3 Days of Design 2024 – rain and rejection

The Danish design festival for 2024. Here is the first report with an overview and a critical point of view.

The headline should get attention. Rain and rejection. I came to Copenhagen on Monday last week and knew that the week would be rainy. Rain affects the mood. Damp, cold, warm, humid, wet and simply irritated. Previous years we had wonderful weather. Everyone was out and happy. What about this year? Grumpy and rainy?

As said, I came to Denmark and it actually turned out that we CAN handle a bit of drizzle. No one was irritated.

What about rejection then? The design week is growing. I would say that 100 % of all the brands I meet want to be part of 3 Days of Design. Yes, 100 %. The design week have now doubled in size this year. Last year 200 exhibitors and this year 400 participants. And I know that the organisers try to avoid too many brands onboard. Someone said 300 companies had been rejected.  300 brands with rejection. Of course I expected people to walk the streets and be grumpys.

Rain and rejection.

But it worked out really well. There weren’t any grumpy people. Despite rain and despite rejections. The short comment is that I give this 10 out of 10. The week has grown. My comment to the organisers is that this is the max. I hear rumours that there might be 500 exhibitors next year, but please no. We want this to be three days. Not three and a half. Or four days.

What I really, really, really liked is how the organiser have made this a Scandinavian design activity. People are mainly here to see design from this region. And with a line up of brands from all over the world wanting to attend this design festival, the organisers keep them at an arm’s length. Yes, of course there are Italian, German, French and Canadian (!!) brands – but they don’t take over. It’s not a Moroso or Foscarini Festival.

I am super happy.

What about content? The event takes place in June and perhaps this is an off season but I absolutely saw new things from brands that blew my mind. On my top three list below I have a new sofa from Vitra and a new chair from Massproductions. These are not “inbetween season” launches but actually proper and super good.

However. A sign of warning. A lot of the established Danish brands are still obsessed in relaunching classics – but the audience didn’t really fall for this 2024. Stop this now. Simply stop. We are done with re editions. Noone remembers a brand doing re launches. Yes, I am looking at you Gubi, &Tradition, Fritz Hansen, Warm Nordic, Fredericia, Finn Juhl, Carl Hansen & Sön, FDB and even Nordiska Galleriet and Vaarni. Stop re editions. You can actually see that people aren’t reposting your old classics on social media. Simply because noone really cares.

Picture of Paulin at Gubi.

Speaking of things that people didn’t like. IKEA. Noone liked the IKEA initiative and exhibition. Nope. Not a single person. Perhaps because they were hosting the sustainability initiative and it looked messy like this. I think it was supposed to make people calm – but white is not a calming colour. If they would have done it in beige it would have been a little bit better. Nope, noone liked IKEA.

But as a conclusion. We are done with old classics. There is a shift now. Or as one exhibition at Refshaleöen said “Try New Things”.

Scandinavia

Scandinavia or Scandinavian is nice. 3 Days of Design is a Scandinavian platform. As I said, it is evident that they try to keep other international players at an arm’s length.

Being Swedish I am proud to see all these players. I think this design week somehow is building our selfesteem. If the design week is good – then we are good. And it is good. I of course include the Baltic states, Finland and Iceland in Scandinavian design. There weren’t that many Baltic designers but there were visitors (I saw you Aurimas). This is all of our design week.

I attended a breakfast at scent and beauty brand Skandinavisk and the Brittish founder talked warmly about this region. I am not 100 % sure about the numbers but he said things that everyone in Scandinavia lives 5 km from water (or closer), Half of the Danish population lives on islands. If you enter a forest at the tips of southern Sweden, you can walk in the same woods all the way up to the arctic circle. These things are unique and affects our mindset. And he talked about us Scandinavians being professionals at living in the moment. We don’t plan for a thing in six months, but rather enjoy a cinnamon roll now. We are better at doing fika, hygge, mysa and koselig than other people. Casual and nice.

And I loved that.

This 3 Days of Design showed that Scandinavian design is a force to recon with. And I am so proud to be part of this.

Ten out of ten point. Despite rain and rejected brands.

Points for coming years. Scandinavian design tends to be extremely homogenous. So is 3 Days of Design. Extremely white and middle class. There are some people of colour like Josephine at File under Pop but very few others. Same thing with people that openly identifies as being part of the LGBT society. I wish we had a Sebastian Herkner for the Scandinavian region. Or Colin King (who participated 2023 at Audo). Sometimes I wish Scandinavia had people like Adam Nathaniel Furman. We have the design duo Swedish Girls who is challanging norms but they were not at 3 Days of Design this year. Julius at Tableau is always including designers with a LGBT background like Leo Maher, but more Scandinavians please.

More diversity and more new thinking.

Now over to my top things from the design week.

  1. 1. Faye Toogood.
  2. Faye Toogood had two installations that were much talked about. First we see pictures at gallery Rue Vert. What is interesting is how she is adding new aesthetics and feeling to pieces preciously launched. Basically saying “you don’t need new stuff – just new context”.
  3. A bit of the same energy at Frama where Faye simply painted raw boards. Nothing fancy. Just new emotions.
  4. I am not here to do a trend summary but there is absolutely something happening where designers are adding sketches and art in their installations. It’s like they are trying to move from functionality and into something else. Maybe colourful. But absolutely more artistic.

Kind of the same thing with this installation at Dusty Deco. Look at the patterns of the carpet mismatching the sofa that is mismatching the painting. But all lovely. Everyone I showed this picture to, loved this. No more Scandinavian beige minimalism and into something else.

2. Vitra and Panter&Tourron

I was so taken by this sofa that I actually took only one bad picture. But the concept is fairly easy. It’s a sofa. There are many things I like about it. One thing is that they are using a fairly unknown design studio. The design world today is all about established names like Bouroullec or Urquiola. So boring. And here comes two new people. Big love.

But more details to love.

The sofa is mobile. Normally I don’t believe in mobility but here it kind of made sense. We see more and more sofas that adopt to our new way of hanging out infront of a tv. We talk, snapchat and keep an eye on the tv. With this sofa you can move the backrest as per how you want to sit. It looked really super easy.

And made of 79% reused material. Even the plastic is reused. And as you and I know – reused plastic looses stability. But when the designer took a sidetable and moved it to the front of the sofa – he plainly stepped up on the table to show the stability and durability of the reused plastic. I shouted “wow”.

It’s Vitra, with new names and 79% reused materials. Of course I love this.

3. Massproductions

I mean – this chair. Come on. Smack me in the face. For the first time in a long time we see a plain wooden chair with a strong identity of it’s own. The top of the back leg is slightly twisted from the bottom back leg. It’s a movement. Like a twirl or dance. But also aesthetically kind of folklore. The designer Chris Martin talked about how you could colour the bottom half of the back leg in a different colour from the twisted top half. Shut up – this is nice. I don’t think I have seen anything so innovative and strong in this category since Anna von Schewen and her Twist chair for Gärsnäs. Big love. I am totally sure that this will win all the design prizes in Sweden this year. “Furniture of the year”, etc, etc.

4. Noma projects

Please send EVERY design manager and designer to Noma Projects at Refeshaleoen. Everyone knows Noma, the established restaurant that has been named “best restaurant in the world” a few times. At Noma Projects they do research and play to find new flavours, new textures etc. We were shown how they take algeas from Japan, wet them, dried them and vaporated the water to find a new kind of liqorice salt that gives new flavour to dessert and sallads. The whole destination breathed playfulness and new thinking. Or as the sign on the door said: “Try New Things” and 2024 is really the year when we want to try new things. Go here and be inspirered of their strategy and way of thinking.

5. Juslin Maunula

Finnish design studio Juslin Maunula have a new way of working with sustainability and waste. These fabrics were found in a warehouse. Not used and left to be forgotten. What they did was salvage it and dye and colour it. It is beautiful and great. You could argue that these fabrics found, will only be available for a short time. But I think that is interesting and fun. It makes it limited. Like how Swedish fashion brand Benim Denim said that they would only use 170 meters of denim, and after that they will close the fashionbrand. Provocative and interesting. Regardless – this Finnish colourful project was gorgeous and sustainable.

Did you see what I just did? Listing my five favourites from 3 Days of Design I included Sweden, Finland, Denmark but also international projects with people from Great Britain and Switzerland. This is what 3 Days of Design is. Amazing design from all over the world but with focus on Scandinavian design. And I love it.

5 4 votes
Article Rating
Subscribe
Notify of
guest

2 Comments
oldest
newest most voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Holly Becker
2 days ago

I wonder who did the IKEA installation, do you know? Was it only a bed in the wild? Or was there more to it than that?