From 9 to 13 February, Stockholm positively buzzed with all things design. Not only were there more than 80 events, installations and parties across the city for Stockholm Design Week, exhibition centre Stockholmsmässan played host to around 700 brands for the largest gathering of Scandinavian design, Stockholm Furniture Fair. It was design heaven.
Here I’ve gathered together all my favourite finds, from reissued classics by Danish masters, through design studios developing innovative ways of working with materials, to up-and-coming, young designers you need to know about. So grab a cuppa ‘cos this is a long one… Enjoy!
Air Wardrobe by Mathieu Gustafson for Design House Stockholm
With roots both in Paris and the Swedish province of Småland, Mathieu Gustafson finds inspiration in their two different approaches to furniture design. Air is a light wardrobe and sideboard that doubles as a room divider. A little French je ne sais quoi can be seen in his panels of traditional natural woven cane, while the graphic pattern of white ribs brings to mind the strict clean lines of Scandinavian design. ‘My Swedish relatives furnished their homes in typical Swedish style; pared down and practical. People in France are not as uniform’, says Gustafson. ‘They can readily mix Empire with Ikea.’
Buddy by Mads Sætter-Lassen for Northern Lighting
Last year’s winner of the Northern Lighting Design Award, the adorable Buddy lamp by Sætter-Lassen is a functional design complete with a small container for essentials such as pens, pencils or office clutter. The designer, a student at the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts in Copenhagen, describes it as ‘the little helper everyone needs’. Available in dark grey, off-white, Marsala and that gorgeous green below, with a multi-directional shade, it might just give you that little push to keep your desk tidy…
Thom Fougere Studio
This Winnipeg-based designer was one of my favourites of the fair. Founded only in Autumn last year, Thom Fougere Studio works within the fields of arts and design with a focus on furniture and products for the home. The collection presented at Stockholm took inspiration from the northern Canadian landscape and culture, but also bore, I think, influences from Scandinavian and Japanese design. The little three-legged mobile Bar Cart in solid ash brought to mind the designs of Finnish architect Alvar Aalto, while the Rattan Bench wrapped in cane has a timeless aesthetic. I loved the Saddle Chair, made of a light stainless steel structure with a soft vegetable tanned leather seat. The gently tilting sides and a little leg rest allows you to lie back comfortably while the leather will patinate beautifully over time. Definitely a designer to watch.
These semi-transparent room dividers by Stockholm-based Atelier Ryberg, part of the Fair’s new Established section for small-scale productions, are inspired by hanging fishing nets. Hundreds of coloured yarns are carefully positioned by hand to create a sheer surface with a simple diagonal pattern. Charlotte Ryberg says: ‘To get up early on summer mornings to row out on the misty sea, picking up the fishing nets laid out the night before. To slowly untangle the nets and hang them, layer by layer, in a steep pine slope on the archipelago cliffs. To be surrounded by the sheer net surfaces, creating a space of one’s own, while keeping a connection to the surroundings.’
Bellevue Lamp by Arne Jacobsen for &tradition
&tradition has reissued the Bellevue lamp by renowned 20th century Danish architect and design master (one of my absolute favourites) Arne Jacobsen. His first foray into lighting design, the lamp hasn’t dated at all and is still slim and elegant with it’s swan-like neck and 45-degree cut shade. &tradition has gone back to its roots – the design had been adapted several times over the years – and has relaunched the lamp in its original shape and with the original brass neck. Says founder of &tradition Martin Kornbek Hansen: ‘Jacobsen’s Bellevue Lamp reflects the true tenants of form follows function. It captures the essence of elegance, with nothing to add on and nothing to take away.’
Julius by Färg & Blanche for Gärsnäs
Stockholm-based Färg & Blanche have been developing the technique of Wood Tailoring™ for several years now, culminating in the Julius chair for Gärsnäs. You might think that they drilll holes into the wood to thread through, but sewing machines are actually used to stitch directly on to the wood, piecing together fabric, padding and wood – very clever. And because everything is sewn together and there’s no toxic glue, the pieces are easy to separate and recycle at the end of the product’s lifetime.
Hedwig by David Ericsson for Gärsnäs
Other designs at Gärsnäs also caught my eye. The Hedwig chair (nothing to do with Harry Potter’s owl…) for example references Swedish Art Deco and early Modernist design with its reclined wooden frame and stretched leather. It has a handy little surface for cups of coffee.
POP by Bengtsson & Sindre for Gärsnäs
More cane! Inspired by early 70s silk scarves by Hermes and the timeless rattan handbags by saddle maker Palmgrens, the POP sofa has high backrests for privacy. The craftsmanship and materials are exquisite, with tanned leather edging and soft herringbone and houndstooth wool fabrics. Think a dusty old English library with leather-bound books mixed with a 1930s Parisian atelier…
Bergen and Copenhagen-based Studio BEY won the Fair’s Editor’s Choice award for Rising Star. The duo, comprising Cecilia Xinyu Zhang from Beijing and and Sigrid Häg from west Sweden, presented a collection of different objects – from lamps to stools to mirrors – that play with visual illusions. The Scraped Mirror for example incorporates imperfections that blur your reflection, while the hand-blown Waterfall Lamp resembles water droplets. Illuminated by LEDs, and thanks to mechanics and motors, the patterned glass creates the illusion of flowing water.
Bollo chair by Andreas Engesvik for Fogia
I mostly loved this Fogia chair for the reasoning behind the name – Bollo because spaghetti bolognese is one of Norwegian designer Andreas Engesvik’s favourite dishes… The bulbous form and voluptuous upholstery with the slim metal base goes someway to suggest what might happen if you ate too much perhaps? 😉 But in all seriousness, it’s really a very comfortable chair and I love that beautiful soft salmon pink colour.
Plantscape by Maxim Scherbakov
This is one for the Urban Jungle Bloggers out there. Plantscape by Russian designer Maxim Scherbakov is a collection of concrete, limestone and brass elements that can be arranged in multiple ways to house plants. Inspired by real urban conditions and modernist housing blocks, you might recognise certain elements as paving tiles and ventilation shafts. I think I need one. Photo: Alexey Galkin
OVID by Design Keisuke Kawase
Another find from the Greenhouse section of the fair for up-and-coming, young designers was the OVID chair by Japanese interior architect and designer Keisuke Kawase. Inspired by traffic circles in Stockholm, the rounded seat and backrest are half upholstered for a tactile finish.
Georg desk by Chris Liljenberg Halstrøm for Skagerak
Skagerak’s Georg collection has been updated with this clever space-saving leaning desk. Named ‘bedroom furniture of the year’ by Elle Decoration Sweden at the Fair, the desk has two legs and finds balance by leaning against a wall. A perfect addition for small spaces or you could even squeeze in a work space in a corridor or landing.
So there we go, my favourite finds from Stockholm Furniture Fair, any that catch your eye?
First three images of the fair my own, the rest from the relevant designer/brand.