The heart of Vasastan, Odenplan is much loved and full of meaning for anyone has spent significant time there over the years. Today the triangular space is going through a complete makeover and for now it resembles Ground Zero, but with the new entrance to the Metro station opening in early 2014 things are slowly starting to take shape.
We hope the new Odenplan will become a vibrant public space where people enjoy spending time rather than just an important local transport hub – it sounds scary but when it’s complete Stockholm-Odenplan will become the second-biggest station in the country.
Many concerned locals voiced their opinion against chopping down the old trees and some of the proposed plans such as an underground shopping centre. The trees are gone, but the shopping centre never came to fruition. There are still plenty of issues left to influence for the bystanders and at times noisy neighbours. Some of them have joined forces under the banner Odenplansgruppen, so we decided to ask them a few questions to help shed some light on the developments and their thoughts on it.
Interview with Odenplansgruppen
How do you feel about the ”new Odenplan” that slowly is taking shape?
We are positive to it becoming a lively square with a trading area and space designated for activities, markets and events. It’s excellent that the plans now include a café and a bicycle garage. And the pedestrian underpass underneath Odengatan, between the station and Åhléns is great.
We are a bit worried about the plans to allow free bicycle parking on the square, there could be a risk that it looks messy and that it will be hard to get through.
What was your vision for how Odenplan could have turned out?
Because of the space being taken away by cafés and the bicycle garage we would have liked to compensate for this by closing Upplandsgatan in front of the Gustav Vasa church. Here there is potential to establish a little pond and to plant some more trees than the handful that are in the plans today. A chance to develop a quiet corner for contemplation and more laid-back activities. But the hope for this project, dubbed ”Piazza Odenplan”, lives on.
How do you think the increased volume of traffic will affect the area?
Initially, the volume of traffic from Citybanan won’t really increase the number of commuters who come up onto the square. We are more worried about the effects from the suggestion of an expanded metro line between Liljeholmen and Mörby and if Roslagsbanan is taken to Odenplan, as well as proposals of more bus lines coming in from the suburbs.
The capacity of the street scene is limited, and so is the space underground. For a long time, we have wanted to see an investigation into how many commuters Odenplan can cope with, both over and underground. Unfortunately we haven’t seen anything of the sort yet.
What questions do you feel is imperative that you involve yourself in at this stage?
The planning of public transport concerning Odenplan, but apart from that to work towards Odenplan becoming the vibrant square we all want. To watch over everything from lighting, vegetation, aesthetic decoration, toilets, public seating, bicycle parking and so on. And we will continue to work towards a closure of Upplandsgatan in front of the Gustav Vasa church, to create the vision of “Piazza Odenplan”.
Eat, Drink, Shop, Indulge
A lot has changed around it since Tranan forst opened its doors in the 1930s, but one of Stockholm’s most popular eateris has stood the test of time by doing what it always does – proving delicious food and a buzzing atmosphere to customers that come from far and wide.
Although small in stature, Tranan makes up for it with its big persona and lively nature., and walking past on a Saturday night without dropping in for a drink is no easy task when the atmosphere creates such a magnetic pull. Owner MacDonald Lundgren lets us in more on what the symbol of Tranan on its local streets.
“We bring life and charm to Odenplan with a continually packed restaurant and bar with live bands and DJs downstairs. Odenplan can be quiet at times but we bring an edge. Residents and beyond come to us to eat well, party, and listen to music. Odenplan is growing and changing every day but one thing that will never change is Tranan and its legacy in the area.”
Opened in 1950, Intiman is summed up in the simplicity of its name – an intimate atmosphere where people can immerse themselves in music, theatre, and comedy. Through the years it has seen every theatre genre imaginable and is available to rent for any budding impresario that has a show to stage.
A much-loved bakery chain carefully scattered throughout Stockholm’s busier districts, Fabrique has trekked as far as London, where Swedes abroad can show the natives the best of Swedish baking.
It was only fitting that the bakery decided to open up shop in Odenplan. Marketing manager Charlotta Zetterström thinks Fabrique is a perfect match for this evolving area.
“We love being a part of the Odenplan scene. Fabrique has become a central meeting place for neighbours, and residents even show up in their pyjamas to buy their breakfast bread!
“We love that we’re part of a community like that. People here are very modern and appreciate what we have to offer, such as sourdough bread and more that we make with healthy and fresh ingredients. Instead of supermarkets, they count on us.”
Having started thea classic Swedish fashion brand that took its name from his surname, Claes-Göran Bondelid was looking for another line that would provide an outlet for his inestimable talents. Enter Claes-Göran Skor, a line of shoes that has tries to change the way people view style for your feet. Claes explains to us how his shoe store came to be.
“One day while I was walking down the street I found a store on Odengatan that was about to close. To be honest, the place didn’t look like much, but I felt something special in the area. I started to collect vintage furniture and renovated a lot, and soon enough the Claes-Göran store was born in Odenplan.
“Someone once told me it looks like an old gentleman’s club designed by someone on acid. I was born in Södermalm but I’ve found a home in Vasastan. I think it’s the perfect combination of all the malms of Stockholm – high, low and everything between. The between is the part that’s leaving this area through the subway to the suburbs.”
Designed by Gunnar Asplund, this amazing piece of architecture on the edge of Odenplan doesn’t need much of an introduction. Asplund’s rotunda became an instant landmark when the library opened its doors in 1928. There were many proposals to develop the surrounding area and eventually a plan by a German architect Heike Hanada was chosen. The architect’s idea was to revamp and extend the building with a high-rise glass structure, but it was put on hold due to the city’s other priorities and some negative feedback on the extent of the changes to the original plan. The library has more than two million volumes of books, as well as audio tapes, CDs, audio books, and two floors that contain the international library. It’s wall of knowledge is a picture spread.
In a city full of them, one would be forgiven for thinking that A Marchesan is just another average vintage shop, but this little gem is a store dedicated mainly to timeless suits and coats that Alexander Marchesan has handpicked to for his racks. Alexander has participated in national and international vintage fairs to build his stock, and the discerning buyer can alwys find something among his popular styles.
The store includes English, American and Italian clothing and also houses an amazing selection of hats and welted shoes of the highest quality. We spoke to him to learn more about why he chose Odengatan 74.
“Because we are a very specialized store, we have our customers spread all over the city (and the rest of the world). Therefore Odenplan fits well because it serves as a cultural hub in Stockholm. It’s a fairly neutral place, where most of the inhabitants pass sometime now and then, no matter where they are based.”
An iconic Stockholm eatery that needs no introduction. Despite a recent change of ownership, Tennstopet has maintained the sense of style and class, as well as the classic menu, that made it a landmark almost as big as Stadsbiblioteket on the dining scene around Odenplan. Knowing better than to change a winning concept just fo r thte sake of it, the youthful new owners are keeping the best of Tennstopet’s traditions intact.
“We were one of the first pubs in Sweden,” says Anders Malmberg, manager at Tennstopet. “We put a stamp on the area, so it would be wrong for us to be anywhere else. This area possesses a classic Swedish feel and so do we.
“We compliment each other well. Our clientele is constantly changing here too, which keeps things fresh. Back in the day you’d only see older businessmen here, but now we have a lot of women regulars and young professionals. The area is evolving as we evolve with it.”
Tucked away on a little side street, this theatre is a bit of a hidden gem, small in scale but with a lot of heart. The Olympia mixes theatre and music and aims to provide a platform for independent theatre and opera groups. They see themselves as a reinvention of the typical traditional theatre companies that have staged productions in Vasastan for centuries.
Barbro Ögren, producer at Olympia, explains the connection of theatre life in the area. “Odenplan is pretty much the most theatre-lead area in the city. It’s a melting pot really with so many different things to offer – the new subway station, international residents, cafes, bars, restaurants and theatres. We’ve built up a network between the theatres here so it’s created a bit of a theatre community in Odenplan and we all hope to contribute to the magic of culture here.”
The advent of an upscale shopping experience in the shape of Keen meanas that few local residents lament the passing of the laundromat that previously stood on the same site. The style of the clothing store is very simple but effective. Stocking designers from Blake Copenhagen to Petar Petrov and Reschia, it exudes its own special style. Owner Michaela Wallerström tells us more about Keen’s role at Odenplan.
“After living in Vasastan for about 17 years, I found myself reluctant to stray out of the Odenplan area. Traditional old restaurants and shops are intermingled with more modern and trendy variations which makes it a vibrant neighborhood.
“My ambition with Keen is to be an integral part of local life in the area. You should not have to go down to the city centre to be able to find the best of Swedish and foreign designers, it already exists in your neighbourhood – carefully selected, at Keen.”
Öl & Vin Magasinet
Owned by the father and son pairing of Robert and Daniel Seaton, there is a special feeling when you step inside of this Beer and Wine glass store. Magasinet sells everything you can think of that is related to beer and wine – from brandy glasses to swords you can use to open your champagne bottles. I was lucky enough to get a private lesson on how to open a Champagne bottle with a sword and the bottom of a wine glass, without a scratch, and it’s a skill I plan to wow people with at the next party I host! That’s the kind of treatment you get in a place like this – special and personal. The duo also offer classes that show the importance of different types of glasses, and Daniel told me a bit more about what he loved about the Odenplan store.
“We love this area. There are a lot of specialty stores here. I think the residents appreciate that they have stores they can go to that really are knowledgeable about the service they provide. That’s the beauty of small stores like ours and we think we’re in good company here. We try to create a personal relationship with everyone that comes in here and I think Odenplan is a more personable area.”
A French bakery that does just about everything you can think of – breads, pastries, pies, muffins, the list goes on. They follow a very special French baking technique and just about everything that Gateau displays looks like it’s a little piece of heaven. They even sell some baking favourites and guilty pleasures – coffee, chocolates, macaroons, and nuts.
In layman’s terms, Gateau is a store where you can’t find a single thing you don’t like, unless of course you don’t like amazing things. Isabella, manager of Gateau Odenplan, talked to us a bit more about this store and its location.
“It’s a family atmosphere in Odenplan and we match it in our bakery. We want to make it seem like you’re in our own living room. Residents of the area have become our regulars and we know they enjoy the homey feel we have created, and of course our special treats and baking!”
Christina Ohrazda, Moved to Odenplan this year
“I grew up in Uppsala, so it was a big change to move to Stockholm for me. I love the area because it’s up an upper-class area and very family oriented. It’s a perfect place to raise my son because it can be hard in a city. You’re in central Stockholm but it still gives you the suburban feel. There are parks close by and it’s a beautiful area to walk around. It’s also close to transportation to get out of the area – it’s so easy to go visit my parents, which is really nice. I can still be a part of that city life with a lot of things to do but still live a bit of a calmer lifestyle.”
Lance Ohrazda, originally from San Diego, California, moved to Odenplan this year.
“I really like this area. There are tons of theatres. We have options from improv to musicals. There are also really affordable places here for everything too – food, drinks, shopping etcetera, which you don’t find as much in other parts of the city. One of the best things is that there a million different things you can do just on one block. You can do happy hour, eat at a high-class restaurant, see a show, grab a coffee, or shop all on the same street. It also has some of the best schools in Stockholm. I feel really great about sending my kid to the schools here.”