Skandi – which sells retro and vintage from Denmark, Sweden and Norway is back in Wellington with containers of gorgeous furniture and lighting. I chat to Emma Hart, whose wonderful energy and keen eye are the driving forces behind the charming Island Bay store.

You are back after what looks like another huge buying trip! What are the key trends in Scandinavia and how does that relate to what we are hunting for here?

When I think about Nordic or Scandinavian style, architectural clean lines, pale floors and every hue of white come to mind. But when I am in friends apartments either in Copenhagen or last month Helsinki, when you are actually sprawled over a couch and have time to dissect a room you see that the formula is quite different. Yes less is more, always has been, but it is far more eclectic than what most magazines styling the new Nordic lead us to believe.

Our friends in the North use  incredible ambient lighting signature retro couches and interesting pairs of chairs from the 1950’s to the 80’s to punch up a room and give it a sense of calm and wow and most of all a point of difference. Ikea kitchens are commonplace but their rooms are totally bespoke. Our style here in NZ too eclectic and we have a love of all things vintage but with extensions, additions and modernised kitchens we are heading in the same direction.

So what is the formula and what are examples of ways to get the Scandinavian look with pieces that you have sourced?

The mood of a room is often dictated by lighting so back in Scandinavia you will see gorgeous retro ceiling lights – this year in big bold brass, copper and other metallics hanging low over tables and sideboards.

Where accents are possible and necessary to pull together a room through coloured furniture, art or textiles, Verner Panton’s Flowerpot ceiling light and Tulip lights are great as they come in amazing reds, deep teals and vivid greens and yellows making anything possible.  Flowerpot lights are small but because they are brightly coloured they can look amazing hung in a series of three in a hallway as well as low over a kitchen counter or as one lady did last week hung two of difference shades of teal low over her bedside tables.  We sell vintage Panton’s from $480.00

A really easy and fuss free way to make a lounge cosy or a bedroom more snuggly during the winter months is to drape reindeer skins over couches, chairs and beds. Our reindeer hides come from farms in Northern Sweden and used by the Sami people primarily for their meat, the skins are a by-product. The pelts are thick and luxurious and come in creamy colour ways from ash, caramels – to pure white and no two pelts have the same markings. They sell for $600.00

I think the centre piece in most Scandinavian living rooms though is their couch. I think if I did a straw poll, 7/10 of my friends would have retro 50’s and 60’s pieces with the remainder opting for Bo Concept or Bolia modern suites.

Rum magazine which is the interiors style bible over that way will always have a room featuring iconic designer couches from the like of Børge Mogensen, Hans Wegner, Kurt Østervig, Arne Vodder and the granddaddy of Danish Design Finn Juhl.

Last year my couches sold out in the first couple of weeks so this year there are 30 retro leather and some fabric couches including some from designers  Børge Mogensen, Hans Olsen, Hans Wegner and manufacturers Stouby and Skippers. Couches start at $2400.00 and range from distressed brown leather to uber chic rosewood and wool.

You travel all around Demark, Sweden and you even Finland this year to source interesting pieces, and essentially live between two hemispheres so you must think there is a shared link aesthetically to how we both live?

Tricky question but over there, they are not afraid to use contrasting and sometimes clashing pieces from different eras to mould a room. This is where the cross over between our more boho chic and Nordic cool can combine well.

Here in New Zealand (and I am guilty of this as anyone) we get caught into have so much stuff competing in a room.

There is Nana’s bookcase which you etched your name into the side when you were 4 that you just can’t part crammed into the corner, the lamp that you got half price from a really posh shop that now is just on the wrong side of bling, the couch that will do until the kids get older and your parents kitchen table that just holds too much history to hand over to the sallies.

I am not saying that any of these must be relegated to interiors cemetery – the garage.  I have been to Danish summer houses in the forest where the Danes go for their holidays and seen 100 years of family history crammed into a two bedroom cottage but it would go something more like this.

Granny’s book-case would be painted white and would hold baskets of cutlery and plates in the kitchen or lounge area. The lamp would have had its bling removed, painted white or the lightest of greys and sit by the bed or on top of a teak mid-century tallboy (which we put in bedrooms) holding additional plates and cups. The dining table would have cool lamps hung low over it and the couch.. well it would have some sort of loose covers disguising the shape or patina.

What I am noticing now is that we are looking for more one-off interesting classic pieces that have a design pedigree. More Skandi customers want to Google names of pieces, know who the designer and manufacturer is.

This year you are going quite large on fashion and fabric…and we hear that your opening night party catwalk was amazing!

It was a great night with 180 people, gorgeous models from Kirsty Bunny model management dripping with lovely brands from Danish brands; BZR, Noli, B Young, Oxmo, Part Two, through to high-end European brands like Allsaints UK, Diesel, Tiger of Sweden and incredible graphic print knitware from Italy. I buy end of lines and sale stock so it is a fraction of the price. 100% wool jackets from Denmark are under $300. Like the furniture, I am aiming to bring something totally different onto the market and to put it together in contrasting forms and fashions so at least we stop and think about what we like and what works for us as individuals.

My style is contrasting stripes, patterns, colours and textures often in the same outfit. Some people may find this a bit of a car crash but at least when confronted with something different we are forced to stop and think what it is we do or don’t like, what we can rework from our wardrobes and how it’s good to consider other methods of putting outfits together.

Fashion dictates many interior styles and it all about experimenting, playing and expressing themselves through colour, pattern and texture.

Last year you popped up and sold out and popped down after four months but there is a rumour that this year you are not popping down?? So we can expect to see more of your lovely and very different style of the new Nordic filtering through?

Ahead of the game again Anya, yes it’s true.

Climbing around farmers barns pulling out chairs and identifying table legs in minus 6 degrees is not all glamour but it is fun and totally rewarding, the people are lovely and the learning is immense.

With demand for Scandinavian mid-century so hot right now world-wide I am not sure how long supply out of countries like Denmark and Sweden can last, prices are increasing (especially Rosewood pieces) and stock is decreasing as it leaves those countries in particular. Speaking of which I have another container of goodies arriving in 7 weeks… so at least for the meantime we will be able to go out with the new and in with the old and create our own little slice of Scandinavian style.

Skandi, 112 The Parade, Island Bay, Wellington 0220 710 551 Open Wed-Fri 10 – 5, Sat-Sun 10- 4pm

Emma Hart (centre) with friends on the opening night

Emma Hart (centre) with friends on the opening night





Danish Enamelware called 'Madame Blue

Danish Enamelware called ‘Madame Blue







2 Comments on “skandi-skandi

  1. I know. I had to make do with a Wellington visit myself. I badly wanted to bring back at least one of those beautiful leather sofas… I just bought back some of the blue enamelware instead…

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