My family is from Stockholm, but I spent my formative years in Umeå, further north. I was unhappy there; I wasn’t hunting and there was no pop culture or good music. I went to Stockholm when I joined a band and we won a competition. Even then I was improvising with vintage clothes worn in new ways, mixing luxury and streetwear.
Stockholm is more European than northern Sweden. Here I can be myself. Some places, like Paris, are so intense, so unreal, that I always don’t feel good enough. Then I come home and remember what is important. The city is bright and calm, the water is always there and reflects the light even on cloudy days.
If I’m not playing tennis in the morning, I drive to Ilcaffè near my home in Nacka. It’s convenient because there’s good coffee, a bakery and flowers all in one place – I like the different scents this combination creates. I’m not sure if the owner initially warmed to me. But I kept going back and now I think he quite likes me. It has to be the same for everyone because it’s an interesting audience with a really positive and negative vibe. The cinnamon rolls are pretty good.
Stockholm has an interesting retail subculture, like the Stockholm Surfboard Club, where I have some of my surfboards made. I surf a lot in Biarritz where I have a house – but in Stockholm we have to wait for the wind in the Baltic Sea to make decent waves. If the forecast hits 9m per second, I’ll just leave. The surfer look is part of Swedish summer culture and this little shop has all the gear and music. I also love SNS Stockholm, which was founded by two guys who were sneakerheads long before there were rare models at unfeasibly prices. They only have one cool industrial store in town, but they work with brands like Adidas, although I’ll stick with my New Balance favourites. And I admire Ettresex, run by two young people who have an incredible eye for vintage and are absolutely up to date. It’s full of cleverly chosen objects and old stuff from the 1990s that kids don’t even know they want.
My two favorite restaurants have very different atmospheres. I take stylish people to Café Nice and then find that they went back on their own. It has a modern, tongue-in-cheek vibe and a menu of small plates, including a perfect, simple pasta dish with pecorino and peppercorns. One of the owners is half French and has connections in the Rhône Valley, so there’s a huge wine list. The other place, Pelican, is very different. Located in an old working class neighborhood, it is large, open plan and with high ceilings, ideal for a slightly noisy birthday dinner. The food is traditional; I tend to go kroppkakora tennis ball-sized potato dumpling with smoked pork, pepper, butter and allspice, served with cranberry jam – a Swedish insider tip.
I also have to mention Teatergrillen, my upscale retreat. It’s right near the historic Royal Dramatic Theater but you have to know it’s there. It’s all chic tablecloths and silver platters, and an art-world crowd mixes with businesspeople—good for people-spotting. The food is classic – I love that kalix lojrom Northern roe with red onions, sour cream and dill or fresh shrimp with mayonnaise. After that, you could go to the Riche, also known as the “divorce bar” – a place to go for the lost.
I send visitors to the Ett Hem, a beautiful Arts and Crafts building decorated by British designer Ilse Crawford in Swedish Grace style, a sophisticated 1920s look that draws on neoclassicism and art deco. The hotel’s name means ‘a home’ and that’s how it feels – informal and relaxed. There’s a pretty courtyard garden and a great spa, and they cook delicious meals to order to be eaten at the kitchen table or in the library on special occasions.
If you visit one attraction make it the Moderna Museet which has the best Swedish paintings and where I discovered Hilma af Klint who showed that Swedish design doesn’t have to be just monochromatic neutral. She loved color, as did I, but banned her work from being exhibited until 20 years after her death, believing people weren’t ready for it. The museum also has a brilliant bookshop.
And when I want to escape the city, the Fjäderholmarna Islands are my favorite part of the Stockholm archipelago. You can get there by boat in under half an hour, walking in the woods and visiting open artists’ studios, followed by a seafood lunch on a large terrace overlooking the water – the most atmospheric restaurant is probably Fjäderholmarnas Krog. It’s a taste of how we Stockholmers like to spend the summer.