Stockholm: Taking Time to Unplug

by Ari Takata-Vasquez


I just returned from 7 days in Stockholm, Sweden and am feeling refreshed. In the words of Barack Obama, I'm fired up, ready to go! This is my first real vacation in two years and I had a great time! Stockholm is an amazing city; it's super walkable, everything is well designed, and best of all EVERYONE WEARS GREYSCALE! I couldn't believe it, it was like Viscera- the City. During this trip, I gave myself permission to be fully off. I put on my email out of office, didn't check email (okay, I checked it once or twice), and relaxed. I came back from my vacation with a notebook full of inspiration and ideas and a new found appreciation for Oakland. 

 Getting Inspired

First of all, Stockholm design is amazing. Even little things in this city seem to be so deliberate. They love indoor plants and being that the winter is pretty intense (we lucked out and enjoyed some unseasonably warm weather, a cozy 28 degrees), so I can see why. I was amazed at the number of storefronts dedicated to design studios, they take it pretty seriously. 

As a designer, it was so nice to see aesthetics so valued. Oddly enough Stockholm, as a city, is quite fond of New York. Many of the shops and restaurants really were going for the Brooklyn vibe, evident by the number of Edison bulbs present. 
Just Wandering 
I know I've said this too many times, but really I don't leave Oakland. I love Oakland, so much why leave, right? But I have to admit it was nice to explore a new city. Most of the trip was spent just walking around aimlessly, stopping to eat, taking photos, and just taking in the city. Geographically, it's a very small city, you can walk across it in about 45 minutes, and I did just that. 
Field Notes
There were some things about Stockholm that I realized were quite different than Oakland, so here's a quick round-up of some things we noticed:
  • Everyone has babies! I swear, there were a million strollers, and they all had cute little burrito style pouches to keep the kiddos warm. 
  • People really keep to themselves. This isn't to say they're unfriendly because they aren't but they take a while to warm up. It reminded me how much I love people in Oakland for their outgoing nature. 
  • Graffiti was also different there. It existed on the sides of construction sites or blank facades. The style was also pretty different from what we see here. 
  • The sense of humor here is a little different. I really enjoyed this sushi restaurant's signs. There were also a number of amazing puns on menus.