Stockholm Furniture Fair 2024

Many things have been said about this year’s edition of Stockholm Furniture Fair. Here are my two cents – and of course the trends.

Where do we start? This is my eighth fair in 2024 and as with all other fairs I think one way to start is by talking numbers.

Accoring to the press release sent out on Monday February 18th there were 270 exhibitors and 18 000 visitors.

Ok. This is not a lot… How do we continue our report? One of my perceptions (I have many, let’s see if we get to talk about all of them) is that EVERYONE was smiling through their teeth franticly saying “This is a good fair, isn’t it?”

Out of most things I have noted during and after Stockholm Furniture Fair is that people are more interested in talking about THE FAIR rather than what it showed. You can see it in any newspaper or magazine. For instance look at Swedish Dagens Nyheter. Or online platform Sight Unseen. I personally think that Sight Unseen had some really nice insights.

Let’s go down to Trendstefan nitty gritty. Is Stockholm Furniture Fair actually doing something new? Yes, the fair looked really nice. Really. Everyone remembers the catastrophy of last year. Nothing of that. 100 % nice looking.

There were basically no international design brands. I saw CC Tapis, but that was it. Of course our fellow Scandinavians. But is CC Tapis (and two or three Asian brands) enough to call it an international fair?

Stockholm Furniture Fair 2024 was absolutley more about thinking than execution. Especially when it comes to installations and launches. I don’t thing anyone has counted, but there was absolutely more intellectual content than interesting products. Sight Unseen calls it a “philosophical fair” and I think they are onto something.

The thing is… If it is a platform for thinking, new projects, experiments, unestablished designers – is it really a fair? This is to me absolutely one of the most interesting questions. Look at for instance Dutch Design Week in Eindhoven, a playground for experiments and students. Look at how Maison&Objet differ itself from Paris Design Week. Even Milan does that with iSalone and Fuorisalone.

Is Stockholm Furniture Fair a design week or a fair? A fair is a platform for business and a design week is a platform for creativity, inspiration and new thinking.

Stockholm Furniture Fair has become a design week – but within a building. You could argue and say that there was a Stockholm Design Week too, but really not… A Danish journalist asked me to list the five most important design exhibitions in the city. Was there five?? I could not find five to recommend. There were product launches or brand happenings like when Iittala booked a venue and did a show. But not an exhibition.

Stockholm has now become so small that all design exhibitions now fit in the venue at Älvsjö. The majority of players that normally would do an exhibition in the city (like Anki Gneib and Mia Cullin) now participated as a cultural thing on the fair grounds.

The thing is… This might be the future. And I think the people at Stockholm Furniture Fair have invented something new. And unique.

You thought I would be negative, right? But I am actually pretty happy. The whole fair opened up with the installation from “guest of honour” Formafantasma that didn’t show any products. They showed books they thought were interesting. And this is mindblowing. Imagine a fun designer like Jaime Hayon doing an installation WITHOUT his own products. Sure, the stools from Artek and the lamps were Formafantasma – but they were secondary to the impression and the installation. It was all about thinking – not furniture.

I loved it. The book above “Black Feminist Lessons Learned from Marine Mammals”. It sounds like a fake book. But it made me smile. Finally.

And it comes down to what Sight Unseen said. Stockholm is a philosophical fair. Who needs a new chair? Perhaps the question should be asked differently.

Before we go into more details. The conclusion is that Stockholm Furniture Fair (or design week in a building) was good and new. Business was made somewhere else. Of course you can make business at places like Dutch Design Week but the reason why people like it, is because of the ideas and experiments. And that is what this is. A philosophical fair. Not business. No large brands.

In a sense Stockholm Furniture Fair have reinvented the whole fair concept – and they could be showing the future of fairs. Perhaps this is what Domotex should do? And with this in mind I do think it is relevant to talk more about the fair itself than the actual products launched.

Is this the future? Perhaps. If Stockholm Furniture Fair have stamina… People will que up for interesting design talks and inspiration. Not business.

Lets continue with some findings.

This might not be “the best” designed item but is said something about the zeitgeist we saw in Stockholm. This is in the city (the “design week”) and from Design House Stockholm. With phones constantly telling time – do we need a wallclock? Well maybe. If it is nice. And maybe it doesnt have to give exact, exact time. More of a hint. Here is it about quarter to three. Approximately.

Do we need another chair? Well maybe if it is painted as an oilpainting. By David Ericsson at the fair.

The planter bench is also about new thinking. New target groups. It was actually made for old people’s home. Also old people want to be outdoor and plant things. But I could see this everywhere. Brand Nola is behind the product. And their outdoor furniture are well established. Why not have this EVERYWHERE? I want to have one at Odenplan so I can arrange my plants there. Or why not have it double as an office desk at Djurgården? I would love to take my Teams’ meetings outdoor.

Or Japanese brand Ishinomaki Laboratory who are doing their take in the Enzo Mari chair. No, you don’t build it on your own. A local carpenter builds it with local materials.

These two pictures will have to represent the project in the region of Västra Götaland. The project was to pair small scale craft industries with new designers. Above picture is not a pepper grinder but actually a tool to work your arms since we sit by our computers too much. Below obviously tiles. By Spok and Folk&Form.

Everyone is already in love with this chair. So am I. Able from Blå Station. The new thinking is that you can upgrade it. Want to feel fancy? Add leather armrest. Or wheels. But seriously, if the canvas gets damaged it is easy to replace yourself. Don’t buy new. Use what you have.

And I am obsessed with this. Swedish brand Mitab. They work in contract. They are often asked to repair instead of doing new things. As one should do. And now they publicly say that they can repair not only their own things – but everyone elses things too. So, buy a new sofa from Mitab, or have them repair your old one.

This is new thinking. I love it.

Trend 1 – overuse of materials (chunky)

Many things launched were super chunky. Like they are using more materials than they have to. Everything can absolutely be made from sustainable materials or sustainable production. Absolutely. But its like it is an obsessive use. We talk about obesity in the western world. Is this the equivalent for the design industry. Is it healthy?

I must compare to the easy chair Åke Axelsson presented at Sebastian Schild. Here a minimalistic approach to materials. And sustainable.

Yellow easy chair system by Johanson Design, chunky chair from Alexander Lervik and Gustav Winsth, chunky door at Ung Svensk Form, red chunky sofa by Lammhults, oversized wooden chair by Vaarni,

2. Black

We have seen it at some of the other fairs already but black as a colour will be strong. I see it both as a reaction to all colourful design pieces we’ve seen, but also as an 80s or 90s reference. Here table by Bursell/Svedborg.

Black new chair by David Ericsson for Atelier Sandemar.

Black and basic collection by Mitab.

Black shelves by Karl Andersson & Söner.

Black sand. 3D printed by Alexander Lervik for Reform Design Lab

Yann Design Studio

Marco Compardo for Hem.

More Hem.

3D printed chair by Interesting Times Gang

Staffan Holm for Tre Sekel (really my favourite furniture of the whole week)

Luca Bichetto for Edsbyn.

3. Playful wood

With “playful wood” I mean that the exhibitors at the fair showed a lot of stuff that was quirky and fun. Not serious and minimalistic. More curves. I didn’t take a picture of either Slöydlab’s chair or Anki Gneib/Mia Cullin’s “Sphere” but they are also part of this trend. Nothing straight.

Most photopgraphed furniture piece at the fair. The stool or bench by Finnish HongKong designer Dd Ng.

At Hem.

Korean brand Wekino.

A great bed sofa by Nadén.

Bursell/Svedborg again.

Two projects from Konstfack.

Sofa tables at Hem.

Fradrik Paulsen at Bukowskis.

Finn Ahlgren and his Nöj Dig project.

Even coloured wood in a playful manor. Nice looking but not really durable… If you know, you know. By Anna Herrmann for String.

4. Retro

Also as an over all theme for the fairs this winter is retro. Everything is something you have seen before. Calming, nostalgic and colourful. Here carpets at Kasthall.

Colours and stools/tables at Johanson Design.

Stamuli

Konstfack project. It is supposed to look like a classical Svenskt Tenn cabinet but made of new materials. But very retro.

Relaunch of Gunnar Asplund for Källemo at Auktionsverket.

And I am ending with this. A piece that combines new thinking and retro. At Lumberyard Project..They found old, classical wood boxes that have aged in the sun. And then the build a base to it, so it is elevated and becomes a sidetable. Instead of throwing away – build a base. I like that.

5 2 votes
Article Rating
Subscribe
Notify of
guest

1 Comment
oldest
newest most voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Gunnar
Gunnar
3 months ago

nice report and I like your thoughts about fairs and design weeks … fairs need to transform, need to change, it is obvious!