Stockholm Design Week 2022

My cold capital of the north – Stockholm – managed to squeeze out some kind of design week. The fair was postponed and restrictions were tough. But regardless, here is a review of the 20 or so activities that happened during Stockholm Design Week.

Stockholm Design Week usually don’t have a theme, but from my perspective the most common talked about thing was production. And local production, specifically.

Last year Swedish design producer Verk was launched. They made furniture with only local materials and striving for a sustainable solution. Truly inspiring. They made me think about local production in many of my projects for last year. This year they made an exhibition basically sharing their suppliers. Very generous and educational. Possibly the best of all installations at Stockholm Design Week.

Low key and quiet. Swedish chair guru Åke Axelsson turns 90 years old this year and a kind of retrospective was shown at Sven Harry’s art center. I struggle a bit with the concept of Åke, his design and the exhibition. Åke has always said that his design should not be put on pedestal – and here it is – a design exhibition with chairs on pedestal. Regardless. He is a designer of his time, doing chairs resourceful and even at his own woodshop just outside of Stockholm.

Another resource project and one of my favourites. Massproduction was thinking about our times and the concept of luxury. Perhaps the most luxarious furniture piece is a chaise lounge. Simply because it takes up so much space… Who has spare space for a piece like this?

Also. They made the chair as a fine, polished piece for about 2000 euro. But you could also choose to make your own – free of charge. And buy materials for about 50 euro. Of course Enzo Mari did this in the 70s but still very interesting. And it touches the theme of production. Should you buy it polished or make it your own?

I was involved in the project at Designgalleriet. I will talk more about that in a separate post, but here is also a question of production. Glass furniture is done internationally but what happens when you go to a local glass producer and have them make tables and stools? A real nice project that got a lot of attention during this week. Designers are David Ericsson and Daniel Enoksson.

More production. Studio Folkform had a retrospective at Bukowskis. The two designers started working together a design school when they were asked to make design in masonite. Everything was made at the last masonite factory in Sweden.

Production, production, production. Or is it a question of smiling? One of my personal favourites on the Swedish design scene is Jenny Nordberg. All her design projects are basically about production. Here she went to a carpenter and found these oak boards and just painted them whole. Giving them a smile. Maybe not resourceful but a question of craft and expression.

But the design week in Stockholm was not only about resources. Over the last years, I feel we are questioning the scaled down minimalism we are associated with. Can Swedish or Scandinavian design be ornamental?

At the exhibition Ung Svensk Form you can find a jury selection of the best of young Swedish design. Here we saw very little new functionality but more focus on talking about ornaments. Here Matilda at Sloydlab.

But also how Klara Knutsson took her IKEA-table and added ornaments.

Speaking of young designers. At Beckmans College of Design, the students we working with commercial companies to make prototypes. Kind of a crash course of real life. Here Tora Kirchmeier and Simon Mattisson for Swedese. Their bench and small tables are really ornamental.

Ornamental is also the collection by Ringvide. I think it was in 2012 or 2013 when I found Lukas Dahlen at Salone Satelite in Milan. His intricate weaving of wood is amazing. And expensive. It took him, apparently, almost ten years to get the weaved furniture in production. Super expensive and super nice. And super ornamented.

Continuing on the topic of ornaments. Many of the activities during Stockholm Design Week happened digitally. I had the honour of doing a talk for Johanson Design. Here with Färg&Blanche and their sofa system with a piping (the ornamental string). Ornaments, ornaments, ornaments.

More sofas. This couch might look straight and minimal, but look at how the wrinkly textile gives it an ornamented look. A new sofa by Mia Cullin and Margot Barolo for Storängen.

 

So, the majority of Stockholm Design Week talked about production and ornaments. I wouldn’t say that the concept of sustainability were present anywhere. I know I missed the exhibition with Remake at NK Department store. But there weren’t a lot. Brands like Offecct launched uninteresting contract pieces. I was not overly impressed by the exhibition on graphical design at Ark Des. I missed the new chair and concept by Fredrik Paulsen, but we have seen this chair before… I missed the new things at Design House Stockholm. I might have missed some things but I think I have a fairly good overview of things.

A lot of the Swedish design companies are holding back on their launched for May or September.

But here are some various findings I liked. They are kind of solitary objects and can’t be paired to a new category.

Trolley by Broberg Ridderstråle. Sturdy and minimal. Almost like a small kitchen. I liked it a lot. For Asplund.

New brand BeBo launched. In and outdoor furniture. With talents like David Ericsson, Pierre Sindra and Teklan. Looks interesting.

The Finns were active this year. Two competing exhibitions. One at Finnish Institute and one at the residency of the Finnish Embassy. Above vessels by Didi Ng.

 

Two pictures above from Fintastic at the residency. A nice colour exhibition with favourites like Hanna Anonen.

 

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