February 18, 2016

Trade Show Report: 20 Design Bests at Stockholm Furniture Fair

Scandinavian design has historically been synonymous with wood, simple forms and pale colors. All these characteristics were faithfully delivered at the 65th edition of the Stockholm Furniture & Light Fair. From February 9-13, over 700 Scandinavian and international brands came together under one 750,00-square-foot roof to exhibit residential and contract design. And don’t forget the annexed Northern Light Fair, the third of three distict, coexisting design forums, all with a strong sense of inherent Scandinavian design values.

This year the exhibitors impressed with super sustainable design and bountiful considered color. Wood, so synonymous with Scandinavia, was everywhere. Much of it was pale, as you might expect, but the material also appeared mixed with metal, marble and plenty of acoustic-softening wool. Perforated surfaces, especially in metal, were evident in several new products seen in Skagerak’s Mira collection of outdoor furniture, Tingest Mikrofon lamp, WOUD’s dot pendant, and the Ami side table by Ok Design. While hues of every color were represented at the fair there was an emphasis on pink, blue and green. This was particularly prevalent at Montana, Blå StationMitab, and Fogia.

Many of the designs seemed to follow an iterative process of slow improvements over time, particularly with subtle updates to classics like the Swedese 60th anniversary edition of Lamino, Artek’s 70th anniversary edition of the Domus Chair by Ilmari Tapiovaara, and the 60th anniversary edition of the Panton One chair by Montana featuring three new frame colors.

Sustainability was a consistent theme, with waste products from other manufacturing process such as flooring production being upcycled in products such as the corporate landscapes of the Green Furniture Concept’s IOU Series.

Stands are often big and bold at design fairs and Stockholm Furniture Fair didn’t disappoint with three of the most striking stands being that of Swedish flooring brand Bolon, Danish fabric house Kvadrat, and Italian lighting megabrand Foscarini.

One of the features of the fair is the Guest of Honor, a highly respected international designer or design group who is asked to create a lounge in Stockholmsmässan’s entrance hall during the fair. Previous Guests of Honor have been Oki Sato of Nendo, Patricia Urquiola, and Arik Levy. This year the honor was bestowed to Edward Barber and Jay Osgerby, who created a space blurring the boundaries between work, relaxation, and socializing.

There was a clear abundance of privacy furniture and acoustic products in the office furniture offerings, Four DesignMateria and Abstracta aimed to enable quiet zones or concentration in open-plan office settings. This seemed to be balanced with the increase of items usually found in our homes but not necessarily in offices: carpets, pendant lamps, plants, loose cushions, accessories etc. Possibly due to the increased home workspaces being adopted by Northern European companies there is a need to make the office more approachable and less gray and intimidating.

Greenhouse at the Stockholm Furniture Fair is a showcase of graduate and independent designers and is an insightful highlight. It’s great to see such wholesome support of new talent, and there were many interesting offerings such as Oyyo, a design studio and producer of unique textile interior products and Studio Murkla’s print designers Hannah Jervelind and Charlotte Ewing who created a six piece collection of textile prints screen printed by the pair. Many of the Scandinavian brands also run student competitions such as Lammhults and Northern Lighting, a practice that we hope becomes common place.

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