Street Style: Aspudden

| Words: Gulla Hermannsdottir

aspuddenstreet

The beautiful turn-of-the-century Art Nouveau quarter of Aspudden can be seen as yet another suburban offshoot of Södermalm, where SoFo bohos go when they hit thirty and start reproducing. Together with neighbouring areas of Midsommarkransen and Telefonplan, Aspudden forms a Hägersten hipster triangle, fulfilling the requirements of a close proximity to Hornstull and a large demographic of artists, actors, dancers, and other performers of the creative persuasion. If the quality of life in Aspudden is Stockholm’s best-kept suburban secret, it won’t stay that way for long.

Vinterviken: From dynamite to horticulture

Situated by Lake Mälaren, Vinterviken is the crown jewel of Aspudden. The name dates as far back as the 17th century and comes from a road that lead through the area and onwards to Hornstull,which was used during wintertime when the lake turned to ice.

In 1865, Alfred Nobel purchased the land to use for his dynamite production. The area was chosen for its narrow valley surrounded by mountains and direct access to the lake for transportation purposes. The venture was not without its tragedies: In 1868 a large explosion caused the death of 14 workers. The lessons clearly weren’t learned and another explosion in 1874 claimed a further 12 lives. The factory production was moved from Vinterviken at the end of the 19th century.

Today, one of the old factory buildings houses the restaurant Winterviken, run by Markus Aujalay, one of Sweden’s most respected chefs. Ownership of the areas has since transferred to the City of Stockholm, and over the years it has developed into one of the most enjoyable spots to spend a summer afternoon. Allotments, gardens, painter’s studios, a very popular café, and of course the pleasant water perfect for a dip on a warm day pulls in Stockholmers in their droves.

 

Local businesses

Manhem Café & Deli
Vapengatan 2

aspudden_manhem

From the moment I’m greeted with the smell of freshly baked goods and the sounds of soulful tunes, tt’s clear that this is the neighbourhood meeting point. Every table in the small locale is occupied, mostly with parents in their 30s and their young offspring. Yet it is comfortably quiet and conveniently located at the very heart of the quarter.

Owner Maria Struck confirms my hunch when she tells me that her goal had been to create a cosy meeting point for Aspudden’s residents when she opened up five years ago. “There were no cafés in the area back then, just one old bakery. I’ve lived in Aspudden for 20 years and thought it would be fun to realize my dream of opening up my own café in my very own neighbourhood.”

“When I moved here it wasn’t nearly this trendy, and not as many young people. I think this is only the beginning and I’ve noticed since I opened up my place that other similar businesses have started to emerge. I think in a few years there’s going to be a lot more restaurants and shops here. Liljeholmen has been growing at a fast rate over the past years and there’s been talk of creating a boulevard between Liljeholmen and Aspudden, which will make things more lively and busy here for sure.”

 

Klingborn & Co.
Hägerstensvägen 125

aspudden_klingborn

The latest newcomer to rapidly-developing Aspudden is Johanna Klingborn, a certified sommelier who always had aspirations of one day opening up her own place. Like many people running companies in the area, Johanna lives in Aspudden so it felt natural to establish her café here. “I started with serving home-baked bread, my famous home-made falafel, and my own cinnamon rolls. Along with the food came a large variety of low-alcohol beer and quality coffee from local roasteries.”

In fact, it seems like coffee plays a big role in shaping the character of this place: There’s a large antique coffee grinder by the front door, shelves are filled with paper bags containing coffee beans and blends, and even the cushions and pillows are made from coffee canvas bags.

“Aspudden has gone from kind of shabby to trendy, but you still have the small town feeling here with a good mix of friendly people.”

Aspudden bokhandel
Hägerstensvägen 130

aspuddenbokhandel

A couple of years ago, Rasmus Redemo and Oskar Söderlind took a gamble by opening up a small independent book store and thanks to a recent resurgence of local businesses and the affluence of the Aspudden area, their venture paid off. The two childhood friends were no strangers to the world of literature – they started running the small publishing company TankeKraft — specializing in political and philosophical titles — about a decade ago while still students, and throughout the years kept building on their experience and interest until Aspudden bokhandel was born.

“We both live in the area and had a small office in Aspudden, and eventually we started thinking how nice it would be to have a place that both worked as an office as well as a social space,” says Oskar. “We never planned on taking it this far, but the idea just kept on evolving, one thing lead to another, and here we are all these years later with a store and a café. We figured, if we were going to open up a store, we might as well add a café to create an atmosphere that makes people want to hang around for a while. And the location couldn’t be more perfect for us. We’re close to the water and nature, yet five minutes away from Södermalm, and Aspudden’s population of creative thirtysomethings with money and education fits really well with our concept.”

In addition to a small menu and a great selection of books, the shop has weekly author nights with talks and debates by local writers. “Little shops like this, with events and good coffee and sandwiches on the side, are being more and more noticeable all over Europe and in major cities in the States. Adlibris sales actually dropped last year, and it just feels like people are wanting to go back to a physical shop and personal service.”

 

True Tattoo
Hägerstensvägen 145

true tattoo

This tattoo studio dates back to the early 70s, but the locale is nearly a century old and used to be a part of the Philadelphia church. In addition to housing one of the oldest tattoo parlours in the city, there’s also a small shop on the premises, selling dotted dresses, stripy shirts and kitschy knick-knacks with a rockabilly feel.

“The founder of the studio opened it up here since he lived in Aspudden at the time, and it’s just a coincidence that I’m from Hägersten myself so I feel very much at home in this area,” says one of the tattoo artists, Karin Siversen. “Aspudden feels like its own little town, with many small businesses, beautiful old houses, and people in motion. It’s definitely a plus how close it is to town, but at the same time it’s also close to nature which is a great combination. It really feels like the people who live here like to be in the area and not just sleep here.”

Straight from the locals

aspudden_locals

Mimmi Gunnarsson
Professional Lindy-hopper
Has lived in Aspudden for three and a half years

“This seemed like a nice neighbourhood not far away from Söder, where I work and spend most of my time. Aspudden is a fun area that is constantly growing and evolving. What makes it special is all the beautiful old buildings and their placement along Hägerstensvägen, which reminds me of a small town. Since I moved here, a few more cafés and shops have opened up and more and more friends are moving this way. My favourite thing about Aspudden is Vinterviken. A ten-minute walk and you can swim!”

Sakarias Larsson
Professional Lindy-hopper
Has lived in Aspudden for three and a half years

“We were looking for apartments anywhere south of the city and were really lucky to get this one before the prices became shocking. There are mostly young people with babies and middle-aged people living here, and a few old-timers still hanging in there. What’s great is the walking distance from Vinterviken – a place to hang out when you want to get away from it all.

Everyone says Aspudden is fantastic; I would say it’s nice but not fantastic. There’s still quite a lot of traffic on the main road and there’s not that much of a community or party feel. Mostly there are people with babies and trolleys. I would love to see a lot more nice places to eat and at least one bar with some action.”

John-Paul Bichard
Artist, co-runner of burlesque club ‘Fräulein Frauke Presents’ and organizer of the International Stockholm Burlesque Festival
Has lived in Aspudden for three and a half years

“Aspudden is a quiet suburb with some real gems, like quirky architecture, a city farm, and a close proximity to the amazing landscape around Vinterviken. The biggest change over the time I have lived here has been the development of the new housing projects – from a run down industrial area surrounded by building sites to a fresh, well designed housing area. The influx of new families has meant an improvement in local facilities: existing supermarkets have been upgraded and a new park built – small changes that make a big difference. The only negative thing that comes to mind is the increase in cars. It’s very difficult to find a parking space around here and it seems to be getting worse.

My absolute favourite thing about the area is Vinterviken, with its dramatic granite cliffs, Nobel’s test facilities, and parks and walks. It’s a wonderful place to escape the pressures of the world and experience a slice of nature as it changes through the seasons.”