PUBLISHED : Sunday, 14 September, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 14 September, 2008, 12:00am

Since the 1980s, design groupies around the world have embraced Swedish modern. Stark and clean styles rule, but the country that conquered the world with Ikea has a new array of designers flirting with ways to liven up the familiar Swedish design template of blond wood and brisk functionality.

Keep ahead of trends before they even leave Sweden by visiting Konsthantverkarna (4 Sodermalmstorg, tel: 46 8 611 0370). Formed in 1951, and regularly exhibiting glass, ceramics, jewellery and leather pieces, this craftsman's co-operative is one of the best places to spot fads.

For more hand-made works, try boutique and gallery Blas & Knada (26 Hornsgatan, tel: 46 8 642 7767; Curvy lamps in soft pink are saved from being too cute by sharply edged shades, giving them an almost surreal dimension. Prices are available on application.

The crammed shelves of Garage (below; 12 Bondegatan, tel: 46 8 462 0500; are also worth a look. The shop is famed for pinpointing movements in design. Its ceiling light (500 krona/HK$605), made of 69 white plastic cards, would add a futuristic touch to your living room, as would the 1940s poppy red or white chairs in fibreglass (2,200 krona).

You'll find more ceramics at K2 Keramik (50 Sodermannagatan, tel: 46 8 644 2304). Its coffee set (499 krona) is almost art deco in its glamorous curves. Another classy addition for the kitchen is the white vase scattered with painted-on branches and a mint-green butterfly (below; 350 krona).

If your time in Stockholm is limited, its many department stores can always be relied upon. Ahlens (50 Klarabergsgatan, tel: 46 8 676 6000) has a range of cushions garnished with bicycles, trees and, for literary types, letters (175 krona). Also original is the outstretched china hand in red and black (95 krona): a gothic hanger for your cups.