The biggest design event in the Nordic and Scandinavian region is over. Stockholm Design Week 2021. Despite pandemic and lockdown, this city managed to pull something together. It is of course extremely easy to start complaining about things but I am trying to keep this report as optimistic and cheerful as possible.
I started the week by going trough my emails and invitations to see what was going on. A normal year my list would have contain perhaps 800 activities and this year I had eight.
So where to start a report from Stockholm Design Week? I found two new brands that impressed me. There were some really nice pieces (Pierre Sindre’s chair for Källemo, Peter Andersson’s easy chair for Lammhult, Sakari Hartikainen’s table for Swedese, etc). I saw some, not a lot, but some new ideas for new design, and I had some nice conversations. And I am trying to keep it light and optimistic…
Did technology take over the city for this design week? Not really. There were of course hundreds of activities online but I doubt it reached a lot of people. New innovations? Not really either… Here is Jonathan Jahn from Bukowskis talking to a hologram version of Tom Dixon. At the auction house they had a small exhibition of unique prototypes by the British designer. And he was “there”. But in general there were very few international guests at this design week. Which is logical. But overall very few industry leaders.
I met Johan Lindau. owner, designer and leader at Blå Station. Here pointing at his new relaunch of a chair. But other than that I don’t think I met any other company CEO or head of any design company on the streets.
Stockholm Design Week 2021 was of course also very digital. Totally biased, but I was very happy to be part of the tv format we did under Trendgruppen Design TV. 15 minutes, three brands and one guest. Every day. Short, sweet and simple.
So – the lack of meeting people… It is very clear and evident that we haven’t had any real talks for over a year. I will say, if you don’t meet people there won’t be any new ideas. No new creativity. 2020 was a year when a lot changed for all of us. We are working from home, are scared of viruses, are bored, love/hate Netflix, etc, etc, etc – but it’s like the whole design scene missed this conversation.
Again I am trying to keep a positive and optimistic approach – and there are good things to talk about – but hang on. I really, really, really don’t want to point fingers at anyone. Really. But I need this student work as an example. This designer might have a great and fantastic future – but it is a clear example of how we sort of have missed the talks in the design scene.
This is a student project with a Swedish producer. And in this case someone have realised we need smaller tables so we can work from a couch at home. I mean, we are all working from home, so it is logical. But I mean… Shouldn’t it be able to elevate? We should stand by our desks as well. And what of that loop? Is it really good to have a round thing to stumble on by the sofa? And you can’t really pull it to the side by the livingroom and make it disappear.
Sorry to sound negative, and especially for this student. Over all a great exhibition and I am sure this student has a great career ahead of them… Phew…
But this is a great example of how we lack conversations on our new needs. If we would have met and talked, this table would have looked differently. What are our needs 2021? In an office? Or in a home? Or in a public space?
So, I would say the most evident “trend” for Stockholm Design Week is that we look back. We dig in our archives. It is easier to look back than look forward. And this is fine. (Again, keeping it chirpy).
A wonderful rug from the 70s called Zorba by Kateha.
Mylhta got the drawing from an archive for a bookcase by Carl Malmsten.
Dux and Carl Hansen & Sön looked in the archives for a bed by Börge Mogensen.
Svenskt Tenn got three chairs from their archives. Designed by Josef Frank and they look wonderful.
Borderline archive and extension… I know… But still fits the trend a bit. Here Design House Stockholm and how they made the knot pillow into a pouf
I have the picture above with Johan Lindau and this is a better picture of the chair. This is a relaunch of a chair from 2001. And this it the thing – I wouldn’t say a specific year is more important than another, but we dig in our archives.
You can of course talk about that there is a strong link to a modernism. Here is a new chair but strongly flirting with design by midcentury Sven Markelius. This is still one of my favourites for the year. This is Pierre Sindre for Källemo.
Here another straight, strong chair by Sweden’s best chair designer David Ericsson. And you can really see how we are leaving the softer, curvy look for a stricter and more modernist thing.
David’s chair above is designed for new Swedish brand Verk. Possibly the best and most interesting of the whole design week. Verk started as idea a few years back and have been maturing over time. Designer Simon Anund and entrepreneur Jacop Merlini want to push the boundaries of the concept “locally produced”. So they have invited some of the most established Swedish designers as well as young, unestablished names. And everything, all the materials, are locally sourced. That means that when something wasn’t available – the produced it. Like upholstery, textiles – and screws. Amazing concept and amazing idea. And amazing design.
Table by Linn Fredlund
Bench by the same designer
Sofa by Mia Cullin
The local trend continues with new brand Bonnibonne. Ceramics made in a wood owen rather than in an electrical one, and only by local craftsmen.
Ceramics, cutlety and furniture. Local production in a small scale. I am sure we will see more of Bonnibonne.
I am finishing this report slowly, but surely. Here are some random projects I just liked. I liked this small sidetable by students Elsa Frisén and Matilda Olsson Borg. It’s like a table where I can have my laptop on and charge my mobile phone separetely. I liked that.
I am so dead tired of Netflix. I don’t want to spend any more time watching shit. And I think this piece by Ingrid Segring Björklund is really interesting. Perhaps sit in front of this instead of another episode of Friends.
I also liked this, exhibited at gallery Sebastian Schildt. Six designers were sitting in various parts of the world and together they made a rug. Corona safe…
For the second year in a row, floor brand Bjelin impressed me with new thinking. They make floors but make me love them by including small scale artisans and designers. “Show your design on our floor”… Curated and set design by Joyn Studio.
Kind of interesting – at least on paper. This floor lamp that is flirting with Castiglione but is made of scrap. Upcycling. Design by Jenny Nordberg for Olsson&Gerthel.
Most upsetting project… Well, I need to round off with a bit of criticism. The project at Auktionsverket… 26 brands invited to show their things. They had the best opportunity to do something when the fairs was closed. This could have been the place where you got a total overview of what was launched from the 26 important brands. But is was so unclear and with a fairly unimpressive setting. But where was the information? What was new? What was from last year? What are student works and what was professionally produced? As you see in the picture only two stools have signs. Where are the rest? Terrible. Terrible. No names. No producers. Just furniture on a piece of plastic. Some of it was on sale. Some wasn’t…
And one glass of champagne this year… Only one… But seriously. As a round off. It was a design week. Really. I got to see more than expected. Met more people than expected. Saw two new brands. Saw some trends. Of course I want more, but I started this week with extremely low expectations, so I am pretty happy.