Neal Beckstedt: Copenhagen & Stockholm

Interior designer Neal Beckstedt grew up on a farm in Ohio, where he found inspiration in the stark beauty of his surroundings, from the silhouette of silos to the simplicity of post and beam barns. Currently based in Manhattan, Beckstedt is known for creating restrained, yet warm spaces, and his love of clean lines and natural materials continues to infuse his work today.


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Interior Designer: Neal Beckstedt

Just back from Scandinavia: Beckstedt recently traveled to Copenhagen and Stockholm and spoke to ASPIRE Metro about his trip.

ROUTE: I spent five days in Copenhagen and three days in Stockholm, with a brief visit to The Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, which is housed in a midcentury modern country home outside of Copenhagen.

MISSION: To be inspired – and it was totally achieved. I’ve always wanted to visit these cities. For me, travel is a great mental break as well as a huge inspiration – it’s so beneficial to what I do. This trip was great. It involved a lot of shopping, and I was constantly sending pictures back to my team with ideas for our projects like, “we need to add this detail to a door” or “let’s do the floor like this.”

What do you like about Scandinavian design?
It’s very tactile, sensual and simple, but not so severe. It manages to be both comfortable and modern. Scandinavian design is also proportionally correct, practical and functional.

•Where did you stay in Copenhagen?
When I pick a hotel, design trumps everything. For this trip, I chose The Hotel Alexandra. It was brilliant, filled solely with midcentury vintage furniture. My room had Arne Jacobsen furniture and two egg chairs.

•Stockholm Hotel?
I stayed at the relatively new Miss Clara by Nobis. As a former girls’ school in a 1910 Art Nouveau building, the hotel was gorgeously renovated, capturing its rich history with a modern aesthetic. My room was compact, but one of the most comfortable rooms I have ever stayed in!

•Favorite shops in Copenhagen?
I went to both vintage and contemporary design shops. One of my favorites was Hay, which is like the Muji of Denmark. I also loved Le Klint for classic Danish lighting. Klassik is one of my favorite stores in Copenhagen for vintage and new Danish finds – it’s also where I found my pottery. Carl Hansen & Son has great iconic pieces. I found my new favorite task lamp at Bjarnhoff. I also enjoyed The Apartment. Finally, make time to stroll down Bredgade Street for all the antique shops and auction houses.

•Stockholm shops?
Sjostrom Antik has amazing Swedish vintage furniture. Lundgrens is great for finding Gustavian and other Swedish traditional antiques to mix with modern elements, and Studio DesignBoard has incredible rare, antiques.

•What was the design vibe like in Stockholm?
It was amazingly chic. I fell in love! It was like coming home to the motherland. Everyone was dressed impeccably – very crisp, very tailored – and a lot of people were wearing black and white.

•Favorite things you bought?
I’m obsessed with pottery and found three midcentury Danish pieces. I also bought a pair of white leather sneakers in Stockholm, which was the hot thing to wear there. People are literally stopping me in New York to ask me where I bought them.

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