jensen - located right next door - has been its silver flatware purveyor.

Both stores flow into and out of Illums Bolighus, a mind-bendingly massive design center that features everything you could possible need to feather your nest from Danish designers including lighting master Poul Henningsen and Arne Jacobsen, known for his extraordinary chairs. The Normann Copenhagen flagship store in the city's Osterbro area is equally dazzling, with inventive products like the "Washing-up Bowl" and an adorable leatherman salt and pepper set. Or, hit up Hay House on Stroget, a repository for the clean, smart home design for which Scandinavia is famed.

Layering Your Love Shack: Swedish Style

Sweden is no slouch when it comes to interior design, and though Stockholm may be the country's capital, Gothenburg, a university city with a hipster heart, offers its own killer shopping. Artilleriet, ensconced in the trendy Magasinsgatan neighborhood, blends classic, vintage and modern goods from all over the world and tops the list of Gothenburg's favorite home emporiums. For chefs and those who love them, Artilleriet's got a kitchen shop, too.

Meanwhile, Norrgavel, a luxe Scandi furniture store with a serious greenie bent, is just across the street. Searching for both established and up-and-coming Swedish designers? DesignTorget's innovative products, from people such as award-winning kitchenware creator Kristina Stark and textile maverick Simon Key Bertman, seamlessly meld function and style.

Nordic Knick Knacks

Muscular Oslo, with its vast green spaces and bold new skyline, is a city on the move, one of the fastest growing in Europe. Scandinavian design gets its due here, too, but with a Norwegian bent.

Norway Designs, a more than five-decade-old store in the city center, offers ultra-sharp Nordic and Scandinavian textiles, art glass, ceramics and kitchenware, while House of Oslo is a full-on four-floor shopping center with furniture and textiles that also includes the Danish store Illums Bolighus.

Pur Norsk, celebrating a decade in business, sells only goods with a Norwegian connection in idea, design or production, from companies like Northern Lighting and furniture fabricators Fjordfiesta and LK Hjelle.

Jill Gleeson is a travel and adventure journalist based in the Appalachians of Central Pennsylvania. Find her on Facebook and Twitter at @gopinkboots.


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