Review of Stockholm Furniture & Light Fair 2018, Stockholm, Sweden

Stockholm Furniture & Light Fair, was held from February 6 to 10, 2018. Stockholm Furniture & Light Fair is the world’s largest meeting place for Scandinavian furniture and lighting design. Domestic and international visitors find the most comprehensive selection of Scandinavian furniture, office furnishings, design, textiles, lighting and other interior furnishings for both homes and public spaces.

Stockholm Furniture & Light Fair has developed tremendously over the last few years. It has become much more international, and that makes it even more important for us Scandinavian designers to take part. To meet up with like-minded and get inspired by the latest in Scandinavian design, with easy access to both designers and decision makers, get an overview of all that’s new and upcoming within the field of Scandinavian furniture and lighting design.

Stockholm Furniture & Light Fair continues to grow and strengthen its position as the world’s largest meeting place for Scandinavian furniture and lighting design. The 2018 edition of Stockholm Furniture & Light Fair (SFLF) draws buyers, architects, designers and journalists from more than 100 countries. The fair saw a total of 31 percent overseas visitors representing a record number of 100 countries. Most visitors hailed from Norway, Finland, Denmark and the UK.

Stockholmsmässan, which is Scandinavia’s largest exhibition and congress center, organized its first furniture fair in 1951. Since then the fair has grown into what is generally considered as one of the two top-notch furniture fairs in Europe – the other one being Salone del Mobile in Milan. Today the fair attracts around 40,000 visitors from more than 60 countries and over 1,100 media representatives every year, and around 750 companies exhibit their furniture, lighting and textile products. The largest exhibitor nations, apart from Sweden, are Denmark, Finland and Norway, and usually around 80 percent of all exhibitors come from Scandinavia.

Stockholm Furniture & Light Fair is the world’s leading event for Scandinavian furniture and lighting design. Domestic and international visitors find the most comprehensive selection of Scandinavian furniture, office furnishings, design, textiles, lighting and other interior furnishings for both homes and public spaces.The fair’s exhibitions feature a lot of wood and visitors was able to listen to lectures by internationally acclaimed designers and architects.

During Stockholm Furniture & Light Fair, Stockholmsmässan’s 70,000 square meters are full to bursting point with the latest innovations within interior design and lighting for both homes and public spaces. New products, new materials, new knowledge, new trends, new business, new contacts and new environmental and technological solutions are displayed in a both informative and inspirational manner. The exhibitions are of the highest rate and the seminar program is extensive. The first days of the fair are restricted to professional visitors while the concluding Saturday also is open to the general public.

The fair is full to bursting point with the latest innovations within interior design and lighting for both homes and public spaces. New products, new materials, new knowledge, new trends and new environmental and technological solutions are displayed in a both informative and inspirational manner. The same week as Stockholm Furniture & Light Fair there also Stockholm Design Week, presenting more than 200 high profile design events at various venues around the city.

Scandinavian Design is always on Trend, This year’s fair was a source of great excitement and feature much that is new. There’s a huge appreciation and resurgence of classic design. Anniversaries of original designs. Brands releasing new products that were originally designed by the designer. Including classic designs in new material finishes. The respect for these pioneering designers from the 1930’s – 60’s is humbling and inspiring.

Traditionally, the Scandinavian style has typically been pale and light; however, this year we saw deeper, bolder hues and strong accent colours. Colour was a feature in some designs, When looking at minimalist designs, the tones were warm, earthy browns, oak, walnut, rust and beige.

Art led design. From lighting, plinths, furniture to oversized abstract paintings. Inspired by or even collaborating with artists, there are lots of companies out there creating this aesthetic. Authenticity, individuality and ownership are becoming increasingly relevant. There were also displays of brand identity. Styled exhibition stands depicting the story of the brand. Also historical references, focussing on materials, craftsmanship and linking back to their flagship stores.

The taste for mid-century modern furniture is showing no signs of slowing down, with several classic designs and vintage-inspired items relaunched at Stockholm this year. In line with the increasing trend for softer, more natural interiors, this year’s fair saw a revival in the trend for woven textures and bold, tactile effects.

As design becomes more environmentally driven, brands are beginning to look for ways to reduce their impact on the environment and minimize waste. The lighting industry is experiencing a period of major change, as the energy-e cient LED technology creates the opportunity for new solutions which it was previously not possible to achieve. Our designers are now able to create completely new shapes for our products, and we can now control not only the intensity of the light but also its color.

The energy-e ciency of the LED lamps also alleviates our guilty consciences about the environmental impact. If it is also the case that a new LED light tting can replace a lamp that uses the old technology, this de nitely be bene cial to the environment.

The Stockholm Furniture Fair showcases the latest trends and innovative new products in design, and acts as a melting pot for buyers, architects, designers, press and influencers from around the world. New Nordic, Old Nordic, Soft Nordic, and Nordic Minimalism were all given floor space at the biggest event celebrating Scandinavian design, a furniture show that still represents Scandinavian craftsmanship.

This annual furniture and lighting exhibition is the largest in Scandinavia, showcasing hundreds exhibitors including brands. Showcasing innovative product prototypes, the fair’s Greenhouse platform invites unknown and emerging designers and design schools from all over the world. The fair also coincides with Stockholm Design Week, which hosts over 400 design-related events throughout the city.

Guest of Honor: Paola Navone
One of the highlights at the fair is the Guest of Honour, a highly respected international designer or design group who is asked to create an installation in the fair’s entrance hall. Other highlights are the Greenhouse section, where new talents are given the chance to show their prototypes and meet manufacturers from the furniture industry, and the Stockholm Design & Architecture Talks, the Fair’s forum for knowledge and discussions concerning design. The theme of the upcoming Stockholm Design & Architecture Talks is “Visionary Thinking”.

This year’s Guest of Honour is practically impossible to define in professional terms. The multi-talented Italian Paola Navone shifts seamlessly between her numerous roles as an architect, designer, artistic leader, interior designer, critic, teacher, event organizer and curator of exhibitions. This e¡ortless transcending of boundaries mirrors the way in which she moves across the borders between the world’s various countries and cultures. A cosmopolitan, in the truest sense of the word.

The Design Bar – Ratatouille Arena
One of the major changes this year is that the Design Bar is moving to the Victoria Hall, where it was integrated with Stockholm Design & Architecture Talks, forming a completely new area for discussion, food and meetings. The Design Bar, which is a mix between an exhibition and a top-class restaurant, forms a common area together with Stockholm Design & Architecture Talks.

The total area of the combined food and discussion venue in the Victoria Hall is fully 2,000 m2, of which the restaurant part accounts for 600 m2. The décor is completely unaffected by prevailing color trends, the white base is complemented with features in natural materials. Luca Nichetto explains that he has studied which architectural elements have the ability to create space by only using the floor.

Be inspired at Greenhouse – where seeds grow and wild ideas thrive. This is one of Stockholm Furniture & Light Fair’s most popular and written-about areas. Here, design schools and promising young designers from around the world compete for the chance to present their work and meet future partners, manufacturers and the media.

In order to provide this exciting section for young and up-and-coming designers with a better-defined setting and to bring everything together, the whole section has been moved this year to Hall C. The new Greenhouse area constitute an attractive focus area and create a positive dynamic throughout the hall.

Greenhouse is Stockholm Furniture & Light Fair’s arena for independent designers and students. 39 independent designers and 27 design schools from 17 countries are taking part in this year’s edition. The jury that selected this year’s participants from the applicant pool of designers and schools consisted of Anya Sebton, interior architect and designer, Jens Fager, designer, John Löfgren, designer and Monica von Schmalensee, architect.

Trend exhibition EN–AW 6062
In the EN–AW 6062 trend exhibition, Christian and Ruxandra Halleröd draw attention to a topic that is a defi nite talking point within the industry: fake material. There has been an increased interest in the fundamental, authentic materials such as wood, metal, glass and leather, as well as in the craftsmanship involved in working with these materials. At the same time, however, these ‘authentic’ materials are beginning to be in short supply, or their use has become ethically indefensible. The crux of the matter is that they must be replaced by artificial imitations.

In the EN-AW 6082 exhibition, Christian and Ruxandra illustrate these trends by displaying material in monumental objects which explore these themes. The exhibition is a collaboration with the Materials Library.

The Pop-up Shop
Many visitors appreciate the possibility of being able to purchase design objects at the fair. Pop-up Shop is run this year by Lisa Karlsson, uMe projects. Soraya has many years of experience of being an interior designer and stylist in Stockholm, and has also run a vintage store in the capital. Lisa has worked within retail for a long time, and currently runs the uMe store in Umeå.

Design Studio Area
Design Studio Area is a platform dedicated to small-scale productions and one-o products. The aim is to promote diversity in the industry and to encourage designers’ own small-scale production lines. Design Studio Area is an area vibrant with exhibitions and producers focused on the contract market/design for public spaces. The exhibitors in Design Studio Area are primarily oriented toward design for public spaces. The area is open to all interested design studios through-out the world. In order to qualify as an exhibitor, design studios must have been active in the industry for at least three years.

Editors’ Choice Award
Stockholm Furniture & Light Fair’s award – Editors’ Choice – was handed out for the third consecutive year. The jury consists of Editors-in-Chief from several of Europe’s most important design forums. The 2018 jury consists of Marcus Fairs,Dezeen; Adeline Seidel, Stylepark; Donatella Bollani, Domus and Costas Voyatzis, Yatzer.

Winner of the Editors’ Choice Award, Jin Kuramoto, revealed a sustainable product with an innovative use of fabric as a structural material, expressed in a novel form.

The Best Stand Award
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, Tarkett, revealed an intelligent three-dimensional way of displaying a two-dimensional product, and a clever architectural use of space.

The fair’s forum for knowledge and discussions within the area of design and architecture is visited by influential guests, listening to the market, talking to knowledgeable people within the business, and drawing inspiration from leading agents in the industry. The fair are continuing to develop our investment in knowledge and skills. Stockholm Design & Architecture Talks, the fair’s forum for knowledge and discussion, was being extended from four to five days. Thee theme for this year is “Visionary Thinking”. The talks forum was introduced in a new area in the Victoria Hall.

Piet Hein Eek
Piet Hein Eek established his own studio in 1992 and built his business around the reuse of old materials. Eek’s creations are a reaction against the prevailing consumer demand for flawless, mass-produced furniture. He wants to show that objects created with obvious imperfections can be both attractive and functional. He achieves this by reversing modern production methods: beginning with abundant materials that have been discarded, and by using simple production methods and investing as much labor as possible into the creative process, he makes pieces of furniture that are completely unique. To Eek, discarded, scarred wood has its own inherent beauty, and his wallpapers build on this esthetic by simply applying planks to paper.

Reiulf Ramstad
Reiulf established Reiulf Ramstad Architects (RRA) in 1995 with the aim of creating an architectural practice that would turn conceptual research and practical knowledge into driving forces for sustainable design. RRA has earned a reputation for innovative architecture and for rejecting standardized solutions. RRA is an independent Oslo-based architectural firm with a strong conceptual approach. Over the years, RRA has produced a wide range of innovative and ground-breaking projects. It has earned a reputation for creating bold, simple architecture with a strong connection to the Scandinavian context.

India Mahdavi
India Mahdavi is based in Paris, where she founded her own studio in 1999. This studio has become known for its many international projects that explore architecture, interiors, scenography, furniture and object design. At the point of intersection between architecture, fashion and art, India Mahdavi is currently working with housing and public projects around the world. Her signature has become a sign of success for famous hotels and restaurants such as Condesa DF in Mexico, Rivington in New York, Monte Carlo Beach Hotel in Monaco and The Gallery in the restaurant, Sketch, in London.

Chris Precht
In 2013, Chris Precht and Dayong Sun founded Penda with the philosophy that architecture can serve as a bridge that connects nature, culture and people to facilitate a better quality of living. By drawing on diµerent perspectives from western and eastern architectural history, Penda seeks the fundamentals in architecture.

Reinier de Graaf
Architecture, we like to believe, is an elevated art form that shapes the world as it pleases. Four Walls and a Roof challenges this notion, presenting a candid account of what it is really like to work as an architect. De Graaf shares his views on the complexities of architecture’s relationship with developers, politicians, bureaucrats, and consultants, as well as his own tragicomic experiences in the field, from suburban New York to the rubble of northern Iraq.

Fran Edgerley & James Binning
The Turner Prize-winning architecture collective Assemble is based in London and works across the fields of art, architecture and design. Assemble’s working practice seeks to address the typical disconnection between the public and the process by which places are made.

INSIDE – a discussion with Åke Axelsson, Jonas Bohlin and Mats Theselius
At the fair, a discussion was moderated by Sune Nordgren on the possibilities of interiors to create inspiring or relaxing, comfortable or challenging, surprising or welcoming environments for everyone. The INSIDE exhibition was open February 3 – March 11 at the Royal Academy of the Fine Arts and features three of the country’s leading interior architects: Åke Axelsson, Jonas Bohlin and Mats Theselius. They display their top designs for a full range of interiors as well as some of their most iconic furniture.

Bridging the gap – from design student to professional designer
A discussion with designers Jens Fager, Ulrika Ståhl Johansson, Managing Director Lammhults and Vera Kleppe and Åshild Kyte, Vera & Kyte, about the process from being a student to becoming a professional designer. What is expected of a professional designer today, and how can you, as a student, prepare yourself for the professional world?