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Design Takes Over Swedish Capital for Stockholm Design Week

03.04.20 | By
Design Takes Over Swedish Capital for Stockholm Design Week
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Stockholm has two annual design weeks – one aligned with Formex in August and one that coincides with the Stockholm Furniture and Light Fair in February. The latter, despite being decidedly chillier, has become the most important week on the Scandinavian design calendar and increasingly rivals the main fair for launches and installations. Here is a round-up of our favorite finds…

Sven-Harrys Konstmuseum played host to Imaginations x12, a retrospective of designer Alexander Lervik’s work that explored the relationship between art and design. His Vanitati Carpet visualizes flight traffic on a typical Monday morning, while a paper airplane making machine recreates the scene in midair above.

Upstairs, a second one-room exhibition explored the relationship between designers and their own individual style. A bit like the Surrealist paper-folding game exquisite corpse, each designer created a chair, and then passed it on to the next designer, who had to retain 20–40% of its style in their design before passing it on again. The circle of resulting chairs was accompanied by a soundscape of the ensuing conversation about what the participating designers learned about themselves, the design process, and their tendencies towards diversity or conformity.

Swedish digital-first furniture brand Hem launched its third collaboration with British design magazine Modern Design Review – the Powder Vase by Jenny Nordberg. The vase is seen above perched upon Hem’s pink ‘Puffy Brick’ counter, designed by London-based Soft Baroque and made using Jesmonite and an innovative molding technique for their newly restyled Stockholm Studio.

The Finnish Institute in Stockholm presented ‘Wild at Heart – A Collection of Modern Finnish Design and Art’ curated by designer Tero Kuitunen, who said of the exhibition, “I want to highlight how multifaceted Finnish design is. I think we are currently living in a design Renaissance, where people move more freely between different creative territories.” The ‘Social Impact’ stage (above) offered a closer look at how design influences society. The woven baskets are by Mifuko and were born out of its founder’s wish to employ and empower women in rural Kenya.

A second stage entitled ‘Wild Humour’ included Teemu Salonen’s anthropomorphic design-sculpture hybrids, described by Kuitunen as “gaudy, glamorous and cultivated” and celebratory of the joy of making.

A much more subdued space was the Sculptor’s Residence by Copenhagen-based architecture and design studio Norm Architects working in collaboration with DUX and MENU. The space was described by the trio as “a uniquely curated apartment space with displays of objects and furniture pieces to set the scene of a home and artist atelier.”

With its understated color palette, natural light, tactile surfaces and remnants of a creative life well lived, the overall effect was to make you consider giving notice on your own apartment and moving in immediately.

Stockholm-based Note Design Studio used typography and set design to bring a new perspective to a selection of items from the 150-year-old Swedish auction house Bukowskis in an exhibition called Adjectives.

“Note uses the language of design to inject a new discourse into that used normally to describe art,” they said. “The challenge of this unique exhibition is to show the spaces of the Bukowskis auction house, and everything within them, in the form of adjectives.”

A visit to Stockholm wouldn’t be complete without at least popping into interior design store, Svensk Tenn, founded in 1924 by art teacher and pewter artist Estrid Ericson. This time, the reward was the Famna sofa by design and architecture studio TAF. Its founders, Gabriella Gustafson and Mattias Ståhlbom, were inspired by the spaces in which contemporary design meets the classic eclecticism of Ericson and one of her earliest and most enduring furniture designers, Austrian architect Josef Frank.

The name Famna (’embrace’) refers to its generous depth and low seat height, which invites you to rest in its embracing form – very tempting after two days exploring a design festival! It was shown in orange velvet or ‘Textile Brazil’ which features one of the biggest continuous patterns of all of Frank’s textile prints, and was designed in 1943-1945 in homage to the diversity and color of the Brazilian rainforest.

Last, but by no means least, was FORGO Essentials, an innovative new sustainable care product. Its developers, a team at design studio and incubator Form Us With Love realized that most of what we ship all over the world in bathroom products is water – so they’ve taken it out. They offer a starter kit with an empty reusable glass bottle and three paper sachets and you just buy more paper sachets when you run out. Simply mix their contents with water and you’re good to go. The project funded on Kickstarter in less than 24 hours, proving its worth almost instantly.

Katie Treggiden is a purpose-driven writer and keynote speaker championing a circular approach to design – because Planet Earth needs better stories. With 20 years' experience in the creative industries, she regularly contributes to publications such as The Guardian, Crafts Magazine and Monocle24 – as well as being Editor at Large for Design Milk. She is currently exploring the question ‘can craft save the world?’ through an emerging body of work that includes her fifth book, Wasted: When Trash Becomes Treasure (Ludion, 2020), and a podcast, Circular with Katie Treggiden.