A small Swedish company, L:A Bruket is reviving the traditions of coastal spas
Article by Nicolas Payne-Baader
A Spa culture is something that is curiously absent in British culture; of course historically there have been spas, the Romans bringing a sophisticated culture of apodyteriums and frigidariums to the quite literally great unwashed of Britain in the first century BC. The town of Bath looks like a handy refutation to any claim of a lack of spa culture but apart from its Roman roots and Georgian heyday, the baths there have been much more for tourist’s photos than for soaking in – seemingly killed off by a Victorian aversion to nudity.
Contrast this to almost every other country in Northern Europe where saunas, public baths and spa towns are still relatively common and well visited. The residents of Hungary, Greece, Germany, and Denmark all consider going to a spa normal if not essential. One place especially well known for its spas is the town of Varberg on the coast of Sweden. An incredibly picturesque coastal town it is one of the best known traditional spa town in Scandanavia as well as being home to L:A Bruket.
Founded five years ago by ceramicist and Valberg native Monica Kylen, the brand started with her trying to find a natural soap that fitted with her line of homewares. Unable to do so she started looking into the practicalities of creating her own. Since that first exploration into soap L:A Bruket has started making natural and sustainable skin care products as well as soaps and shower gels mainly based on ingredients from the local area and basing their products on the traditional base of salt, water and seaweed. The seaweed is harvested every morning from the sea and left to dry in a process more or less unchanged since it was first discovered centuries ago. Paired back packaging, unusual combinations and a focus on sustainability underpin the ethos of the brand, creating something not dissimilar to a Swedish Aesop.
Complementing this ethos is also an ongoing collaboration with artists to make creative content, partnering and supporting artists and exhibiting their work in L:A Bruket’s flagship store in Stockholm. Currently, and perhaps unsurprisingly, exhibiting ceramics by Gothenberg based artist Hanna Järlehed Hyving it is an impressive commitment to having a brand which actually follows through on their professed principles.
The products themselves do also stand up to scrutiny, the shower gels are reassuringly fresh at £21 for a large bottle fairly reasonably priced for a product which doesn’t leave chemicals on your skin. Now moving more into facial products including beard oils and face serums, as well as their fantastic soap on a rope their products do make you wonder what we could have done if we’d taken a little more care over our spas.
Available from: L:A Bruket