Stockholm Design Week 2020

My own hometown celebrated design – as always – in the first week of February. A week with 700 exhibitors at Stockholm Furniture Fair and plenty of events and exhibitions in the city. Here is my initial report. I will do it in three segments. This first report is an overview, and then we will look into details and finally look at sustainability. So here we go.

For me visiting Stockholm Design Week is an emotional rollercoaster. I guess it is beause I have so high expectations. I love Scandinavian design. Some of my favourite designers and brands are Scandinavian, and I really think we have a serious approach to design. And Scandinavians have a enormous feel for colours, aesthetics and materials.

So when I go the biggest event of the year with all these emotions and expectations – I fall a bit flat and question everything. Like last year 2019. But this is the year of “happy” and I will really try to focus on the good things. Because there are some fantastic design this year.

So here are the good news. Here are my four favourites of 2020.

  1. 1. Rope chair by Bouroullec for Artek.
  2. In a world where everything looks the same (it really does), this chair is unique. In Swedish design history there is a chair in concrete made by Jonas Bohlin in 1983. This was all new and non-functional. Who wants to sit in a concrete chair? This is the same thing. Rope Chair is visually interesting – but you cant sit in it. Sooooooo uncomfortable. But soooooo interesting.

I don’t think people understood the stand construction… The red podium were supposed to represent a king and queen, and the hanging chairs are executed loyals as hanging in a rope from a gallow. Provocative and I love it.

Visually interesting and a chair that stand out. But not necessarily comfortable. But my favourite from 2020.

2. Design by Lovisa Sandström and Sofie Johansson in collaboration with Källemo.

Second favourite is a coathanger by current design students from Beckmans. I love the room dividing experience but also how the clothes and jackets are kind of escaping. Breaking free. Works good at a public space and at a private home.

3. Chair by Alexander Lervik for Design House Stockholm

In a world where everything looks the same… This is a saying I constantly come back to. But a lot of things look and are the same, so my mind goes to the ones who dare to think differently. Like this project. I will include this in my sustainable report as well. But the idea is that Design House Stockholm have signed up 1000 producers world wide. So basically you look at the chair online, ask for production and then go to your local woodshop and collect it. So clever and resourceful. I love this.

4. The vintage chair at Kinnarps

Everyone is talking about sustainability. Also at Stockholm Design Week. To a lesser extent than you would think, and I will come back to that in a report later. But someone who knocked me off my feet was Swedish office brand Kinnarps. Of course they work with recycling, upcycling and new materials but they believe in longlasting, longevity and durability. At their stand they had an office chair from a client that was produced in the mid 90s. Still functional

And this is a conference room chair from 1998. What better way to show that you produce things that will last for a long time – than actually showing things that have been lasting?

I love this. Such a clever way of showing how you work with durability. And it still looks f#cking good. I want that chair.

So these are my top four. I do believe that the rope chair will be a future classic. And no one can sit in it. But high heel shoes still work, so why not?

Continuing. I would say that I got most energy from the small brands. Again, perhaps there is a need for a shift for something new and these brands represent that. Like Mylitha.

Or this outdoor easy chair by David Ericsson for Atelier Sandemar.

Or Storängen. Second project from school Beckmans. Design by Joakim Zickert and Kourosh Hekmatara. Stackable and nice.

Same producers but designer Victor Alge.

Not sure how small-scale they are but flooring company Bjelin asked architect group Joyn to make the most interesting stand at the fair. Absolutely worth a stop. Besides beautiful floor they had invited a handful of Scandinavian designers to present their news. Above first Finnish designer Antrei Hartikainen and then Swedish Jennie Adén, two of the most progressive and interesting designers in Scandinavia. Well curated and so nice.

Small scale and local production. Fabrikant make outdoor furniture.

SMD Design is still a small producer and they made lovely room dividers by Monica Förster.

SMD is of course also the producers of my project for Designgalleriet with Nina Jobs and Stina Sandwall. More about this later – but small scale, small scale, small scale… That’s where we are going.

Fairly new started brand Made by Choice from Finland invited some of the most insteresting Swedish designers to make new furniture. As this cabinet by Matti Klenell.

So, yes, Scandinavian design is still very much alive and kicking, but perhaps at the smaller producers. Other things I liked are things below.

Small table by Björn Sundelin for Swedese. A small and nice table – but the shape is supposed to make you think of a cartoon friend. You will never sit alone. Or you can start dancing like Måns Zelmerlöw in the Eurovision song Heroes.

Swedish producers Källemo always have a nice collection and so as well this year. One of the more talked about objects were this table by Åsa Jungnelius. To me it is just ok. The glass tables have been around for a while, as well as the optic effect. Nice, but a bit luke warm.

The easy chair by Anna Kraitz was much more interesting, and in general we saw a lot of easy chairs at the fair. But we will come back to that.

This easy chair or plain chair was lovely. I loved the details and comfort. But we need to be better at communications. It was when I talked to the designer David Regestam it got a whole new dimension. Regestam makes luxarious furniture pieces for five star hotels, and now the rooms are getting smaller and smaller (because of cost and space efficiency). So this is actually a small and light easy chair for five star hotels.

I liked the room divider and shelf by Karl Andersson & Söner. Design by Rainer Mutsch.

I think we will see a trend where we use more textiles. Sort of like puff sleeves at a prom dress. The red chair by TAF Arkitekter for Fogia and the brown object is a Souffle by my favourite Danish designer Cecilie Manz for Offecct.

Last thing I liked by the larger producers. Swedese has launched a repair service. You can now take your classical Lamino chair and get it repaired. Love how a brand is flirting with services and not just pushing new objects constantly. And that is resourceful, sustainable and smart.

Among the design students at Greenhouse. I have already mentioned how I like the approach by Beckmans and some of the student works are among my top favourites.

Not as commercial are the projects by HDK in Göteborg. Their concept of “Last Supper” talks about our difficult times – but also gives some interesting ideas. Like Mikael Martinsson who has made a lamp where plants generate electricity so a bulb glows. No extra electricity needed. Beautiful and sustainable.

Gabriel Giacometti made an outdoor chair that grows into the surroundings. What is man made and what is nature?

Josefin Karlsson made an intricate lamp. Beautiful and also making us thing of all the melting glaciers.

So, I have stayed more positive than usual. The design week was good and I am proud of how my city embrace new and innovative design. The activities in the city had a lower standard and quality than usual. I dont want to call names, but the Finnish brand who made an installation with a French designer at a gallery. What was that? It was all just superficial, shallow and was totally uninteresting. It was vases on parade. Nothing. It was nothing. It could have been a nice window display but it was not an exhibition. It was not curated. It was crap.

An exhibition that was hyped was Misschiefs with 12 female designers. Very much needed, especially when the fair is so dominated by male designers. But it kind of was a disappointment. Not provocative enough. Especially if you compare to the hanged chair by Artek.

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