When the Victoria & Albert Museum celebrated its 150th birthday some years ago, talk was of the crossover between commerce and culture anticipated by Victorian philanthropists and industrialists. Even they, though, possibly didn’t expect retail to play such a fundamental role as it has in the UK as a cultural patron and promoter.
A number of retailers now follow this line, but one that is singled out here is Skandium, the Scandinavian lifestyle retailer that has done much over time to bring contemporary Scandinavian design to the UK, along with 20th century classics by the likes of Alvar Aalto, Arne Jacobsen and Eero Saarinen. It sells Scandinavian wares, but also hosts and sponsors related events.
It is run by an international team: Magnus Englund from Sweden, Chrystina Schmidt, a Finn, and Christopher Seidenfaden from Denmark. Last September they added a new flagship store in London’s emerging Brompton Quarters to a store portfolio that had previously centred on the shop in Marylebone High Street.
Designed by Lewis Granaiola, the store is conceived as a simple backdrop to the products. The range has been broadened to include furniture and accessories by international design patrons Knoll, Vitra and Cassina, as well as Scandinavian companies.