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Ælfred: A King-Size Scandinavian Vintage Emporium

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Ælfred: A King-Size Scandinavian Vintage Emporium

Christian Banfield November 29, 2022

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:

Ælfred currently has around 700 items in stock and is open to the public t 9
Above: Ælfred currently has around 700 items in stock and is open to the public Thursday-Sunday, 10 a.m.-6 p.m.

“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&#8\2\17;s friends, nina tolstrup and jack mama of studiomama, informed 10
Above: Nina’s friends, Nina Tolstrup and Jack Mama of Studiomama, informed Nina about the warehouse unit. (Studiomama have recently completed the interiors for a new Moro restaurant next door.)
Ælfred founder nina hertig. 11
Above: Ælfred founder Nina Hertig.

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.”

vintage scandinavian glassware, from £30. 12
Above: Vintage Scandinavian glassware, from £30.

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.

a cluster of louis poulsen&#8\2\17;s ph 4&5 pendants. 13
Above: A cluster of Louis Poulsen’s PH 4&5 pendants.
an alvar aalto table and chairs (£\1600) and a selection of teak bowls (fr 14
Above: An Alvar Aalto table and chairs (£1600) and a selection of teak bowls (from £25). “These products are so well made they have lasted for decades, and they have decades more left in them,” says Nina.

“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:

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