Last week saw the design world take over the city of Stockholm to celebrate the return of the much-loved Stockholm Design Week and Stockholm Furniture Fair. ICON shares the latest news and inspiration
Photography by Jan Berg featuring Ung Svensk Form, Matilda Envall, The Story of a Dress as seen at Greenhouse, a platform for emerging designers at SFF
Words by Jessica-Christin Hametner
Back in full swing after a three-year hiatus, the long-awaited Stockholm Design Week (6 to 12 Feb) and Stockholm Furniture Fair (7 to 11 Feb) returned in full force last week, featuring a tsunami of ground-breaking design, interactive installations and immersive exhibitions to stimulate the senses.
The week-long celebrations ushered in a jam-packed programme of designer collaborations, exciting furniture launches and new design concepts, with a strong focus on togetherness, addressed through a variety of themes including community, habitation and upcycling.
From materials of the future to the furniture of tomorrow, read on for our top ten design highlights from Scandinavia’s most impactful brands, designers and show as we relive the atmosphere from this year’s sizzling edition.
Photography by Cornelia Wahlberg featuring designer Pia Wallén
1. Together by NK Interior
Examining how department stores shape global culture, NK Interior presented its annual Together design initiative and scholarship, displaying a range of exquisite glass objects created in collaboration with Reijmyre Glassworks.
Now in its second year, the exhibition will also be a central part of Made in Sweden, a collaborative project and exhibition celebrating the power and influence of Swedish design, with a focus on sustainability, quality materials, and local production.
This year’s design cohort included Lisa Hilland, contemporary designer Pia Wallén and Monica Förster, as well as visual artist Jonas Bohlin, fashion designer Maxjenny, Stockholm-based creative Anki Gneib, and the 2022 Together scholarship holder, Julie Amira.
Photography by Cornelia Wahlberg featuring this year’s group of designers
‘Together highlights the importance of how we can inspire and be inspired by each other and build a sense of community – something we need more than ever now,’ says Kadi Harjak, Owner and CEO of NK Interiors. ‘Our aim is to promote local and artisanal production and create exciting new collaborations between designers and the glassworks.’
‘While the international success of Swedish glass over the past century is naturally based on skilled craftsmanship, it is also thanks to the efforts of our talented designers,’ adds Viktor Söderberg, CEO of Reijmyre Glassworks. ‘If the craft, which today has become part of Sweden’s cultural and industrial history, is to survive, the collaboration between our craftsmen and designers must continue.’
Participating in the collaboration with Reijmyre has been a momentous moment for last year’s Together grantee, Julie Amira, who is now showcasing her work at NK Interior. ‘Being able to participate and collaborate with Reijmyre Glassworks in this project has been a fantastic opportunity,’ says Julie Amira. ‘Collaborative initiatives like Together are really valuable.’
Photography by Emil Fagander featuring Älvsjö Gård at Stockholm Furniture Fair
2. Älvsjö Gård at Stockholm Furniture Fair
The latest addition to Stockholm Furniture Fair comes in the form of Älvsjö Gård, a flourishing new platform dedicated solely to Scandinavia’s emerging and experimental collectible-design market, offering visitors an odyssey into the otherworldly.
Named after the 16th-century manor house where the show debuted last week, the exhibit showcased a selection of unique pieces by leading Nordic design galleries, makers and independent artists, all with an unexpected quirky imprint.
With sculptural silhouettes, bold patterns and experimental materials, Älvsjö Gård beautifully captured the rebellious and creative spirit of its makers. Among them are Tableau, Oslo-based gallery Pyton and Malmö studio Lab La Bla, as well as stockholmmodern, Swedish artist Fredrik Nielsen, and many more.
Photography courtesy of Daniel Rybakken featuring Shelter
3. Shelter by Daniel Rybakken
Norwegian designer Daniel Rybakken unveiled his public art installation Shelter during Stockholm Design Week, which saw the artist placing a minimalist roof structure, made from corrugated aluminium and steel, in the icy waters of Stockholm.
Taking its inspiration from Fridtjof Nansen, a Norwegian scientist, diplomat, and humanitarian who won the Nobel Peace Prize for his work protecting refugees as the first League of Nations’ High Commissioner for refugees 100 years ago, Shelter inspires empathy and social action.
Serving as a vivid reminder to protect the millions of people who are forced to flee their homes each year, Rybakken’s Shelter is a powerful art installation that offers an emotive perspective on the refugee crisis.
Photography courtesy of Form Us With Love and Samsung Nordics featuring Shift
4. Shift by Form Us With Love x Samsung Nordics
Stockholm-based studio Form Us With Love joined forces with Samsung Nordics to present Shift, a new concept and installation that explores the reinvention of the traditional sofa to fit future models of behaviour.
Reflecting on the evolution of the modern living room, Samsung posed questions on how we imagine a sofa to look and perform 10-15 years from now, and the needs it may have to fulfil, in being the traditional “place” where we watch TV from.
The vision is not only to consider how we might enhance future watching experiences but to project sofa design into a fast-paced society with ever-developing needs, and technologies, while also looking at how architectural design might change to accommodate increasingly complex living-needs.
Photography courtesy of Form Us With Love and Samsung Nordics featuring Shift
FUWL has subsequently designed a prototype called Shift, a watching platform concept that demonstrates how the future of the sofa could look, adapting to tomorrow’s potential TV technology and behaviours.
The flexible concept makes it suitable for various postures and is designed to evolve over time as a user’s needs change. With screen consumption now not confined to just one (living) room, Shift is inherently agile with a lightness that allows it to be lifted and easily set up in different rooms of the home.
‘The only thing we know about the future is that we know nothing about the future. We, therefore, need to create something that will be flexible in placement, living arrangements, ways of use, and in what material options we have in the future,’ says John Löfgren, Co-founder of Form Us With Love.
Photography by Martin Brusewitz featuring Elin Ankarblad, Tove Blomgren and Emma Olbers (right)
5. Now or Never – 1kg of CO2e by Emma Olbers
The Now or Never – 1kg of CO2e exhibition at SFF was the brainchild of furniture designer Emma Olbers and the result of a creative partnership with SALLY, a future manifestation lab at the design and innovation agency EY Doberman.
Sponsored by EY, Polestar and Nrep, the immersive installation examined the impact of the furniture industry on the planet and the ways in which manufacturers can move towards becoming sustainable and carbon neutral.
‘By creating this exhibition we hoped to ignite new and deepened discussions on how we can design and build a more sustainable future,’ says Olbers. ‘A lot has to happen in the coming years. We can solve it together.’
Photography by Martin Brusewitz featuring Now or Never – 1kg of CO2
From innovative materials, such as Penylon made from recycled fishing nets and mineral byproducts to Pinatex, a leather alternative created from the leaves of the pineapple plant, to Mycelium, a 100% biodegradable and low-carbon board, Now or Never – 1kg of CO2e displayed the future materials that could change the way we build.
The climate impact data presented in the exhibition was obtained from Doconomy, an impact-tech start up, tool and ever-evolving platform, which is investing in new measures to help tackle climate change.
Photography courtesy of Jotun featuring Cheerful Peach
6. Lady Balance by Jotun
The promise of a fresh start extends to our homes in 2023, and Norway’s leading paint manufacturer Jotun, knows there is no better time to give homes a fresh lick of paint than at the beginning of a new year.
When it comes to colour, Jotun’s eco-friendly Lady Balance collection features a calming palette of comforting shades that take its inspiration from the natural world.
The non-toxic paints are free of air contaminants and are naturally low in odour, making them especially suitable for allergy sufferers and pregnant women.
Photography by Erik Lefvander featuring Guest of Honour: Front at Stockholm Furniture Fair
7. Guest of Honour: Front at Stockholm Furniture Fair
A collaboration between designers Anna Lindgren and Sofia Lagerkvist, Front is a Stockholm-based studio that dissects what design could be. As Stockholm Furniture Fair’s Guest of Honour, the duo’s installation enveloped visitors in a mesmerising interactive experience.
Combining digital technology with traditional craftsmanship like weaving and embroidering, the installation – which also presented the pair’s work for the likes of Moroso, Moooi and Tom Dixon – highlights the studio’s enduring fascination with nature.
Drawing visitors into a dreamlike world of movement, sound and harmony, Front exhibited designs both past and present that together revealed different facets of the way in which the studio thinks about and approaches design as a discipline.
Photography by Johan Ronnestam featuring Arati Dhakal who showed her vision of wellbeing in hotel and lounges at BAUX’s SFF exhibition
8. The Bright Future of Wellbeing by BAUX
During Stockholm Furniture Fair 2023, BAUX curated a museum-inspired exhibition and acoustic lounge entitled The Bright Future of Wellbeing, dedicated to exploring the future of architecture and interior design, and how the buildings of tomorrow can nurture people’s wellbeing, creativity, and productivity – without compromising on sustainability.
The Swedish brand invited six students studying at some of Scandinavia’s finest architectural institutes to envision the future for businesses, cultural venues, healthcare, hospitality, and educational facilities. They were carefully selected and originate from various countries including Norway, Sweden, Nepal, Egypt, Poland, Greece, and Iceland.
‘Students are the future of architecture and interior design. With their creativity and passion, they can push the boundaries of design and create innovative spaces that will improve the way we live and interact with the world around us,’ says Niki Gynnerstedt, Head of Marketing at BAUX. ‘As they enter the workforce, students have an opportunity to make a real impact.’
Photography by Einar Aslaksen featuring Ypsilon by Daniel Rybakken for Vestre
9. Ypsilon by Daniel Rybakken for Vestre
As one of Scandinavia’s leading manufacturer of urban furniture, Vestre has helped create social meeting places for millions of people since its founding in the 1940s, proving why public resting places can be more than just places to sit.
This spring, the Norwegian design brand launched its sculptural Ypsilon bench designed by Daniel Rybakken. With its angled and linear solid glulam beams, which rest on laser-cut and bent sheets of galvanized steel, the bench embraces simplicity with a stripped-down design.
The angled beams provide a comfortable seat, while the slope allows excess water to quickly run off the bench. Created to enhance the sense of community in public spaces and to increase social interaction, Ypsilon shows why the bench is the unsung hero of good public space.
Photography by Martin Brusewitz featuring the Jury of the Scandinavian Design Awards 2023
10. Scandinavian Design Awards
Launched during Stockholm Design Week and Stockholm Furniture Fair, The Scandinavian Design Awards is a new initiative that aims to recognise and pay tribute to both established players and newcomers within architecture, interiors and design, in Sweden, Norway, Denmark and Finland.
A collaboration between Stockholm Furniture Fair and publishing house It Is Media, the awards consisted of eight categories, including Architecture of the Year and Sustainability Award of the Year, both awarded to The Plus by BIG (Bjarke Ingels Group).
The award ceremony was supported by Audi and Jura and took place on February 6 in the Stockholm City Hall. Led by Swedish poet Elis Monteverde Burrau, the spectacular evening offered a chance for celebration and reflection, bringing the design industry together for an evening of recognition.
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