By the late 1800s, almost everyone who was anyone knew about Harrods of London, the worlds most famous department stall – the most exclusive in the world. It was (and still is) considered a sign of high life, of richness and being one of the Jones’. It occupied 5 acres of space and has 330 departments. It held the record of the highest takings of any department stall in a day – 5.5 million pounds.
Harrods today, is not just a department stall, it has a bank, real estate and aviation company.
Then there were the French upmarket department stalls of Galeries Lafayette, Printemps and Le Bon Marche.
These stalls welcomed consumerism with open arms.
Stockholm was however not in the game. Wanting to get in the luxury department store market, Karl Ludvig Lundberg and Josef Sachs the owners of K.M Lundberg and Joseph Leja Companies merged their companies ion 1902 to form the Nordiska Kompaniet. A specially built department store was completed in 1915 and continues to stand in its present location more than a century later.
Nordiska Kompanient continues its objective of being the most exclusive department store in Sweden billing itlsef simply at The Great Department Store It currently has two stores, this one in Stockholm and a second one in Gothenberg. The former receives about 12 million customers in a year while the latter about 3 million.
Occupying 6 levels, the building elegantly straddles classy and tasteful without being opulent.
It stocks both Swedish and international brands and sells fashion, jewelry, cosmetics, crystals, ceramics, designs and fine foods among other things.
When an advertisement unabashedly combines Michelin Stars and famous fashion labels, and especially so in one of the most egalitarian societies in the world, its clear that the company is exclusive and clearly accepted to be so.
Proximity promotes similarity (see a couple of posts I wrote previously on spatial competition and agglomeration). The location of NK was based on the presence of the exclusive shopping district that has been in the area since 1885. NK is a 5 minute walk away from Bibliotekstan, Stockholm’s most exclusive shopping district since 1885.
Biliotekstan is bound in a triangled shape by the streets Norlandsgatan, Birger Jarlsgatan and Hamngatan. This is high fashion street with Swedish and International labels selling high end fashion and design products.
From popular female label Michael Kors,
to American hipster brand Urban Outfitters,
from Danish designer Malene Birger,
to Swedish label Whyred,
If there is one district in social democratic Sweden that symbolises good-looking consumerism, this is it.
ON THE MAP (Nordiska Kompaniet)
ON THE MAP (Bibliotekstan)