Stockholm – the design week and fair 2023

The final report from my fairs in winter. Stockholm. My home town. The weather was nice and there were plenty of exhibitions both at the fair and on town. Good energy. I was especially happy that one had tried to rejuvinate things like the gallery exhibition at Älvsjö Gård and also I really liked the sustainable section at Nude Edition. It was a good design week. And we will look into various parts.

Stockholm Furniture Fair was busy. 26 498 visitors. With 478 exhibitors at the fair and with a lot of exhibitions in the city, this design week is of course an opportunity when we will see thousands of new products. As an easy play by numbers – 400 exhibitors launch three new products each = 1 200 new pieces. Of course some of these pieces are irrelevant – but you can also find innovation. Obviously.

My biggest relevation and “aha moment” was with Frida from Trendenser. She did a seminar based on her latest book on furniture design. She talked about all the research there is in furniture making. It’s not about guessing. There is proper research.  And she talked about a chair as an example.

And in one of her conclusions we need to differ the way we talk about design. A chair can be designed driven by research (reseach on sitting), scultpural, or conceptual, or rationalised.

These chairs have different values. Maybe all equally important – but different.

And with this revelation I felt like we have all forgotten to talk about design.

Well done Frida – the best insights of Stockholm Furniture Fair. She participated at the official talks by the fair.

So. When I hear people talk about the content of Stockholm Furniture Fair and the Design Week they tend to mention nice looking, outstanding chairs like this. I am not saying this is “best of the week”. Just an example. Made by Norwegian Henrik Ödegaard for Python Gallery at Älvsjö Gård. And this should be reviewed as a sculptural chair rather than a research driven chair.

I would say that the design scene today is obsessed with sculptural design. When we say something is “amazing” we basically mean it is sculptural. Not only in Sweden or Scandinavia. Look for instance at the aesthetics driven by US girls at Sight Unseen or at visually interesting brands like Hem. Who can sit in the poufe by Sabine Marcelis?

But bare with me. There is interesting and functional design at Stockholm Furniture Fair (and design week). I think we just need to appreciate it.

There are two examples above, that I really liked. First table and bench by Tim Alpen for Balzar Beskow and then a bench by Daniel Rybakken for Vestre.

I think we need to learn to talk about good design again. Not sculptural design.

A kind of conclusion of Stockholm Furniture Fair (and design week). What score?

Every exhibitor (except two) I talked to were really happy. Halls were busy. Perhaps too much focus on Swedish design when it is a Scandinavian event. I liked the innovative aspects like Nude Edition and Älvsjö Gård. Perhaps 5-7 of the larger Swedish brands and plenty of the Danish brands decided to skip the fair. But it was good. Fewer evening events during Stockholm Design Week, but I liked that. More focus on proper dinners and not pr driven events.

I think I should give this a 7 out of 10. Do I look forward to Stockholm Furniture Fair next year? Absolutely.

Now let’s look at some trends.

Trend 1 – it gets smaller

Stockholm Furniture Fair is not only about nice looking chairs but also about office solutions. And noone really knows – will we work from home or at an office? At a coworking space or somewhere else?

While we think about that kind of future I could see that office desks and furniture got smaller.

Trend 2 – minimalism

Reduced use of materials and sleek lines. Crafty.

Above I mentioned how I see a sort of minimalism as a reaction to everything very sculptural. And here I continue this trail of thought. Daniel Enoksson made these minimalistic lamps at my space at Designgalleriet.

Atelje Lyktan relaunched a lamp from the 80s and this minimalism can absolutely have a hint of retro to it.

I would say that this chair by Nick Ross at Älvsjö Gård has the same aesthetics.

Why not also the new sofa table from Hem.

And it is in the details. Super plain table but the feet are cute. By Reeta Laine at Greenhouse at the fair.

This is also has a bit of 80s to it. The new lamp by TAF for Artek. I noticed that the curve of the stool comes back in the lamp.

It is about being innovative with use of material. And just very, very few details. Here the lamp by Folkform for Svenskt Tenn. Just folded paper/textiles. Minimal.

This is one of my favourites from the fair. Norwegian student Naoki Mizukami.

And I got very excited at Carl Hansen & Sön when I saw the details at this sofa. Craftmanship and very minimal. Even thought the fabric is loud…

And also Swedish brand Verk continue to make contemporary Scandinavian classics in a minimal aesthetics. I like how the sofa is stripped down from armrest. Basically a sofa just of pillows.

Trend 3 – red

As mentioned with most other fairs – red is coming strongly. All kinds of red. I would say that “pure red” is a driver, but pink and softer tones work too. Here David Ericsson for Atelje Sandemar.

Pure red also at Designgalleriet with Sloydlab that made the shelf and Sami Kallio that made the little tray.

The whole stand at Källemo was made in red.

Fredrik Paulsen’s experimental sofa table at Älvsjö Gård.

Stefan Borselius for Skandiform.

Red at Lammhults.

Red and blue in combination is something I think we will see more of. Here by young designer Annabella Hevesi.

A red side table by Ulf Linder.

At Finnish institute in Stockholm, Finnish designer Minni Havas.

At Senab they had invited almost all Swedish producers and manufacturers to show their new things in a red-orange hue. Here Blå Station.

Here Källemo and Gärsnäs.

But as mentioned, also other red tones were around. Here more apricot and burgundy by Sara Garanty for Stolab.

And if your pieces aren’t red – add red details. Here Anna Hermann for Johanson Design.

Trend 4 – textiles

I started to note that a lot of the upholstry got a stronger textile feel. You started to see fold and crinkles. Here at Muuto in the city.

Here at NC Möbler.

Mia Cullin for Gemla.

Here Margot Barolo for Skandiform.

Here also the exhibition stand at Skandiform. Lots of textiles.

Here Klara Melin that was selected for Young Swedish Design (Ung Svensk Form)

Also at Greenhouse. Carpets, rugs and even small tables made of textiles. By Chef Deco.

And we saw it already in Paris last year but you dress the whole furniture in textile. Here a table with textile base at Johanson Design by Alexander Lervik and Anna Hermann.

Same table but smaller.

Same concept at Lammhults

A small stool or chair by Färg & Blanche for Design House Stockholm.

And I just thought this was cute. An office chair with “slippers” by Roger Persson.

And a final note. It’s not textile but have a textile kind of quality. Sort of like a ribbon. Not new for this year but still nice. By Alfredo Häberli for Nikkari.

And a lot of people talked about this “ribbon chair” for Blå Station. By Johan Ansander. People were impressed with how the back pieces curved and finally ended up as legs.




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Dan Ihreborn
11 months ago

I believe that someone writing articles about new design and trends must have a true relationship to the importance of original design. In your review from the Swedish furniture fair, (its a national event isn’t it?)and design week, you are highlighting at least 2 products which are copies of already existing products. To start with, BSweden’s pendant “Tratten” by Anna Berglund, and also Swedstyle´s (or perhaps Swedsteal is more correct) desk which is a copy of my desk StandUp for Matting that they released back in 2015.These companies has put a lot of efforts and costs into the R&D process and now someone just steals it!!! Everyone writing about design must stand up for the companies and designers who have the knowledge and strive to make a difference. Not giving credits to the copycats! Shape up!
with regards from
dan ihreborn

image shows the StandUp desk from Matting.