You may not be familiar with Erna Walsh but if you’re an Australian furniture aficionado or a local Melbournian you’d undoubtedly know the work of her company KFive+Kinnarps.
From filling the futuristic angled Melbourne Convention Centre with mid-century inspired seating or infusing a little comforting Scandinavian elements into the Royal Children’s Hospital (Melbourne), she’s carved a reputation for creating products and furniture that elevates the way people live.
Like many creatives, Walsh takes inspiration from her travels, especially when based in her second home in Stockholm. Here she shares her favourite routines, restaurants and non-negotiables when on the road…
My life in Melbourne is very fast paced…
I’m constantly working, which often means I’m not on holidays until I’m literally on holidays.
To get some peace and quiet, I escape the city and head to my holiday home on the Victorian coastline (3 hours outside of Melbourne). It’s a good opportunity to switch off my emails and enjoy a night by the open fire.
I visit Sweden every year in February to attend the Stockholm Furniture and Lighting Fair. It’s always a whirlwind of furniture, friends and food.
Some of my favourite spots include.
It’s always difficult to explore a city when you’re there for work but I try my best to do both. When we’re in the midst of the craziness of the furniture fair, our hotel At Six serves as a beautiful breakfast spot.
The atmosphere of the dining room is stunning, and the breakfast spread pleases even our fussiest eater. Each morning my team would come together for breakfast and discuss the day ahead, and accompanied by beautiful food, these early mornings are a very happy memory.
Also, each room in the hotel featured a chair from our new brand Eikund.
When out and about, Pom and Flora is my tip for a delicious (all day!) breakfast. Their menu is interesting with unique and healthy combinations, featuring local organic ingredients. I also love the interior which was designed by Emma Olbers who is the creative mind behind some of our furniture pieces.
During the fair, we end up eating on the run most days, which isn’t my preference but sometimes has to be done.
However I was exploring the city one day and wandered into an attractive corner store – Kaffeverket in Vasastan. I enjoyed a quiet coffee and warm salad surrounded by stylish locals. It was a memorable moment of calm sandwiched between the madness of the fair.
We were lucky enough to secure a table at one of Stockholm’s most popular restaurants: Adam/Albin in Östermalm. Specialising in contemporary Swedish cuisine, the ambience, decor and music set the stage for an extraordinary food experience. Their five course degustation features unexpected combinations and watching Adam and Albin cooking in the open kitchen added some magic to the experience.
Gondolen has the most spectacular views of Stockholm, as the restaurant is suspended high above the entrance of Stockholm’s port. The restaurant has a very popular cocktail lounge is was the perfect spot for a drink after a long day exploring.
When in Stockholm…
I tend to avoid public transport in favour of walking as this is the best way to discover the city. The neighbourhood of Sodermalm (or Sofo) is definitely one of my favourite areas to get lost in. It is packed with interesting, cool and creative shops specializing in clothing and design. It’s a must to swing past APLACE for a curated taste of contemporary Scandinavian fashion.
The street Krukmakargatan has an amazing collection of high-end local retailers including Uniforms for the Dedicated, Our Legacy and Nitty Gritty, and for print lovers it is also the location of Papercut an independent retail store selling a unique selection of magazines and books.
Drop into Fabrique for your afternoon Fika (the traditional Swedish combination of coffee and cinnamon bun), before heading to the photography museum Fotografiska located by the water.
When I’m at home in Melbourne I highly recommend friends go to…
Alimentari on Smith Street is my favourite local eatery. It‘s atmosphere reflects a refined Collingwood and their menu has something for everyone, including excellent coffee. I particularly enjoy their famous daily salad offering; a great lunch option when I’m on the run. For those with more time, the sit down menu offers a more refined selection of dishes… you can’t go wrong, everything is delicious.
Transformer in Fitzroy is one of my favourites. It’s a stunning modern vegetarian dining experience which will win over the heart of any meat lover. The decor and lighting create an intimate feeling in an old building, and the hard industrial look is softened by the abundance of plants. It’s one place I recommend to all my friends, vegetarian or not.
Kisumé, Melbourne CBD
Situated in the heart of Melbourne’s design community on Flinders Lane, I am always tempted to pop into Kisumé after visiting a client’s studio. It is one of my favourite places to escape the bustling CBD. It embraces the contemporary dining experience, reflected in the service, interiors, and cuisine. Their menu offers up the best edamame I have ever eaten, and a sake menu to impress.
I’m not really a big drinker – but I love to sit at Marion in Fitzroy. They have a perfectly curated drinks list and a refined bar menu to match… Andrew McConnell continues to create some of my favourite spots in the city.
The most inspiring design-led hotel I’ve ever stayed in has to be…
It has to be Ham Yard Hotel in London. Designed by Kit Kemp, the hotel has inspiring, vibrant and playful interiors (and a beautiful atmosphere). It’s in a central location right on the doorstep to the city’s best restaurants. Once you find a good thing it’s hard to try anywhere else.
My travel uniform usually consists of…
I always prioritise my collection of Kara Baker clothes when refining my wardrobe for travelling.
I have been wearing her designs for the over 20 years – they are easy to pack and can be adapted to changing weather conditions (which is a regular struggle!). Most importantly, they make me feel fabulous wherever I am in the world.
After years of travelling, I think I have finally perfected my in-flight accompaniments…
For my hands, I pack an organic hand sanitiser from Simply Clean, and a hand cream from Odacité. For sleeping, I love my silk pillowcase, and I always make sure to pack plenty of silk handkerchiefs from LilySilk. I prefer herbal tea so I always make sure to have some liquorice & cinnamon from Pukka on hand. All this is packed into my lovely Louis Vuitton luggage bag, which I gifted to myself 15 years ago.
Books, movies or magazines?
I tend to opt for a good book or magazine when flying. I enjoy the Harvard Business Review because of the interesting and innovative articles. When I need to shut my eyes, I listen to a podcast or audio books. Right now I’m in the middle of GRIT by Angela Duckworth – a book I would highly recommend.
I’ve also recently downloaded the entire season of Chef’s Table which I’m addicted to, so that keeps me occupied!
My favourite holiday mood music is…
Any classical music, but particularly Beethoven.