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Michael Storåkers’ guide to Stockholm

A prominent and respected figure in the worlds of art and advertising, Michael Storåkers is the co-founder of Storåkers, which later became part of the global advertising agency network McCann. There he became Chief Executive Officer and Chairman in 2002. Among several other executive positions, he’s Chairman & Head of Contemporary at CFHILL Art Space.

Words Nick Rice

— I’ve lived in Stockholm from my first breath, in July 1972.

I love this city for its drama. The 24-hour foam disco in the summer – Ibiza style, and the Bergman aesthetical melancholia in the winter. Contrasts form the lives of Scandinavians. We are not at all boring, only prepared for extremes.

— You can change your baby’s diapers in the men’s bathroom. My kids are older now, but there’s no other city in the world where you see so many dads hanging around in parks and cafés with strollers while their wives are at work.

— If you’re working though, the best place for business lunch is Teatergrillen. Everyone who knows me will find me there. Every lunchtime. I’m sure you can see the marks from my bum on the sofa. Tensta Konsthall is also great for a vegan brunch. An oasis of the greatest art hidden in the million dwelling programme of the northern suburbs. An Ethiopian family run the restaurant. You just can’t get enough of their injera.

—To walk off lunch I go to Ulriksdal Royal National City Park instead of the more common Djurgården. Ulriksdal Palace was commissioned by the nobleman Jakob de la Gardie in the 17th century, a man with close connections to the king. There are beautiful woods, a museum and even a charming 18th century opera house. And it’s never crowded. Early June is one of my favourite seasons to go. June touches the hearts of frozen Swedes, every time.

— As a getaway, you can lock yourself up in the Orangery at the Hotel Ett Hem or the Orangery close to Ulriksdal Palace. Here, Sweden’s most cultural king ever, collected marble sculptures, replicas from Roman Classical times, as well as work by the Swedish sculptor from the time, Tobias Sergel. It’s unbelievably pretty. One of the most fascinating items in Swedish history is hidden here: the coronation carriage of the deeply intellectual 17th century Queen Christina, the one who abdicated and converted to Catholicism. And all of this just 10 minutes from the city centre.

— A treat for the mind would be the theatre run by the genius Martina Montelius, Teater Brunnsgatan Fyra and then the collection at Moderna Museet, one of the best in Europe. Don’t miss out on the hilarious goat by Robert Rauschenberg (Monogram) or one of the biggest collections of works by Marcel Duchamp in the world. Also visit the Herman Bergman Foundry. It’s amazing, you can follow the process from cast to shining bronze sculpture. It’s truly a magic show.

— An ideal day in Stockholm could involve buying three kilos of whitefish roe at Lisa Elmqvist at Östermalms Saluhall and inviting friends over. If I have to go out, then I’d stay at Ett Hem hotel, having breakfast either there or at Tensta Konsthall and then visit their exhibition. A walk in the Ulriksdal Royal Garden, and a visit to the Orangery, followed by a late lunch focusing on fish at Wedholms or at Lisa Elmqvist. After that, shopping at Svenskt Tenn and a visit to CFHILL art space, and then dinner at Punk Royale. That’s a good long day. With kids? Then go to Skansen and learn about everyday life for the average population from all over Sweden. Arthur Hazelius, a late 19th century national romantic, collected houses from the north to the south. Crazy idea but a great outdoor museum with living handicraft huts where you can see glassblowers at work creating bowls and other objects.


Storåkers’ Stockholm

Teatergrillen, Nybrogatan 3,
Tensta Konsthall, Taxingegränd 10,
Ulriksdal Royal National City Park, Ulriksdal.
Hotel Ett Hem, Sköldungagatan 2,
Teater Brunnsgatan Fyra, Brunnsgatan 4,
Moderna Museet, Exercisplan 4,
Lisa Elmqvist, Östermalms Saluhall Östermalmstorg,
Wedholms Fisk, Nybrokajen 17,
CFHILL, Norrlandsgatan 24,

Photographed in his gallery by Dan Sjölund