The Scandinavian way: Austere c/o The Maidstone design store opens in East Hampton, New York
Nestled along the southern tine of the fork that is New York’s Long Island, the Hamptons are synonymous with a design aesthetic that is equal parts beachy, casual, and American – executed on a sliding scale from saltbox to McMansion. This summer brings a shot of Scandinavian cool to the East End with the debut of Austere c/o The Maidstone, a ’retail experience’ that is right at home inside the Scandi-inspired boutique hotel.
’Jenny Ljungberg [owner of c/o The Maidstone] has created a little oasis, where community, food and comfort come together,’ says fellow Stockholm native Fredrik Carlström, who founded Austere as a hybrid store, showroom, and event space in downtown Los Angeles in 2014. ’It is luxurious without being stiff, which is kind of the Scandinavian way. The first time I set foot in there I knew we had to do something together.’
That something looks back to the origins of the historic East Hampton property, a Greek revival structure constructed just before the Civil War and acquired by Ljungberg in 2008. ’For much of the 19th century, the building that now houses the hotel was used as a tannery, and first took in overnight guests while their saddles were being repaired, which if you think about it, is a really unique retail experience,’ says Carlström. ’We are trying to create new ways to experience design, so we feel we are continuing what started years ago.’
The design on offer at Austere c/o The Maidstone ranges from Alvar Aalto classics (Artek stools in Finnish birch wood, curvy Iittala vases made from mouth-blown glass) and iconic Louis Poulsen lighting, to contemporary pieces including Lars Hofsjö’s numbered tables made from Swedish rag rugs and monumental handmade candlesticks by Anki Gneib. Other crowd-pleasers include Fika coffee, Sockerbit candy, and an LED-studded swing designed by Alexander Lervik in collaboration with Finnish lighting company Saas Instruments. ’It’s a big favourite with kids,’ says Carlström of the glowing porch perch.
Guests that can manage to part ways with their Hästens beds and Røros Tweed blankets can borrow one of the hotel’s fleet of Austere-provided BikeID cycles, take a Point 65° kayak out for a test paddle, or enjoy the grounds, scattered with seating from Skargaarden. ’Most outdoor furniture is really ugly, but Skargaarden’s pieces live somewhere in between outdoor and indoor,’ says Carlström.
And take heed, pessimistic design enthusiasts, Austere c/o The Maidstone really has thought of everything: with rugged Stutterheim raincoats, even the dreaded rainy Hamptons weekend is no match for Swedish ingenuity.