So I’m back from Stockholm Design Week (#2016sdw) and Furniture Fair (#2016sff). Worth it? Definitely. Whenever I attend an exhibition I’m looking for four things: cool new companies, new products, emerging industry trends and inspiration. I can definitely put a tick in each box. Due to the volume of information, I’ve split this into two blogs, with the second one out Wednesday. Here’s my round up – part one.
Form Us With Love
These guys stole the show for me. I came across them via their clever Unfold Lamp a few years back, but hadn’t quite realised the depth of their design collection. At #2016sff not satisfied with designing ‘the Greenhouse’ space at the Fair (dedicated to new designers) and having their presence scattered throughout exhibition stands including Mitab and Muuto, they also ran their ‘I-X Exhibition’ at the National Museum in the city, marking 10 years of design accomplishments.
I had the pleasure of a private view as the exhibition was closing. Cleaners were mopping up after a party the night before and my trainers squeaked as I shuffled through the wet patches apologetically. The (very modest) CEO and Co-Founder Jonas Pettersson explained they had gone through the laborious yet rewarding process of producing a book to document the studio’s 10 years of design. Pages of the book were pinned to the wall in chronological order, aside the real life products – an overall result they should be extremely proud of.
There are simply too many fascinating and varied designs to mention, from watches to lighting to innovative acoustic products – you need to view the narrated fly through of the exhibition for more. Trust me you’ll love it.
Offecct never disappoint at furniture fairs and #2016sff was no exception. With Offecct Lab pushing the boundaries of design and manufacturing since its inception in 2013, you’re guaranteed a talking point.
My favourites were the interestingly named ‘Wind’ acoustic panels by Jin Kuramoto (if you break wind near ‘Wind’, does anyone hear you?), Cecile Manz’s playful ‘Souffle’ low seating, ‘On Point’ meeting tables with a tree centre-stage (biophilic box tick √) by Mattias Stenberg and the beautiful Montparnasse easy chair by Christophe Pillet – inspired by camping equipment, but providing the comfort and finish of high end domestic furniture. A great presentation.
Offecct stand #2016sff
Another company known to carve their own niche in the marketplace. The GUBI stand had a kind of opulent retrospective theme to it. Velvet upholstery, copper, brass and marble finishes sat alongside thick woolly rugs and burgundy accents. The feel of the stand reminded me of a luxurious 1960’s hotel – retro with a modern twist. Like it.
Inspiration: Barber & Osgerby
I managed to squeeze into a packed auditorium to see Barber & Osgerby‘s headline lecture. The Brit duo join the elite guest of honour list – an accolade previously accepted by Patricia Urquoila, Paul Smith, the Bouroullecs and Konstantin Grcic – by accepting an invitation to design a communal space in the main entrance hall: a Triptych installation comprised of new work.
In their lecture: Thinking and Making, Jay and Edward walked us through their approach to designing the Tipton chair for Vitra (yes that’s Rolf Fehlbaum in the photo). They emphasised the importance of understanding the manufacturing process and the skills and expertise of ‘the makers’ in order to design truly great products. They moved on to their amazing ‘Double Space‘ museum installation project at the V&A, ending with a funny and insightful recollection of their famous London 2012 Olympic Torch design process, complete with screenshots of eBay sellers flogging torches post-event. Brilliant and inspirational – hats off to them.
The colour burgundy cropped up time and again on textiles and upholstery. At first it bothered me as I had flashbacks of an old school jumper, but once I had overcome that issue; viewed in the right context and with autumnal browns and yellows (see abstracta pic below), I thought it looked great.
In the city…
I love exploring when visiting international design fairs. I tracked down a second hand furniture warehouse in an industrial side of the city after cutting through a snow covered park and finding myself lost in some allotments, in a 3G blackspot. After recounting several Bear Grylls survival techniques, I found my way out of the park without having to hunt and eat any local wildlife. Shortly afterwards I discovered the graffiti filled doorway I was looking for…
Dusty Deco does what it says on the tin. Excluding the dust bit. Preloved Eames chairs sit underneath Louis Poulsen pendant lamps, aside vintage 50’s sideboards and Jacobsen plywood chairs. Some great art and photography for sale. And it was warm after the whole park thing. Shame I was hand luggage only or I may have been tempted.
Well that’s it for part one.
Lookout for my Stockholm blog: part two on Wednesday: cool acoustics, pioneering techniques, old friends, new chairs and designers DIY. See you then – Tack!