Dubai: With a passion for Scandinavian interiors and contemporary design, Swedish expat, Lars Narfeldt, is bringing a touch of home to Dubai with his interiors store, D.tales.
As an admirer of minimalism and pared-back design, I’m delighted to talk to Lars about D.tales and his unusual journey to becoming a purveyor of contemporary design through his amazing retail offering in Dubai.
In an unlikely road for a design aficionado, Swedish native, Lars Narfeldt, was a UN peacekeeper in war zones across Africa and Afghanistan before settling in Dubai to pursue his dream of bringing Scandinavian design to the Middle East.
And now, as Dubai’s design and creative industries fast expand and mature, supported by the launch of the likes of Dubai Design Week, Lars’ well-established concept store, D.tales, is a magnet for the city’s growing admirers of minimalism and beautiful design.
Lars says: “D.tales had been an idea of mine since as long as I can remember. When we settled in Dubai, I couldn’t find the designer pieces I wanted so that’s when I decided to finally get the shop off the ground.”
D.tales focuses primarily on Scandinavian design, with complimentary pieces from like-minded international designers. Among the sofas from Arne Jacobsen and lights from Verner Panton, you will find tables by Fadi Sarieddine and products from Samer Al Ameen, Rabih Ghanem, as well as the Palm series by UAE designer, Khaled Shafar.
Of his design choices, Lars says: “Besides the obvious facts that I am Scandinavian and this is the style I like…there are two quotes that sum up Scandinavian design for me; ‘Don’t make something unless is it both necessary and useful but if it is both necessary and useful don’t hesitate to make it beautiful’ together with ‘minimalism is not a lack of something. It’s simply the perfect amount of something’.”
‘minimalism is not a lack of something. It’s simply the perfect amount of something’
D:tales is designed as a typical Scandinavian concept store, with concrete flooring, open, exposed ceilings and wall cladding that is made of the beveled zinc sheets used for rooftops in Stockholm, Oslo and Copenhagen.
“Many of our customers says that it feels like stepping out of Dubai and into a shop in Stockholm, which is exactly what we were aiming for,” Lars comments.
“A concept store in Dubai is a bit of a new thing and some of our customers initially had a hard time understanding what they get; a furniture store selling bicycles, designer clothes, watches, wallpaper and even books. But after the initial surprise wears off most customers welcome the new initiative and keep coming back for more surprises and inspiration.”
D:tales also offers customers a hands-on journey through contemporary design history, stocking many classics that have remain unchanged more than 50 years after first being produced.
Lars says: “Take the String Shelf as an example; originally made by Swedish Architect Nisse Strinning in 1949, it is still in production in its original set up. More or less everything in the store has a story, a history, which is the reason for our name D.tales – because every design has a tale to tell.
“I think that once you know the story behind the product it will become more valuable to you as a customer and you will also take better care of it. I could spend hours talking you through the different products, from the Mayor Sofa by Arne Jacobsen designed back in 1933 to the Sitta Ribb stool by Martin Bjornsson that looks rather uncomfortable at first sight but always surprises our customers when they try it out!”
All photography by Sandra Tinari