Stockholm Furniture Fair 2004: Featuring OFFECCT
The Stockholm Furniture Fair - Northern Europe's leading
Words by Claes Britton: Editor in Chief,
Stockholm New Magazine.
better, less colorful and more experimental - these were some of
the dominant impressions from the recently concluded Stockholm Furniture
Fair of 2003.
Stockholm Furniture Fair, held in the second week of February each
year, has always been an important event, but with the recent soaring
global interest in Swedish and Scandinavian design, the Fair too
has experienced a boom, firmly establishing itself as a main fixture
on the global design circuit, alongside Milan, London, Paris, New
York and Cologne.
increasing international attention is clearly visible in the number
of foreign guests to Stockholm during the fair, which seems to be
doubling each year, and, not least, in the dramatically increasing
international media coverage. Just like in Milan in April, albeit
on a smaller scale, Stockholm during the furniture fair has become
an animated focal point for the global design tribe, not just out
in the fair premises but all over the city, where all showrooms
are open with fresh exhibitions, with plenty of parties and events
going on each night of the week. Especially notable this year was
the large number of Japanese guests - the fruit of the past years«
intense cultural exchange between Sweden and Japan.
not only in quantity, however, that The Stockholm Furniture Fair
is growing. The past years have seen a radical upgrading in the
quality of the new designs presented, as well as in the visual presentations.
After some years of indicisiveness, the Swedish furniture industry,
centered in the Småland region in southern Sweden, is now capitalizing
on the Swedish design boom in a big way. Major companies such as
Swedese, Offecct, Lammhults, Gärsnäs and many more have
joined Källemo and smaller independent producers the likes of Asplund,
David design in the frontline and are now pushing each other in
the quest for ever newer and sharper designs, by international
as well as Swedish.
total, there were 765 exhibiting companies, about 300 of which were
international, the rest Swedish. Naturally, the biggest exhibiting
nations besides Sweden were neighbors Finland, Denmark and Norway,
in that order, followed by design superpower Italy.
interest from international exhibitors is growing quickly, but this
is still not a prime focus for us," says Charlotte Melander at The
Stockholm Furniture Fair. "Our fair is, and should continue to be,
primarily the main event for Nordic design. This is the unique selling
point which attracts the international audience."
general impression of this year's fair was that the overall quality
was far higher and more solid than ever before. With the trend shifts
in the design industry approaching those seen in the fashion scene,
the visitor noted that last year«s bright colors had been largely
replaced by a more classic and sophisticated color scale, dominated
by black, white and natural woods. A more subtle and surprising
trend was the number of pieces with twisted shapes that was simply
too great to be a mere coincidence.
most high-profiled designers were once again the dynamic trio Claesson
Koivisto Rune, with new designs for an array of the leading producers.
Sweden«s biggest name in the international design world, Thomas
Sandell, kept a somewhat more subdued if still very prominent presence.
were pleased to note that the fair administration this year had
been very ambitious in the extra exhibitions and events it put on
for the visitors. The biggest and most publicized novelty was the
"Greenhouse" in the 1,500 square meter Victoria Hall, where specially
invited, unestablished designers and students from design schools
from Sweden, Japan, Israel, Denmark, Italy and Great Britain showcased
a plethora of wild and exciting new ideas. The designs of the young
groups Industrious Designers from Israel and Sputnik from Japan
were among the fair's favorite conversation topics.
of several much appreciated exhibits was "Made in Sweden", featuring
a selection of pieces by Swedish designers
for international companies, together with objects by international
designers for Swedish companies. In a globalized design world, it
was perhaps not so surprising to learn that the latter, the furniture
designed by leading international artists for Swedish companies,
were the more "Scandinavian looking" of these two categories.
prizes were awarded during the fair. Leading Swedish interiors magazine
Skšna Hem«s design prize went to the stool "Twister" (evidently
with a twisted shape) by Japanese designer Yurioko Takahashi for
Swedese, while Matti Klinell received design magazine Forum's +1
diploma for his lamp "Kapoor", inspired by the Indian artist with
the same name, for the small producer …rsjš belysning AB. Other
much talked about new pieces were Thomas Sandell's table for Asplund
(actually an old design from 1992), Claesson Koivisto Rune«s table
"Brasilia", and the imposing armchair by Björn Dahlström (another
celebrated Swedish star designer) for cbi.
the energy in the Swedish and Scandinavian design boom showing no
signs of decreasing, quite on the contrary, we can already recommend
the second week of February 2004 as a good time to visit Stockholm
for those with a special interest in the Nordic shape of things
author of this article, Claes Britton, is editor in chief of Stockholm
New, Northern Europe's leading fashion, design and lifestyle magazine.
author alone is responsible for the opinions expressed in this article.