The 2020 edition of Stockholm Design Week and the Furniture and Light Fair, succeeds in melding the past, present and future of design.
This year marks the 70th anniversary of the Stockholm Furniture and Light Fair – a furniture fair, which started as a humble showcase of local Scandinavian design has now evolved into a gathering of influential players in the global design industry.
The 2020 edition of the Stockholm Furniture and Light Fair that kicked-off on 3rd February and concluded on 9th February, was discerningly supported by Stockholm Design Week – the yearly design celebration, which was introduced in 2002.
While the furniture fair brought the best from across the world under one roof – with a special focus on the companies from Scandinavian countries – the Stockholm Design Week offered a smorgasbord of events and interesting installations that were sprinkled across various venues from galleries, showrooms to museums and institutions.
This year’s showcasing witnessed riveting disclosures about global megatrends, an earnest celebration of craftsmanship, exploration of new hybrids in space design, as well as focus on sustainability with the introduction of new bio-materials and products.
London-based design studio Doshi Levien was the Guest of Honour at Stockholm Furniture & Light Fair 2020 and was given the responsibility to highlight the narrative of the show through their exhibit in the entrance hall. For the exhibit, the Indian-British duo scaled-up models that they had made for their previous works. The labyrinth of connected vaulted spaces constructed in wood, provided insights into their creative process, revealing for the very first time, their drawings and prototypes along with the actual production pieces.
They chose to leave the wood untreated and sourced the material locally to minimise transportation. With the bare skin, Nipa and Jonathan wished to reveal the contrast between prototyping and the finished product, and also highlight the behind-the-scene action that leads to all the sleek and trendy designs that earn their display spot at the exhibition.
To commemorate the 70th anniversary of the fair, design journalist Dan Gordan was invited to curate an exhibition that honours some famous and some lesser known classics in Scandinavian design, which have fundamentally defined the past seven decades of design in Sweden. Timeless designs and even a few future classics were put together in the ’70 Scandinavian Design’ exhibition.
In 2019, an exclusive design prize called ‘Born Classic’ was introduced at the event to honour a design worthy of being recognised as tomorrow’s design classic. This year the coveted prize went to Åsa Jungnelius’s playful kaleidoscopic coffee table ‘Ettore’.
Greenhouse has been one of the most popular segment of the fair since its inception in 2003. As its tagline ‘where the wild grows’ suggests, Greenhouse is a platform for all the rookies to showcase their talent. Just like the greenhouse ‘where seeds grow and wild ideas thrive’, here promising youth from design schools and young designers compete to present and launch their ideas in the market. Form Us With Love and GamFratesi are few of the popular names that have their roots here.
This year’s Stockholm Design & Architecture Talks 2020 series included over 40 programmed events with as many as 100 contributors. Compelling conversations about sustainability shed light on the dire need for change in approach, materiality, and production in the design industry, where influential speakers even boldly stated ‘End the excuses’. Insights about the emerging possibilities of hybrid spaces as well as some concise low-down on the future trends and technological advancement in the industry, were shared.
Some thought-provoking installations, like Note Design’s recyclable exhibit ‘Natural Bond’, explored circular economy and featured geometric shapes held together by straps, whereas Norwegian brand, Vestre won the best stand award for its installation featuring ‘re-usable materials and information about the carbon footprint of every product’.
Swedish designer Fredrik Paulsen was entrusted with the task of designing the ‘Design Bar’. Every year, the Design Bar strives to explore contemporary aesthetics and gastronomy; and staying true to the ideology, Fredrik achieved a socialising space that’s open, welcoming, carnival-like, and yet not conventionally busy in design. The pop of colour and the play of simple planes is reminiscent of Luis Barragan’s work.
The Archive exhibition, one of the events of the Stockholm Design Week’s line-up, explored ‘shared aesthetics and values’ of Japanese and Scandinavian design and was hosted at the city’s 19th century Gamla Riksarkivet.
It was the first time this listed building lent its space for a public event, and it’s classic elegance beautifully contrasted with the modernist designs of the Japanese furniture company Ariake, ceramic studio 2016/Arita, Danish furniture makers Friends and Founders, and lighting brand Le Klint.
Text By Shweta Salvi