Local artisans and fairytale castles in western Sweden
Karoline Lenhult, founder and CEO of Kueen, shares a guide on how to live large among the small towns in the Västergötland region in western Sweden.
January 20, 2023
Who are you?
— I’m a designer with an ambition to tell a story with my design that captures and enchants the consumer. There are many ways to tell stories, but my greatest love still lies in creating patterns. I started Kueen in 2014 and the brand has been growing slowly. The outcome is exclusive silk scarves, kimonos, and other accessories. All designs are drawn by hand in pencil and ink and are always overloaded with extraordinary details and decorative elements that together build unique patterns. A year ago, I opened up my own showroom and studio in the middle of my birth town Lidköping, located in the Västergötland region — a true ’Queendom’ of colours, patterns, and stories.
For someone who hasn’t been to Västergötland, how’d you describe it?
— Västergötland has it all! Magical forests, beautiful mini mountains, fairytale castles, cosy small towns, and Sweden’s biggest lake. What else do you need? Well, we don’t grow any wine. That is maybe the only thing we lack…
My favourite thing that makes me proud of Västergötland:
— How easy it is to enjoy nature. Just stop and go right out. Don’t forget your coffee thermos though.
My favourite weekend routine:
— Long breakfast at home — at least 4 cups of coffee. Then heading off to my studio and showroom in the middle of my town. Lidköping is that kind of small town that still has a vivid and big square where there are a lot of things going on, especially on Saturdays. People almost pilgrimage their way into the city centre and buy everything from flowers to local cheese and handpicked chanterelles on the square. And of course, takes a ’fika’ in one of the town’s many cafés. If the weather then allows us we often try to do a sea kayaking tour in the archipelago of Vänern — if you don’t have your own you can rent one at Naven Outdoor experience — or an afternoon walk in the beautiful nature reserve Kinnekulle close by. Afterwards, I would probably end up having dinner with friends or a game night. We have Sweden’s best and biggest board game shop here in Lidköping, called Game Manics if you are into that. With that said, whatever we play — I win of course.
My favourite cultural spot:
— It must be Pustervik in Gothenburg. I have experienced my absolute best concerts there. In contrast to the big city life, I adore Rydenska Huset in Lundsbrunn, which offers music, art, good food, and amazing fika in a perfectly genuine and arty mix.
My favourite place for a creative or business meeting:
— Except for my own showroom and studio — I would go to NÄÄS fabriker any day. Amazing place with great service and perfect for creative meetings. And the bread they make… to die for!
My favourite breakfast place:
— I hardly ever fit to eat breakfast anywhere but at home, alone, but if I had to, my favourite place for that would be Café på Klostret in Blomberg Kinnekulle. In the countryside, robust, and dimmed lightning. And, of course, great coffee.
My favourite place for dining out:
— Mellbygatans, a local restaurant in Lidköping serving a little bit like our own living room. Great food, beer, wine, and amazing staff — everything you need. Don’t miss out on the best tartar in your lifetime!
My favourite excursion:
— Läckö Slott. I have been there a thousand times and will go a thousand more. An amazing and magical place at any time of the year and a great inspiration for pattern design as well — all those wall fresks will make you go crazy.
My favourite local entrepreneur or creative I want to promote:
— We have so many amazing creatives around in Västergötland and locally in Lidköping. I would like to promote an amazing local beer brewery Bustad. Located in a rough industrial part of Lidköping, they have created an amazing Biergarten with a wide range of beer brewed on the spot. Simple bar food served with love. Bold and awesome to start a brewery in a mini-town like this one. But it works! I also would like to promote Anna Wennerstrand who is a very talented ceramic artist and has her own atelier by the lake Hornborgar. She has made my absolute favourite ceramic piece, an 80-centimeter-tall eagle urn. I wish to be buried in it, it is so cool.
— Keep co in Vara. Great service and nicely hand-picked brands by the owner Jessica. A modern boutique with the old ways of knowing exactly what your customers love and bought the last time. Totally skilled and humble! And also the secondhand store Agape in Lidkoping — all my best dresses come from that place.