Spiraling high above the boulder-strewn landscape of west Sweden, lens pointed straight down at about 1,100 feet up, my eyes begin to warp into the perspective of a circling raptor, always hungry and hunting. The gray rock is flecked with black grains and lichen, weathered into soft, pillowy forms that could almost be thick bubbles of an amorphous mold, simmering on a kettle of blueish green water.
The area is clearly inhabited but with a light touch, as if the residents understood the aesthetics of a flat lay and conformed their surroundings to the undeniable pull of minimalism.
Dots of fire-engine red, brick and white colors define the outward expression of humanity on the landscape beneath my gaze until it alights on a unique inlet, seemingly designed for an air car in hot pursuit of an upward draft along the rounded granite flanking a micro-fjord that feeds into the open ocean on one side, beckoning with a salt filled breeze, and up towards a bright yellow square that is bolted to the side of an old fish crate manufacturing plant called Lådfabriken, which has been turned into a Scandinavian-style bed and breakfast in west Sweden.
The inspired owners and partners, Johan Buskqvist and Marcel van der Eng, hail from Sweden and Holland respectively and put the final touches on this oasis of coffee, warmth and friendship in the heart of one of the last untouched wilderness areas (Bohuslän) of northern Europe in May 2013.
The rooms are sassy, sexy and filled with items that the couple has collected over a lifetime of creatively dreaming about this space. Old advertising marquees, industrial fixtures, neon light tubes and even a pommel horse fill the bedrooms with the flavors of an Andy Warhol exhibit, lush with gradients and bold, bright color.
The Swedish Surroundings
The steady stream of visitors hasn’t let up, and it’s hard to imagine that it ever will. The location, just an hour from downtown Gothenburg and meters from some of the cleanest waters on earth, is absolutely pristine and resembles a less forested Pacific Northwest, with crisp, moisture-filled air, fresh seafood yanked straight from the ocean and a certain vibe, call it modern outdoors, that refreshes the soul.
The building and interior of Lådfabriken was the muse of Johan, and features meticulous detailing in concrete and steel. We couldn’t get enough of the little vignettes hidden on the shelf or stacked on a trolley.
We only stayed one night but bonded quite quickly with Johan, Marcel and Curro, the resident mushroom hunter and true ruler of this industrial castle.
Often our projects require such a brief snapshot of a place, person or puppy that it might seem bittersweet but it’s really not. Now we have a destination on a map that tucks into the northwestern side of West Sweden that we know will always be there, beckoning with a smile and promise of adventure.
Getting to Lådfabriken
To reach Lådfabriken, you’ll need a car, which you can pick up at Gothenburg-Landvetter airport once you fly in; from there, it’s an easy 100-kilometer drive, mostly on interstate, to Orust Island. It will take you about an hour and 20 minutes from the airport or right at an hour from the city center.
What It Costs
Lådfabriken is typically open from Easter (April) through the week after New Year’s in January. Rooms start at 1550 SEK ($190) in low season and go up to 2250 SEK ($276) in high season.
What to Pack
You’re going to want to take advantage of the setting and kayak and bike to your heart’s content (equipment available for complimentary use at the property), so be sure and pack athleisure and weather-proof gear.