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Steal This Look: 10 Design Ideas from a Tiny, Michelin-Starred Restaurant in Stockholm

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Steal This Look: 10 Design Ideas from a Tiny, Michelin-Starred Restaurant in Stockholm

January 19, 2021

A few days ago I was looking through restaurants in Stockholm for a future, imagined trip: for someday, when I finally head there in person. One of my discoveries, now at the top of my must-visit list? Agrikultur, a tiny 24-seat restaurant in a nondescript corner of the city, serving thoughtful small dishes with ingredients from Sweden’s farms, waters, and wilds. I was taken with the floor-to-ceiling tiled walls, rustic stacks of wood, oil lamps on every table, and the up-close-and-personal chefs’ counter. (Plus, Agrikultur has received a coveted star for the last three years in the Michelin Guide.)

When I emailed with Joel Åhlin, one of the chefs/owners, I was surprised to discover that, before Agrikultur opened in 2016, the space had been “a pizzeria and, before that, an adult video shop with an illegal strip club in the basement.” Åhlin and co-owner/chef Filip Fastén’s goal for the new interiors, in tandem with designer Daniel Östman? “To make the guests really feel like they were invited home to me and Filip’s for dinner,” Åhlin says. Mission accomplished. Step inside.

N.B.: Åhlin and Fastén recently opened a little sister restaurant, Bar Agrikultur; equally artful, with half-painted walls.

Photography by Niklas Nyman, courtesy of Agrikultur.

1. Hang a muted wreath.

the stately exterior of agrikultur, with muted tones and awnings. note also: th 9
Above: The stately exterior of Agrikultur, with muted tones and awnings. Note also: the dried-flower wreath hanging on the black front door.

2. Bring back oil lamps.

inside the small restaurant, most of the cooking takes place in the efficient l 10
Above: Inside the small restaurant, most of the cooking takes place in the efficient little space behind the bar (there’s also a small prep kitchen). For the restaurant’s nightly prix fixe dinners, four diners are seated at the small chef’s counter where they can watch Åhlin and Fastén at work. An intimate detail we love: glass oil lamps (one of our Design Trends for 2018) at every place.

3. Embrace floor-to-ceiling tile.

the small kitchen behind the bar (shown here when service is not in session) ha 11
Above: The small kitchen behind the bar (shown here when service is not in session) has simple components: floor-to-ceiling square tile, a charcoal-colored Aga range, and stacks of pots and pans.

4. Create artful firewood storage.

the tile continues into the dining area, where it surrounds a wood fired oven.  12
Above: The tile continues into the dining area, where it surrounds a wood-fired oven. Niches in the wall that store cut firewood are both practical and beautiful, mixing rusticity with the glossy tile.

Note also how essentials are kept at the ready in the small space, like the long-handled pizza peel, held in place by two nails. The taps serve still water, sparkling water, and pilsner; a small rack above keeps a few glasses within easy reach for a pour.

5. Take note of the tiniest details.

the tableware is simple but considered. at each place: little wooden knife stan 13
Above: The tableware is simple but considered. At each place: little wooden knife stands, made out of pine wood by craftsman Erik Mossnelid; hand-blown water glasses by Jennie Olofsson; and (not pictured here) handmade green ceramic cups. “We serve the first warm broth in them during the cold season and a chilled soup during the warmer season,” Åhlin says.

6. Mix simple tablecloths with uncovered tables.

in the dining room, some tables are draped with plain tablecloths while others  14
Above: In the dining room, some tables are draped with plain tablecloths while others are left bare, giving the space a charming high-low look, despite the sophistication of the food (and the restaurant’s Michelin star). For a similar look, we advocate for simple painters’ drop-cloth: with its “quality, price, and versatility,” it makes an ideal tablecloth, we wrote in the Remodelista book.

7. Add texture with woven seats.

for some texture (and to break up the wood), the chairs in the dining room have 15
Above: For some texture (and to break up the wood), the chairs in the dining room have woven seats. We also like the way the restauranteurs leaned an old wooden baking bowl against the wall, more sculptural than functional.

8. Brew in glass teapots.

on a table: tea lights by jennie olofsson, the aforementioned little green cup 16
Above: On a table: tea lights by Jennie Olofsson, the aforementioned little green cups, and a glass teapot that allows the natural botanicals inside to show through. We like the Jenaer Glas Wagenfeld Tea Pot from Connox or the German Glass Water Kettle from Kaufmann Mercantile (currently sold out); for teacups to go alongside, see 10 Easy Pieces: Modern Glass Teacups.

9. Go organic with ceramics.

Above: The restaurant’s composed dishes are served on ceramics with an almost shell-like quality by Thomas Szilasi (of former renowned Stockholm ceramics shop Szilasi Ceramics).

10. Add a curtain.

behind a heavy taupe curtain, the chefs&#8\2\17; counter at night. 19
Above: Behind a heavy taupe curtain, the chefs’ counter at night.

Headed to Stockholm? See our Stockholm Design Guide, or plan the perfect trip with these can’t-miss design spots:

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