All hail Ælfred, London’s biggest showroom of vintage Scandinavian mid-century furniture, which has recently opened in Hackney Wick. Named after the ninth-century king of the West Saxons, Ælfred is a 300 square-meter canal-side industrial unit stuffed to the gunwales with mid-century Danish, Swedish, Norwegian, and Finnish furniture and home accessories.
Take a look inside:
“For a long time, we’ve known that there are a lot of great pieces which haven’t been reaching a wider market,” explains founder Nina Hertig. “With Ælfred, the idea is to bring a wide selection of good-quality pieces to London.” Here, the emphasis is on fresh stock: There will be a steady flow of containers full of carefully selected second-hand furniture, cutlery, antiques, vases, accessories, and glassware being delivered directly from the Nordic countries, offering shoppers a sustainable alternative to fast furniture.
Nina—a Dane—knows what to look for, too. As cofounder of the established interior design practice and gallery Sigmar, she has been dealing with 20th-century decorative art and furniture for two decades. “We are looking for quality and personality at Ælfred,” she explains. “We want our pieces to play a part in telling the story of Nordic design in the 20th century—and there are many different stories within that.”
The “curated flea market” will feature a rolling supply of pieces that range in price from £10 for a pair of teak and steel serving utensils to £2500 for designs by the likes of Arne Norell and Kristian Vedel. Since rolling back the shutters, accessories from makers such as Royal Copenhagen have been snapped up by shoppers, as have many of the original oil paintings on offer.
“We live with pieces in the real world, so I think we need to choose them in the real world, too,” Nina says of her decision to open a brick-and-mortar shop. “So much information is lost or misrepresented in an image, and I think we’re becoming aware of this. Finding something that reflects you and gives you joy on an everyday basis—that’s the fun part.”
To visit Ælfred in person, head to Autumn St, Hackney Wick, London E3 2TT.
And for more Scandi shopping destinations, see:
- Currently Coveting: Swedish Wood and Leather Designs from an Eco-Conscious Tannery
- Responsible Reuse: Furniture Built from Dinesen Offcuts for a Museum Café
- Global-Minded Throws by a Former Fashion Designer, Inspired by the Swedish Archipelago (and Art Deco, Peru, and Portugal)