by Richard Prime
A holiday tradition in Sweden, Stockholm's top colleges and design institutions put on annual fairs known as Julmarknad. The events pack booths full of interesting gifts, pieces of artwork, design pieces, fashion, jewelery and trinkets, posing a more artisinal alternative than a last minute dash around the mall.
Of the three major fairs, Konstfack is perhaps the largest. Stockholm's most famous school of art and design, the Telefonplan-based fair is housed in a unique space once owned by Ericsson. Last year the fair attracted giant, but patient (this is Stockholm we're talking about) queues, eager to snap up pieces from the current crop of students. Due to its size, finding that special something can be tricky yet all the more rewarding—especially if the student behind the piece finds fame in future years.
Not to be outdone yet smaller in size, Beckmans College of Design is more centrally-located than Konstfack. In addition to the quality items found at the fair, such as cutting-edge jewelery, the school's architectural structure itself warrants a visit with its clean lines and modernist layout.
Each year Stockholm's Design Gallery, located in Odenplan, invites a guest from the design world to curate a selection of gifts. Last year saw Swedish architect Eero Koivisto put on his Santa beard to fill the proverbial sack. This year they've invited Daniel Charney, curator of London's Aram Gallery. Expect to see a wide range of design items for even the most discerning tastes, with a great mix of Swedish designer pieces and others from around the world.
See more images of prospective items after the jump