10 stand-out launches at Stockholm Design Week
We take a closer look at the innovators, designers, and entrepreneurs bringing craft, circular principles, and new perspectives into the world’s leading meeting place for Scandinavian design.
15 Feb 2024

Mixed realities

When designer Gustav Winsth began working with VR in his daily operations as an interior designer, it sparked his industry colleague Alexander Lervik’s curiosity.

— He wanted to expand his mind, come into the VR world, and see how it affects the design process, Winsth remembers. During this year, we have been meeting up from our different locations in a special digital room with me doing the sketching before we’ve been having discussions and collaborating on doing everything in the VR world. He’s then used old models of chairs that he’s designed as a reference for ergonomic use.

— For me, this is a proof of concept that you can go straight from design in VR to ergonomic evaluation and then send it directly to a producer. This means that you can efficiently cut off the first or last part of prototyping. The project has ended up with three aluminium armchairs that we also exhibit at the fair.

Alexander is such a renowned designer. What’s his view on VR now, after this year? 

— He’s definitely realised the convenience and the perks of using it. And it’s also been a great experience for me to invite someone and having them evaluate my work while doing it in VR, because I think a lot of designers would be amazed by the opportunities and the possibilities of actually using it.

What else can you say about the actual products?

— They’re very much what you can make with the VR tools — very free form and organic. Given that it’s all made of aluminium, we made quite a puffy seat — it needs to look like it’s comfortable. We contacted a guy who usually does motorcycle gas tanks, to create it, and we had a really skilled welder who welded it all together. All in all, we went back into real craftsmanship to do something that is futuristic in its design and form.

Is it more of a showpiece, or can you put it into production as well?

— These ones are absolutely for show. We have also made a few other furniture that is only available in the VR world, trying to get people interested in the possibilities. Then, we’ll hopefully be going forth with a manufacturer for any of the objects.

Photography: Felix Odell

New Perspectives by Omhu for Minus Furniture

Best in show? In terms of the fair stands at Stockholm Furniture Fair, our bet is on Norwegian producer Minus, working to scale a regenerative model for furniture, and its exhibition, New Perspectives, by Oslo-based Omhu. The design studio utilised the circular principle of Form follows Availability, with the installation’s main structural element of rented scaffolding, signifying both the temporary nature of the fair and also Minus as upscaling industry newcomer. The presented artefacts and experiences were developed in close collaboration with Minus to establish physical installations of their value chain, research, production, calculations and ethos. It broke down the complex subjects of circularity and carbon accounting offering knowledge in addition to furniture. 

— Not every company wants to put in the work to think in this manner. It takes time and research to demonstrate and source supplies of a circular nature, says Poppy Lawman, designer at Omhu.

To achieve this, Omhu partnered with Ombygg a new initiative in Oslo stemming waste flow from construction sites. Lights and various exhibition artefacts were sourced from a Norwegian digital platform for second-hand goods and from Oslo municipality’s reuse facility. Finally, items such as scaffolding and digital products were sourced from rental suppliers to be returned at exhibition end to be used again and again.

— This exhibition is constructed of matter that already existed; repurposed materials and rented items. Except the furniture and methodologies, they are brand new, says Sverre Uhnger, co-founder and designer at Omhu.

Sulapac for Ekbacken Studios

The Swedish studio aims to take the next step in the reduction of carbon footprint, eliminate microplastic pollution, and advance the circular economy while maintaining a commitment to producing high-end design pieces. A new collaboration with material innovation company Sulapac enables the incorporation of recyclable materials with biodegradable properties leaving no harmful toxins behind at the product’s end-of-life. The already established partnership with 3D-technology company The Industry ensures that the trio is merging technology and sustainability to produce high-end furniture locally. Love is in a Chair is an addition to the signature Collection No. 1 and a result of the expanded collaboration.

Artek and Formafantasma expand ”wild birch” to Forest Collection

As Guest of honour for this year’s Stockholm Furniture Fair, Formafantasma created an installation in the entrance hall for visitors and exhibitors. The so-called Reading Room offered visitors a calm space of respite to sit and read, reflect and immerse themselves in the ideas that have shaped the Italian design studio’s work. 

In September last year, Finnish Artek introduced Stool 60 Villi in wild birch, defined in collaboration with Formafantasma. This sustainable wood selection has now expanded to a full line, called Forest Collection, which was unveiled at the fair and furnished the Reading Room. It’s made of wild birch to highlight the impact of climate change and industrialisation on forests, as well as the consequences of these processes for wood products. Instead of side-stepping these shifts, Artek and Formafantasma have developed a new wood selection that systematically embraces the honest beauty and critical narrative of the forest, celebrating the quality of imperfection. By allowing natural marks to show and take place, every product becomes unique. 

The longer a tree is left growing in the forest, the more CO2 it will store. The birch trees used in Artek furniture are 50 to 80 years old and absorb CO2 throughout their lifetime. When Artek then turns them into durable furniture, the storing of CO2 continues.

Floating leather

Designer Lisa Hilland has loved horses as long as she can remember — and has always been fascinated by the horse equipment.

— It’s often made of very high-quality leather, she says.

She’s now part of retailer NK Inredning’s recurring project Together, where established designers present special designs where the profit goes to a scholarship for young designers.

— This year, she continues, we work together with renowned tannery Tärnsjö, producing very high-quality leather in Sweden. I’ve created Pirouette, a lampshade and a chair, and the inspiration comes from the academic horse dressage, where you teach your horse certain movements that originally were meant for war. It’s like a dance, a beautiful movement.

The braided structure creates an ornamental-like pattern that almost ”floats” in the air. Although the crafting process is complex, with braiding carried out by skilled saddlers and artisans from Tärnsjö, the result is a light and naturally organic design.

LCA pioneers

Design brand Massproductions presented new modular sofa system Patch, characterised by its distinctive lozenge-shaped backrest panels.

— My job was to make sure that it’s nicely constructed with good comfort, says Chris Martin, chief designer and co-founder. I didn’t have to overdo it with the design details or be too expressive, because then, no one would want it. You want something a bit in the background and this has just the right amount of charisma. I think it’s appealing.

Massproductions is also in a process of conducting an LCA on all its products.

— We’re currently working through all of them. For us, it’s a really important thing to do — we like to be one of the pioneers leading the way. Also, for the new Patch sofa, we’ve replaced a lot of the polyurethane foam with pocket springs. So, that’s just steel and air doing the job of what would previously have been big lumps of foam — and it’s even better comfort as well. It’s a no-brainer to make that switch. It’s always a bit of a guilt trip to put foam in a product being a petrochemical-based material which also degrades over time — unlike pocket springs.

A circular flow for functional design pieces 

Swedish design company Reform Design Lab has received much attention for its 3D-printed furniture. During Design Week, the new screen wall Coulisse, developed in collaboration with manufacturer Swt paper, and the lamp FRAKTUR were exhibited. 

Coulisse is a functional and aesthetical screen designed for office environments. The frame is a lightweight panel made from recycled paper and the screen wall is covered with material from recycled jeans material and polyester. According to Måns Broman, co-founder and CEO, the idea is to help solve the circular flow of clothing companies.

— Swt paper then processes the material into a ’carpet’ with which we cover the panels, he says.

FRAKTUR, the lamp designed by multi-award-winning designer Alexander Lervik, is 3D-printed in sand and can be described as a light sculpture.

— Once the actual design work was done, a completely different kind of work started. How is it possible to mould such a creation in sand? This is where the possibilities of 3D printing come into play. The matt sand absorbs light, increasing the contrast of the light emitted from it. Lervik explains.

Metallised reflections

At Stockholm Design Week, Kvadrat presented Reflect, a series of metallised curtain textiles, a new category of high-performance window coverings. It provides extensive control over light, glare, privacy, and thermal comfort. The reflectance performance is achieved thanks to an ultra-thin layer of aluminium that is applied to one side of the curtain textile. This effectively reflects sunlight to keep the interior cool in the summer, and in the winter, it works as an insulating layer to keep warmth in — a potential reduce in heating and cooling costs.

One of the curtain textiles, Transparent Reflect, is designed by Louise Sigvardt, co-founder of the acclaimed Copenhagen studio Bunn. It combines a leno-woven front side of fine polyester yarns with an aluminium backing, delivering light and heatcontrolling properties, spectacular view-through and daytime privacy benefits. It comes in 7 neutral yarn-dyed shades which echo solid colours, as if they have been held up to the light and gives the curtain a softly shimmering surface. 

— My approach to defining the colours was more abstract than any of my previous projects for Kvadrat. I spent time observing how light moves through various colours. The result is a palette that is toned down and hazy, like when the sun breaks through a colour, she says.

Altering the state of time

Cranbrook Academy of Art student Joe Parr brings children’s playground inspiration indoors to the grown-ups by introducing Mellow Clock for Design House Stockholm and turning time into sculptural playfulness, a time ever-changing form, and a timepiece in the intersection of art and design.

— It is surely an artwork, and at the same time a truly functional sculpture. As the clock moves, its composition changes, Parr explains, while Anders Färdig, founder of Design House Stockholm, describes the clock as ”fantasy and function in one superb object.”

Made in aluminum with concave shapes, and with a silent pendulum slowly moving back and forth shape gives the clock presence which stands out gracefully, without being overpowering, and integrates well with the rest of the interior.

New beginnings

Carpet company Bolon expands its B2B offering with new label House of Bolon, an e-com with designer floors for end consumers to add colour to homes and small businesses. The debuting range includes products by the brand’s own design team, as well as collaborations with internationally recognised designers, including Patricia Urquiola.

The brand’s floor tiles in different shapes create a specific pattern, or one of the buyer’s choice, and it’s made to be easy-care, durable, and hard-wearing floor. The range of carpets are made of the same material as the floors but with a slightly calmer expression, such as herringbone patterns. The rugs designed by Patricia Urquiola take inspiration from the Japanese craft tradition of Sashiko (small stitches) and come in muted colours, with characteristic stitches and patchwork-like patterns.

All products are Made in Sweden with a high amount of recycled material.