New Nordic, Old Nordic, Soft Nordic, and Nordic Minimalism were all given floor space at the biggest event celebrating Scandinavian design, the Stockholm Furniture and Light Fair, held February 5-10. More than 650 exhibitors filled the halls of Stockholmsmässan, with upwards of 80 percent of them based in region; this is, after all, a furniture show that still represents Scandinavian craftsmanship.
Interior Design Hall of Fame member Neri & Hu was this year’s guest of honor. The award-winning Chinese design and architecture studio created a site-specific installation, called The Unfolding Village, addressing the issue of the disappearing village culture in China. Inspired by the “alleyways and street life of clan-based villages,” the team created an impressive black-timber structure, which folded to create a maze of rows and dead ends that revealed Neri & Hu designs inside.
The enduring appeal of Nordic design is often attributed to its simplicity, minimalist approach, and the quality of its materials. However, the industry’s sustainable production methods—which are inherently part of the Scandinavian way of life—proved that protecting natural resources is a successful formula. Winner of the Best Stand Award, Baux, revealed a line of biodegradable acoustic panels, called Baux Acoustic Pulp. The 100 percent bio-based product is a paper-like material developed with Swedish industrial design studio Form Us With Love in collaboration with scientists from the Royal Institute of Technology (KTH).
Product sustainability was championed in a quiet, unassuming Swedish way at Blå Station, which displayed its new Bob Home sofa. Meanwhile at Nordgrona, which makes sound absorbers from Reindeer Moss, the sustainably harvested product was gaining attention for its colorful display. Norwegian brand Flokk offered its latest chairs alongside the raw materials from which they are made, highlighting that it uses 95 percent post-consumer recycled materials in all of its aluminium parts. Green-minded international furniture manufacturers were not left out either, with Emeco, whose product range is made of post-industrial waste, presenting their collection on a minimal and ultimately reusable stand.
The annual Greenhouse exhibit attracted the participation of 37 designers and design groups showcasing up-and-coming talents and their prototypes.
This year also saw the unveiling of a new award: Born Classic. Given to a Scandinavian piece of furniture or lighting that has qualities that could make it a design classic of the future, the inaugural award went to a mirror produced by Swedese and designed by Front.
Outside the fair in the wider Stockholm Design week, which brings together a variety of spaces, exhibitions, and events, snowy conditions did not deter the design-hungry cognoscenti. Färg & Blanche’s installation “The Baker's House” showcased the designers’ works over two floors of a historical townhouse built in 1889. Across the city, the Danish design studio Frama presented its latest collections in the newly renovated offices of Andreas Martin-Löf, set in a modernist building overlooking the water.