GUIDE / GOTLAND

”Since the coast is protected and can’t be owned by anyone, you can basically walk around the entire island”

LUKAS DAHLÉN
On dramatic coasts and romantic farmlands
March 03, 2022

Based right north of Visby — the biggest city on the island of Gotland where the exquisite furniture line is produced locally — design brand Ringvide aims to create products that are not just practically useful but also designed with aesthetics in mind. 

— We speak about furniture that boasts a satisfying sound as you close the door or push back the drawer. Even those that offer their own special scent from the quality natural materials we use, says designer and co-founder Lukas Dahlén, adding,

— We craft our furniture not only to store items in but also in the hope that they will create and hold memories.

My favourite thing that makes me proud of Gotland: 

— The best thing with Gotland is definitely the coastline that has not been exploited by buildings. Since the coast is protected and can’t be owned by anyone, there are no villas covering the coastline and anyone can experience it. You can basically walk around the entire island — even if it would take a week or two.

My favourite weekend routine: 

— Me and my wife, Leila, never get tired of going to a coastal spot, bringing some food for outdoor cooking, and just hanging out with the kids. There is always something to do when you are close to the water, and the dramatic landscape often spurs the kids’ imagination to invent games and fantasies.

Photography: Lucas Günther / visitsweden.com

My favourite place for dining out:

— Just like Körsbärsgården creates a link between the art and people the restaurant and farm Lilla Bjers creates a link between what we have on the plate and the soil it comes from. By dining in an orangery surrounded by the farmlands you can literally see your food grow next to you. By focusing on the vegetables in cooperation with great chefs, Lilla Bjers really gives you more than a culinary experience, connecting the art of growing to the future. 

My favourite cultural spot:

— Almost as far south as you can get, you find a lovely gallery called Körsbärsgården. For 70 years the small villa has played a part as a hub for artists, but with its new owners Marita and Jon the spot has been developed into an art gallery, sculptural park, and working place for artists. Now opened up for visitors it creates a natural and inspirational link between the artworks and its audience. 

Körsbärsgården.

My favourite place for a creative or business meeting:

— To me, creativity does not really depend on an inspirational or beautiful environment so meetings are most likely held at our own carpentry and creative workshop. Here we can immediately turn a first idea or sketch into a model, later refined into a prototype and lastly a product ready for the market. The island is full of artisans specialized in their choice of material which makes me feel feeling anything is possible. 

My favourite breakfast place:

— When we want that little extra for breakfast we take a bike ride to the nearby Själsö bakery. Here we can enjoy great sandwiches and croissants all made on spot a couple of hours ago from locally grown and milled flour. And why not a swim in the small picturesque Själsö harbour to really wake up.

My favourite excursion:

— One of the island’s greatest advantages is all the magical spots for experiencing nature of all kinds. Savannah, desert, dramatic cliffs, romantic farmland, and long beaches can all be experienced on the island and quite often you are all alone doing so. Fishing herring in the sunset from the rauks and cliffs at Digerhuvud is certainly one of my favourite excursions during summer. And a trip to Häftingsklint in the autumn will most likely give you a nice look at some of the island’s sea eagles. 

My favourite local entrepreneur or creative I want to promote:

— Our dear friends and design colleagues have started a great boutique and showroom for their own designs that are locally crafted. The brand is called Manti Manti and is a great example of how design can lift traditional craft and help local small craftsmen to reach a new audience. The beautifully designed boutique in the middle of the medieval city of Visby is well worth a visit.

Manti Manti.

My favourite route for a run or walk: 

— Living close to the sea gives us the luxury to enjoy our runs along the coast in Brissund north of Visby. One day you go north and the other south. However you can do this anywhere on the island, and it is a great way of exploring new spots.

My favourite space for great design: 

Skulpturfabriken, northeast part of the island, is a shop and workshop that offers a great variety of designs, with a focus on the work of founder and designer Stina Lindholm. Local design in locally produced concrete.

My favourite hotel for a staycation: 

— I would recommend using the ”allemansrätt”, a Swedish institution giving anyone the right to put up a tent out in nature, with some regulations and rules. In this way, anyone can find a beautiful spot and wake up to the sound of the waves.

My favourite example of tech innovation in Gotland: 

— Hightech is meeting lowtech in the innovation Moving Floor, a slowly moving floor that helps to increase animal health and productivity and reduce costs for animal farms.

My favourite local media:

Horisont is a great local magazine that presents investigative journalism, in-depth articles, photo reports, and personal portraits, always with Gotland and Gotlanders as a starting point.

My favourite thing at home: 

— As a poor student I first saw them in the window of a second-hand furniture store. They had just the right curves, decorative simplicity, and functionality and I immediately fell for them. I walked by the window for weeks thinking ”yes!” each time they were displayed. But one day they were gone so I had to enter the boutique just to make sure. I came out with a pair of lovely unmarked Bauhaus chairs that still have a centre placement in our house.

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