Nordic Christmas Rooms Open at American Swedish Institute

The museum has added a Minnesota room full of locally-made home goods to its annual “Christmas by Design” installation, showcasing the holiday traditions of Nordic countries.

With winter coming to Minnesota–and much of the rest of the country–early this year, the opening of American Swedish Institute’s Christmas rooms this week is particularly timely. Dubbed Christmas by Design, the rooms each celebrate the holiday traditions of the five Nordic countries–Sweden, Norway, Iceland, Denmark, and Finland in the historic setting of the institute’s Turnblad Mansion, built just before the turn of the 20th century.

A new addition this year is the “Minnesota Room,” which is filled with Nordic-inspired, Minnesota-made holiday dining decor curated by Blu Dot, Forage Modern Workshop, and the Foundry Home Goods. The room has the feel of contemporary Swedish design, with its emphasis on light and architectural elements, while eschewing the traditional holiday red-and-green color scheme for touches of brass and copper alongside porcelain and glass. Featured items include Blu Dot’s “Real Good” copper chairs, a “Dotted Lines” pendant lamp made from laser-cut aluminum by Minnesota maker Tandem Made, handmade ceramics by Marnette Doyle and Ginny Sims, Peter Sowinski’s handmade wooden cutting boards, linens by väva! veve!, and a wood dining room table by Eastvold Furniture. (See below for online links and where-to-buy.)

Another Christmas room highlight is Swedish glass artist Ingalena Klenell’s hand-blown glass table setting installation in the “Swedish Room,” which visually tells the story of a conceptual dinner party. Other room artists include Arne Jacobsen (Denmark), Aino-Maija Metsola, Harri Koskinen, and Alvar Aalto (Finland); Porsgrund Porselen and Hadeland Glassverk (Norway); and Hansína Jensdóttir, Dýrfinna Torfadóttir, Lára Samúelsdóttir, Hekla ĺslandi (Iceland).

Some of the artists, including väva! veve!, will be participating in the institute’s Julmarknad, a European-inspired Christmas market, on December 6 and 7, featuring 25 local vendors, live music, a bonfire, live music, family crafts, food, and the chance to tour the exhibits as well as shop the institute’s Jul Shop, a gift shop full of great stocking stuffers, “Saturday candy,” and other seasonal goods, which is open daily through January 11 during museum hours. Visit for more information.

Blu Dot “Real Good” copper chairs, $299 @; Tandem Made “Dotted Lines” aluminum tandem lamp: $550 in-store @ Forage Modern Workshop, 4023 E. Lake St., Mpls., 612-886-3603 &; brushed gold cake server, $29, @ the Foundry Home Goods, 125 N. 1st St., Mpls., 612-333-8484 &

Marnette Doyle ceramic plates, Ginny Sims ceramic bowls and pitcher, väva! veve! table runner and napkins, and Peter Sowinski wooden cutting boards, all available in-store @ the Foundry Home Goods; Eastvold Furniture wood table (custom) and Tandem Made Dotted Lines Aluminum Accent Bowl, $85, available in-store @ Forage Modern Workshop.

[Photos courtesy American Swedish Institute]