Ian. Recently I had the opportunity to visit one of our clients in Stockholm, Sweden. Stockholm is an amazing city, the architecture is amazing, the city is clean and the weather is … not terrible. I’ve been here before but this time I wanted to document something that really stood out to me in my last visit. The doors of Stockholm.

Stockholm is an old city, founded in 1252. When you walk around the city you see these buildings that are hundreds of years old, beautifully designed and filling the banks of the river. Coming from Canada, where we are just about to turn 150, buildings this old are few and far between. I was fortunate enough to visit during their summer which, according to the locals, is very short and not overly warm. Downtown Stockholm is such a walkable area, with everything you need. You have amazing access to Gamla Stan, the never ending waterfront, Skansen and the up and coming Sodermalm. And while the city is super walkable, if you get a chance to check out their Cave Stations, they’re amazing.

A stroll around downtown or Gamla Stan and what really starts to stand out the most for me are the amazing doors on the buildings. There is such an amazing variety of very intricate, solid wood doors spanning centuries. They harbour up thoughts of medieval times, when vikings once lived here. And it’s not just the doors themselves but the surrounding archways and architecture that really add to the life of the door. It’s refreshing to walk around and not see your average Home Depot special slapped on the front of every cookie cutter home. These buildings have so much character that you can stare at them for hours.

Heading down a small, narrow alley in Gamla Stan I came across a unique window covering that I had never seen before. Because the streets are so narrow in the old city, natural light is at a premium (at a premium in general in this city). One building had been outfitted with window covers that featured a reflective mirror on the inside, so that when opened they would direct sunlight in to the apartment.

If you get a chance to visit this city, I highly recommend that you jump on the opportunity. It’s so refreshing to visit a place where design seems so highly valued. It’s not about buying off the shelf trinkets from Walmart. It’s about smart, honest design objects and design thinking that’s been ingrained in the fabric of the city. It’s wonderful.