Lee Mindel was the brave inaugural subject of our "Off-Site" department. One year later, his well-worn passport sports nine new stamps.
Mark McMenamin -- Interior Design, 4/1/2009 12:00:00 AM
Zaha Hadid Architects's addition to the Odrupgaard museum in Charlotttenlund, Denmark.
Dansk Møbelkunst’s Dorte Slot and Lee Mindel posing at the gallery with a Peter Irgus Hansen dresser.
The Tallink Silja cruise ship.
Asplund’s Stockholm Public Library.
Porcelain at a shop in Gustavsberg.
Dansk Møbelkunst owner Ole Høstbo and Mindel on Eero Aarnio’s Pony chairs at the latter’s lakeside house near Helsinki.
Photography by Lee Mindel.
Lee Mindel was the brave inaugural subject of our “Off-Site” department. One year later, his well-worn passport sports nine new stamps—and that doesn’t take into account domestic trips including the presidential inauguration. Clearly, the Interior Design Hall of Fame member is ready for his follow-up. On this outing, we focus on his 10-day survey of Scandinavia. “Denmark is Germanic and ordered. Sweden is neoclassical and romantic. Finland was never a world power, always a pawn, so their god is nature, not power,” Mindel says. Always the insider, he was steered at each stop by local connoisseurs.
In Copenhagen, he was guided by Dansk Møbelkunst gallery founder Ole Høstbo through Finn Juhl’s home at Ordrupgaard and the museum’s wing by Zaha Hadid Architects. The two also toured the Danish Museum of Art & Design and the Tivoli Gardens and fueled up at Arne Jacobsen’s gas station.
Escort duties in Stockholm fell to the Jackson Design gallery’s Paul Jackson, who led Mindel to the National Museum, the Svenskt Tenn furnishings store, the Gio Ponti–designed Italian embassy, and, most memorable, the Woodland Cemetery, where Greta Garbo rests. “I learned more about life than death,” Mindel recalls. “Man is completely equalized, and what looms over you is the miracle of nature.”
After cutting up the dance floor on a casino cruise to Helsinki, Finland, he met up with Aero Design Furniture owner Juhani Lemmetti. They devoured the past, from Alvar Aalto’s Academic Bookstore to Eero Saarinen’s railway station before dining—on reindeer with beets—at the home of 77-year-old Eero Aarnio. How was dinner with a living legend? “The idea of eating Rudolph nearly killed me,” Mindel says with a shudder. Sometimes sentiment trumps savoir faire.
Lee Mindel's Top 5 in Scandinavia
1. Louisiana Museum of Modern Art in Humlebæk, Denmark.
2. Arne Jacobsen's gas station in Copenhagen.
3. Woodland Cemetery in Stockholm.
4. Stockholm Public Library.
5. Academic Bookstore in Helsinki, Finland.