We went on adventure to Stockholm, Sweden, the heartland of Nordic interior design to attend the Stockholm Furniture & Light Fair; a 5-day explosion of interior design inspiration and news.
As the world's leading meeting point for Scandinavian interior design, this fair is primarily aimed towards business people and entities in the furniture and lighting business. However, on the last day of the fair, the event is opened up to private individuals interested in interior design and those who are on the hunt for the latest and greatest items in interior design along with the classics. So we went to check it out as furniture lovers ourselves and wanted to share some of our highlights with you.
Aside from milling around the many vendor stalls and seminars held at the fair outlining the latest and greatest in interior design trends, we got to see the "Ettore" table, which was the winner of the annual "Born Classic" design prize and is expected to become a classic interior design piece in the future.
A particularly exciting part of the fair was the "Greenhouse area" where design schools and unestablished designers displayed their newest prototypes and ideas, many of which had a strong focus on sustainability.
At the fair we quickly realised that there's been a noticeable shift towards using wood in 2020. Furniture utilising classical wooden materials in Scandinavia like birch and ash, for example, dominated both indoor and outdoor furniture pieces. Light woods were definitely more common than darker ones you tend to see in sturdier pieces of furniture, often combined with iron or metal elements. Rattan continues to be a trendy and popular material when it comes to outdoor furniture and even rope and woven items were a notable parts of the entire fair.
The colour choices on display were also very "classical nordic" with nuances of grey, black, beige and brown being the prominent colours but there were also plenty of blues and greens and some other lighter pastell colours. The natural theme was visible in material and colour choices alike. Vases in brown shades with dried flowers or grasses were visible in more than one display, for example.
When looking at office and public spaces, there were loads of furniture items with sound reduction and absorption in mind, with small sound-proofed booths with charging sockets and screens being a notable theme. A more modern form of a fitness ball designed for better sitting posture was also a mention-worthy addition but overall, much of the focus in office interior design has been geared towards sound-proofing. We felt this didn't have much ergonomic value, despite being quite cool from a development perspective.
A subject was super prevalent at the fair was sustainability. Sustainability was a recurring theme for the seminars held at the fair but as mention previously, this was also a big element that influenced material usage and colour choices. It's highly likely that the resurgence of wood being such a popular design material is a direct bi-product of increasing environmental awareness.
One burning question we had was that even if the choice of material feels more sustainable, how does one account for the other parts of the manufacturing processes and transport of these interior design and furniture items? For example, a rattan chair could easily be transported halfway around the world just to reach your home, which might not be the most environmentally friendly option. Several vendors at the fair had a noticeable environmental profile, but as a consumer it can be a bit difficult to differentiate what makes a good or bad choice for the environment.
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