Each year, the best in new Scandinavian design can be seen all in one place at the Stockholm Furniture and Light Fair: an event that celebrates the beautiful simplicity, quality, and sustainability for which Nordic products are known. Visitors come from all over the world to take in works by both established and new designers, about 80 percent of whom are based in the region.
Even in a sea of 700 exhibitors, some projects manage to stand out. Here are four highlights from this year’s installment:
The Unfolding Village — Neri & Hu
The 2019 guest of honor was Neri & Hu: an interdisciplinary design and architecture practice based in Shanghai. Founders Lyndon Neri and Rossana Hu created a striking installation for the fair highlighting urgent issues unique to their home country, which itself was contained within another installation inspired by rapidly disappearing traditional Chinese villages. “The Unfolding Village” features a maze-like structure made from locally sourced timber that mimics the narrow alleyways found in many of these villages, leading visitors on a journey of discovery to cul-de-sacs showcasing the company’s latest selection of home furnishings.
Bio-Based Acoustic Pulp Panels — Form Us With Love
As usual, sustainability was given major emphasis throughout the course of the fair, with many products offering an eco-friendly angle. Swedish design studio Form Us with Love collaborated with acoustic panel manufacturer BAUX to produce a series of biodegradable panels that combine modern flair with high-performance properties, drawing inspiration from origami folding techniques. Scientists from the Royal Institute of Technology (KTH) helped BAUX develop the revolutionary new material, which employs modified cellulose fibers from recycled Swedish pine and spruce trees for a durable, lightweight, and water-repellent result.
“In the face of climate change, environmental pollution, and excessive consumerism, we as an industry can no longer afford to ignore the part we play,” says BAUX CEO Fredrik Franzon. “Designing and prototyping for the future is not enough. We need to create a sustainable future today. the new BAUX acoustic pulp is the result of our deep commitment to this vision. When it became clear to us that we could organically mimic nature’s own characteristics — like the fire retardancy properties of grass roots, the water repellency of lotus flowers, or strength created from the catalytic combination of potatoes, plant wax, and citrus fruits — we knew we were onto something revolutionary.”
Recycled Ocean Waste Chairs — Snøhetta
Not so long ago, the materials that went into the making of this chair were just a tangle of forgotten fishing nets languishing in the ocean. Design practice Snøhetta continued its inquiries into the use of recycled plastic at the Stockholm Furniture and Light Fair with the S-1500 chair: a deceptively simple-looking seat in a striking color and texture that makes a bold statement on waste and pollution. Produced in collaboration with furniture manufacturer Nordic Comfort Products, the chair is made of netting and other salvaged plastic from the local fish farming industry in Norway, along with a recycled steel frame. Zero new raw materials went into the final product, giving it one of the lowest carbon footprints on the market.
Modular Furniture — Four Design
Four Design featured its newly launched FourLikes line of modular furniture at the fair, each piece of which was created with large, open spaces in mind. FourLikes pieces also all offer flexibility for custom configurations, along with warmth and softness that can help make rooms full of hard surfaces much more comfortable. The high-backed sofa seating with sound dampening properties and connecting ceiling components creates cozy little nooks that work incredibly well within the scale of their surroundings.
The company explains that “everything has been considered, from the ideal working seating height to the provision of acoustic and visual privacy. The FourLikes Meet and FourLikes Work offer private focusing or collaborating units, which can be integrated into larger arrangements of different seating options.”