Mural Dressing by Josefine Gennert Jakobsson from Young Swedish Design exhibition

Stockholm´s groove

Stockholm Design Week, 5 – 11 February 2018

Stockholm Design Week is growing every year, confirming a trend that is defining it as a major event to pin on the yearly design calendar and a place to launch new lighting and contract furnishing. It is also the ideal scenario to get a first glance update about the new Scandinavian creative names around, and to find out about projects that range from architecture to porcelain hipster figurines.

Patrizia Coggiola February 2018
Stockholm Design Week, initiated by the parallel Stockholm Furniture & Light Fair in 2002, welcomed more than 200 design events to the capital of Sweden at the beginning of February. Throughout, light is one of the core themes, as evidenced by just one of the initiatives of the Design Week, which presented the Light House installation in the central Kungsträdgården square, a project in collaboration with Ames Studio and Philips. There they created a platform that became an interactive digital portal and opened a dialogue on how light and information will work in the future. As a Nordic design studio, Ames concentrated on the need to contrast darkness. ‘We see the importance in spreading awareness of light in the public space because it will be more involved when building cities. We are approaching a smart city mentality and we see that light can create dialogue, safe spaces for interaction, and it can warn the public as well as assist the city's communication,’ explains Amanda Ames, creative director and founder.
Light House installation, a project in collaboration with Ames Studio and Philips.
Design weeks around the world often have two audiences: the public eye and the inner circle. Here the idea was to welcome everyone to take part, and also step into a space that invited interaction and enlightenment. At the Stockholm Furniture & Light Fair, art & design duo Folkform curated and designed an interesting exhibition stand for Örsjö Belysning. Founded in 1948, the Örsjö lamp factory is situated in the southeast corner of Småland. The new Örsjö collection has been developed collaboratively between craftsmen and designers, and Folkform invited documentary photographer Magnus Laupa to follow the process, with the resulting images presented in the exhibition. ‘We are interested in the intimate connection between hand and head in the manufacturing process, and this is something we want to highlight. For us, the documentation of these traditions and the practical method of making have become just as important as the finished design itself,’ says Anna Holmquist, a designer who co-founded Folkform with Chandra Ahlsell.
Exhibition stand for Örsjö Belysning by Folkform
Elsewhere, The Royal Academy of Fine Arts, Konstakademien, presented the exhibition INSIDE architecture by Åke Axelsson, Jonas Bohlin and Mats Theselius. All three are interior architects and elected members of the Royal Academy. According to editor Kerstin Wickman, ‘The common theme is the interplay between space, interior design and furniture. The work of an interior architect requires a holistic talent.’ But if you really wanted to pick the ultimate berry on the Swedish creative basket, then you had to head out to Thielska Galleriet, where post-modern hipster figurines were on show. Having opened in the winter of 2017, the exhibition saw Alexander Tallén put his porcelain preeners in the dome room of the gallery, where they sat in dialogue with the paintings of Karl-Axel Pehrson from 1978. The imaginary plants and animals from Pehrson's painting surrounded Tallén’s thoughtful men in a landscape reminiscent of reality, but opening up to the dreamlike and mysterious vacuity of our times.
Lambert & Fils and Guillaume Sasseville at the Axel Arigato Gallery
Another highlight of the event was the Ariake collection presented in an old residential apartment dating back to 1896, a location that formerly served as the Mexican Embassy. The unusually raw backdrop of the walls and decorations left unfinished certainly set a precedence in the Scandinavian styling trend, which has not yet fully engaged in the ´non finito´ look of interior finishing. The Japanese Ariake brand was founded by Legnatec and Hirata Chair, two factories from the furniture-producing town of Morodomi, and where its collection emerged after two intensive workshops immersed European designers and art directors with local culture and crafts. A story of meeting and interlace also resulted in the green-tinged Symbiosis, where the collaboration of Lambert & Fils with Guillaume Sasseville for its Mile Collection was interpreted in a special installation at the Axel Arigato Gallery by Scandinavian HAHA design studio and florist Christoffers Blommor.
Alexander Tallén in Thielska Galleriet
During the week, the Part Projects space presented the work and objects by a selection of designers, including Färg & Blanche. After sewing in wood, the Swedish-French design duo, Fredrik Färg and Emma Marga Blanche, turned their heavy-duty sewing machine to metal, being the first to create new furniture by stitching in metal directly with a sewing machine. A new innovation, adding a new feeling to upholstered furniture by applying metal at the surface. Form Us With Love was also in experimental mood. Since last winter, the design studio has engaged in an interesting three-way collaboration, named Testing Grounds. In an ambition to involve both end-user and manufacturer in the design process, FUWL installed two work-in-progress collections made with Polish design brand MDD in the main lobby of A house, a vibrant co-working space in Stockholm. A brutalist setting in the very heart of residential Stockholm, during the evenings of the Design Week, the location hosted Prototypa, a series of exhibitions and talks that unveiled the design process behind FUWL’s latest projects, in collaboration with moderator Lia Forslund.
INSIDE architecture exhibition view by Åke Axelsson, Jonas Bohlin and Mats Theselius
To discover the super fresh personalities within the young Swedish design arena, you had to visit Young Swedish Design at the ArkDes museum. The exhibition was a window towards the future, and the show runs until 18 March. ‘Perhaps the tactile and the link between hand and thought are even more important now, at a time when digitisation takes such a great place in many people's lives,’ said Mats Widbom, president of Swedish Form. Among the designs were Matilda Norberg’s collection Earth’s Crust – Material rules, which studies knitting as a technique; Björn Friborg’s sculpture of a frozen moment, Implosion; and Hemmo Honkonen’s Audible Furniture that produces sounds when used.