Top lead image: Kuggen Chalmers University of Technology © Henk Meijer Photography
Once considered the “rougher cousin” to Sweden’s pristine harbour-side capital, in the last decade Gothenburg - or Göteborg to Swedes - has become the country’s west coast hot bed for all things cultural; lovingly nicknamed, “Little London”. Peruse our handy design guide for all things under-the-radar food, fashion, including the homebase of Nudie Jeans, and design, and see where industrial buildings have been transformed into galleries; where once-rundown neighbourhoods host multiple craft beer bars, and where the city’s food scene has begun attracting global attention for its inventive use of local culinary staples like fresh crayfish, lobster and prawns in new, daring ways.
Haga, on the south side of the Göta, which was once so run-down the city considered demolishing it, is now home to music clubs, shops, and art spaces. Meanwhile, the neo-classical architecture of Gunnebo House and Gardens provides a glimpse into the city’s golden age of manufacturing.
While there has never been a better time to visit this island-dotted city, Gothenburg is truly at its most unique when explored by way of the local art and design scene. Called by some the “Williamsburg of Scandinavia”, grab a cup of locally-brewed coffee, embrace your inner flaneur, and start making these bohemian streets your own. Stay at the funky & cool Hotel Flora Gothenburg - a boutique hotel fav with the creative scene, this is the perfect base from which to to explore another side to Scandi Sweden.
Originally built for the 1923 Göteborg Exhibition, the Konsthall offers a cavernous space for cultural visits as well as for local artists to showcase large-scale works. In addition, the Konsthall has an ongoing partnership with the Valand Academy, the University of Göteborg’s art faculty, which allows students of fine art and photography to exhibit their works to the public.
Sweden’s renowned craft and design school, HDK’s most recent addition is A-venue: a gallery on the city’s main drag. Still in its fledgling stage, A-venue hopes to become the it-destination for new and interesting art and design in Gothenburg. It has also become the creator and host of the newly launched Gothenburg Design Festival.
Since its creation in 2001, the GIBCA large-scale arts event space has been known to showcase everything from sculpture to graffiti, attracting the city’s most well-heeled art lovers. One for your personal guide books.
Located in the Göteborg Museum of Art, the Hasselbad Centre is the mecca for all things photography. Frequently on exhibit are works by winners of the annual Hasselbad Foundation’s award for established photographers, while the foundation also organizes an annual exhibition for young photographers under the name of New Nordic Photography.
Not necessarily a design centre in the traditional sense, here you can explore the region’s “fishy architectural history” while also sampling the area’s delicious seafood. Known as the "Fish Church" to locals, this architectural gem, built in 1874, does look more like a religious centre than a market — but once you’ve tasted their arctic char you just might feel like you’ve reached a higher power.
Known for its selection of furniture and design objects, here you can pick up home goods with a distinctly Nordic flair.
Located off the well-trod path of Haga Nygata, Tell Me More features classic Swedish brands as well as a curated selection of global goods.
Founded in 1993, this retail chain offers the opportunity to scout cute, quirky, and all-together-entirely-too-Scandinavian design goods (meant with the highest degree of design-love).
Röda Sten 1
Located under the Älvsborg bridge, with an exterior bearing an impressive graffiti mural lovingly restored by Mikael Dimitri Lingren, Röda Sten is one of the largest contemporary art galleries on Sweden’s west coast. Showcasing contemporary art in all its mediums, from installations to video art, from sculpture to photography, this is one of Gothenburg’s most beloved galleries.
Calling all graphic design nerds: Grafik I Vast might just be your heaven... or haven. Inside the gallery are the offices of Runby, a non-profit organisation of Swedish and non-Swedish printmakers that aims to promote the development of this oft-overlooked art form. Also housed in its walls is a vast collection of prints, as well as the works of local painter Ingela Palmertz and Swedish graphic artist Ulf Rahmberg.