There was plenty on offer in the Swedish capital’s celebration of local furniture and creativity, Stockholm Design Week, last week. Since 2002, the Stockholm Furniture & Light Fair has been held to coincide with Design Week, expanding the fair further, so there were installations, exhibitions and design discussions to attend.
The first highlight of the installations was Glass Elephant, presented in the subterranean Skeppsholmen Caverns. Initially dug for military use during World War II, this grotto-like tunnel has become an exhibition space for the Museum of Far Eastern Antiquities. This setting, with its lack of natural light, inspired designers to play with glass as a material. Their aim was to emphasise the existing space and add what wasn’t already there – windows and light. There were robots of elephantine proportions, and other grandiose objects made from Gossamer glass. The ‘elephants’ entertained by holding up mirrors to show off the glass objects, cleaning them with feather dusters and spotlighting them.
Another highlight was the lounge in the entrance to the exhibition designed by the international Guest of Honour at the fair, Oki Sato, founder of Nendo. Sato first exhibited his work almost 10 years ago at Greenhouse, the place for up-and-coming designers at the fair, after taking his prototype chair on the plane to Stockholm with him because he had no budget to ship it. That first visit led to Sato getting his chair produced and signalled the start of his professional career. Now, as Guest of Honour he produced another impressive work, lasercutting more than 100 plastic foam sheets and transforming them into “a landscape that expresses how the design process begins and evolves, from a simple idea to a finished expression,” explains Sato.
There was a myriad of furniture and lighting featured exhibited over the days of the fair. A favourite was the young studio collective Form Us With Love (FUWL), who kicked off Design Week with a less industry-focused, public pop-up market. Located in Stockholm’s buzzing shopping district, Bibliotekstan, FUWL staged an exhibition as well as a curated shop offering a selection of 30 accessories, lights, furniture, books and magazines available to purchase from the market itself or online until the end of February.