New Austere showroom highlights Nordic designs

After years as a marketing consultant, Fredrik Carlstrom has branched out and opened Austere, a scrupulously curated showroom devoted to Scandinavian design.

“Retail is not the sole focus,” Carlstrom said during a recent tour of Austere, which opens in downtown Los Angeles today. “I thought, ‘Why not combine a showroom with retail and events? It’s a very holistic way of looking at things. It feels super modern.”

Located just a block from the Ace Hotel and Acne Studios, the new 5,000-square-foot showroom features classic examples of contemporary Scandinavian design -– Louis Poulsen pendant lamps, Arne Jacobsen Ant chairs, Alvar Aalto stacking tables -- along with contemporary bikes by BIKEID, an ottoman made with airbag material by Marie-Louise Hellgren and Hasselblad cameras.

Also installed prominently in the showroom: a Volvo SUV that will be available for test drives and an LED swing that illuminates next to a full kitchen. There will also be a rotating gallery devoted to local artists that Carlstrom said would express the narrative behind Austere: that well-designed things make life easier. “It’s about design as social change,” he said.


Carlstrom plans to hold events at Austere and said it will soon host two chairs for Stockholm’s Roy & Son barbershop. “I’m excited to be in downtown Los Angeles,” he said. “I want to be a part of the community.”

Austere, 912 S. Hill St., Los Angeles. 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday; 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday.