Review of Stockholm Furniture & Light Fair 2019, Stockholm, Sweden

Stockholm Furniture & Light Fair, the world’s leading meeting place for Scandinavian design, was held from February 5 to 9, 2019. This year’s Stockholm Furniture & Light Fair features a lot of wood and the most recent trends in Scandinavian design.To meet up with like-minded and get inspired by the latest in Scandinavian design, with easy access to both designers and decision makers in the 700 exhibitor stands, get an overview of all that’s new and upcoming within the field of Scandinavian furniture and lighting design.

The 2019 edition of Stockholm Furniture & Light Fair (SFLF) draws buyers, architects, designers and journalists from more than 100 countries. The fair attracts around 40,000 visitors, and more than 30% of them are international visitors. Approximately 700 companies, 300 of which are international, have stands in Stockholmsmässan’s 70,000 sqm of exhibition space. Almost 80% of all the exhibiting companies are from Scandinavia.

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 will 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 will be 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.

Highlights
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 over 700 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: Neri&Hu
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, in Stockholmsmässan’s Entrance Hall, Lyndon Neri and Rossana Hu, who run the award-winning Chinese design and architecture office Neri&Hu, are creating an installation that highlights relevant social life culture element unique to China. 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 Design Bar – in the eye of the storm
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. Taking inspiration from Scandinavian atriums and Japanese aesthetics, the Norwegian design studio Anderssen & Voll is designing a structure in pine that encircles an intimate courtyard.

The Design Bar continues to explore contemporary aesthetics and gastronomy. The Victoria Hall hosts this fusion of a top-class restaurant with the stage for the Stockholm Design & Architecture Talks. The menu has been created by chef Frida Ronge, Culinary Director at Tak and UNN in Stockholm.

Temperament
Taking the temperature of contemporary Scandinavian design and interior architecture, with a focus on both private homes and public spaces, Temperament investigates current trends and tendencies based on the invited artist’s personal perspective and approach. This year, designer and set designer Sahara Widoff has been invited.

NM & A new collection
The exhibition depicts the process surrounding the interior design of the restaurant and the creation of 80 new interior objects, a project led by Matti Klenell, TAF Arkitekter, Carina Seth Anderssonand Stina Löfgren. The exhibition also have on display for visitors the details and processes from Wingårdhs’ work to renovate the museum. It is the designers themselves who curated and designed the exhibition at the fair, which is produced by Stockholm Furniture & Light Fair in collaboration with Architects Sweden and the Swedish Federation of Wood and Furniture Industry.

Greenhouse
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.

The annual Greenhouse exhibition represented 20 design schools with 37 designers and design groups sharing their prototypes. Photography courtesy of Stockholm Furniture and Light Fair. Greenhouse, the international platform for up-and-coming designers, continues to grow and flourish. The initiative, which was launched in 2003 and has produced such names as Front, GamFratesi and Form Us With Love, is now gaining a specially designed venue by the acclaimed Wang & Söderström.

Environmental focus at Stockholm Furniture & Light Fair
Nordic companies have come further than most in terms of environmental awareness. Stockholm Furniture & Light Fair brings together many of the most progressive and environmentally conscious companies in the furniture world. This makes the fair a unique meeting place.

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 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. The store is open when the fair is open.

Awards:
Design award: Born Classic
Born Classic is a collabo­ration between Stockholm Furniture & Light Fair and the Bukowskis auction house. The award goes to a new item of furniture or lighting that is judged to be a potential design classic of the future. The objective is to recognize and encourage good, sustainable design. The award go to a new product that has qualities that could make it a design classic.

Mirror is the winner of the design award Born Classic. Starting with a relevant and sustainable production process, Swedese and Front have created a mirror from waste material that has sculptural qualities and a strong character. Produced in a limited edition, the mirror can be a future classic and potentially a collector’s item.

Editors’ Choice Award
The jury for Stockholm Furniture & Light Fair’s award – Editors’ Choice – is composed of head editors from several of the world’s most important design forums. The award has three categories: Rising Star, Best Stand and Best Product. The 2019 jury consists of Marcus Fairs, Dezeen; Costas Voyatzis, Yatzer; Dana Tomic Hughes, Yellowtrace; and Beryl Hsu, IDEAT China. The winners was announced on the stage for Stockholm Design & Architecture Talks on Wednesday, February 6 at 2:30 p.m.

Best Performance selected by the Greenhouse jury
Greenhouse is the fair’s jury-assessed area for young and unestablished designers and design schools. In total, 37 designers/design groups and 29 design schools from 20 countries participate. The design duo Thau & Kallio is designing Greenhouse Bar and Café and an exhibition under the direction of the Materials Library. New for this Greenhouse is the award Best Performance – selected by the Greenhouse Jury, which was handed out in cooperation with Volvo Studio. The winners was announced on February 5 on the Greenhouse stage, where minitalks was held every day by Greenhouse exhibitors.

Presented for the first time in 2018, the award recognizes the product that best embodies the core values of Greenhouse: curiosity, innovation and sustainability. The objective is to encourage the designers to think about the bigger picture and present their design in a well-thought-out manner.

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, 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).

Seminars:
The fair’s forum for knowledge and discussions within the area of design and architecture is visited by influential guests such as Neri&Hu, Joel Sanders, Tom Dixon, Matali Crasset, Sabine Marcelis and David Thulstrup. This year’s theme is Challenges for the Future.

Tom Dixon: Challenges and opportunities in the design world of tomorrow
Designer Tom Dixon first saw the light of day on May 21, 1959 in Sfax, Tunisia. In 1963, his family moved to England. After high school Dixon attended the Chelsea School of Art for a short time before dropping out and earning his keep as a musician in a band and by doing odd jobs. At the beginning of the 1980s he began to produce chairs welded together out of everyday items he had salvaged – with rapidly growing success.

Matali Crasset:Design and pragmatism
As a designer has for more than a decade drawn its meaning by confronting the social terrain, which is the thought underlying Maison des Petits au Centquatre, the Le Blé en Herbe school for the town of Trébédan in Brittany, the experience of the Maison Sylvestres in the Meuse department, and elsewhere. Pragmatism is a philosophy that stresses experience and action, but also invention and creativity.

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