Guide / Oslo
”Local businesses are making Oslo more inspiring than ever”
On a melting pot of culture, art and innovation
12 May 2021

Mona Jensen is the Founder and Creative Director of Tom Wood, a Norwegian fashion and jewellery brand based in Oslo. In true Scandinavian fashion, the brand can be recognized by the purity of materials and minimal design.

This month, the brand will open its first flagship store in Øvre Slottsgate 8, located in the central shopping district of the capital. The store has been designed in collaboration with Specific Generic; a Stockholm-based design and architecture office with longstanding experience in designing international retail spaces.

My favourite thing that makes me proud of Oslo:

The incredible music festivals in the city during the summer months, and the fantastic food scene that’s just gotten better and better over the last couple of years. Local and smaller businesses are making Oslo more inspiring than ever, and the city has become a melting pot of culture, art and innovation with a true entrepreneurial spirit.

My favourite weekend routine:

I like to start the day with a big breakfast together with my family, and then spend the day somewhere outdoors before inviting a few good friends over to our place for dinner or going around to their house with a bottle of good wine. This last year with no travelling has made this a true weekend routine. My weekdays are incredibly long and hectic so I like to take the weekends to relax and slow down.

My favourite cultural spot:

I visit the Astrup Fearnley Museum of Modern Art at Tjuvholmen for inspiration, and I like slow-paced walks in the Vigeland Park. Walking amongst the fantastic sculptures that Gustav Vigeland created is a great experience all year round as the mood and the scenery in the park changes with the seasons.

My favourite place for dining out:

That’s a tricky one. I love Asian food, so for a long family dinner of shared plates and some Thai beer, I would say Ahaan which is located just behind the Royal Palace. For great Italian food and with the cool bar Andre til Høyre next door, I go to Girotondo nearby Youngstorget. With incredible service, creative food and natural wines, Skaal is another favourite I will be visiting frequently this summer as it’s conveniently located two blocks from our new offices at Grünerløkka.

My favourite place for a creative or business meeting:

The rooftop terrace at our new offices overlooking Oslo!

My favourite breakfast place:

At home, but I could easily stop by The Vandelay or Gunnars Generasjonsbar for brunch.

My favourite city escape:

Our cabin in the archipelago, 1.5 hours outside of Oslo. The cabin was originally designed and built in 1974 and it is a true Functionalist gem with huge windows overlooking the sea and direct access to a petite, private stone beach. The cabin is only accessible by boat and it’s privately located on a small island. I am originally from an island on the west coast of Norway and although the climate there is different I always feel at home when I’m close to the sea.

My favourite local entrepreneur or creative I want to promote:

Since the pandemic last year I have been thinking a lot about how important the cultural scene is and how many great, hard-working entrepreneurs are building Oslo as a city for so many people. A person that I admire for his guts to do just this is Misgina Ghebremeskel who runs several bars in Oslo. We really need people like him to keep Oslo interesting and vibrant.

My favourite hotel for a staycation:

The Thief. Tucked away behind the Aker Brygge harbour area at Tjuvholmen it’s close to many beautiful spots, museums, galleries and shopping – all within walking distance. They also serve a great brunch accompanied by bellinis and Bloody Mary’s.

My favourite space for great design:

The new Deichman Bjørvika public library is an amazing spot that’s free and open to the public. It’s a huge space, really beautiful and with a café and restaurant downstairs.

My favourite route for a run or walk:

Oslo is a great city to walk in, and I like to walk along the waterfront if I’m downtown to enjoy the fresh air and beautiful scenery. For a longer Sunday stroll, it’s really nice to walk from the Opera House to Tjuvholmen, or even all the way to the beaches at Bygdøy for a picnic by the ocean.

My favourite place for fashion:

I would of course advise that you stop by our new Tom Wood flagship store, located in Øvre Slottsgate 8 in the city centre. It sits next to all the contemporary Scandinavian brand stores as well as international luxury brand stores and some smaller fashion multibrand department stores.

My favourite example of tech innovation in Oslo:

A lot of great things are happening in the fashion industry in Oslo these days. Manufacture Oslo is a new innovation hub and competence network with smart production technology equipment available for the fashion industry.

Furthermore, Tom Wood is heavily invested in tech and we have just launched The Lab at our new offices. It is a small machine park that consists of 3D printers, laser engraving machines and laser printers. It makes it possible for us to be more hands-on with development of prototypes and new collections, and it reduces the time it takes to get products to the market. We can pilot more and are equipped to customize in particular for our jewellery.

My favourite local media:

Anders Husa runs a great food blog where he writes really well about so many nice places in Oslo and beyond. I can’t wait to visit some local recommendations as soon as we’re able to again.

My favourite thing at home:

Our private garden. We have huge windows and sliding doors in all rooms with direct access to it. It’s like a huge painting, and the colours and scenery changes with the seasons, we sometimes have deer walking there and squirrels and birds are always in the trees. Spending time observing the garden life makes me content and calm.