Design House Stockholm celebrates its 20th anniversary this year and we sent a few questions to founder Anders Färdig to let us in on a few snippets about what separates the Swedish company from its contemporaries. Since its founding in 1992, Design House Stockholm has worked with some of the most talented young designers from around the world—Form Us With Love, Frederick Färg, and Jonas Wagell, among others. Using a model of production borrowed from book publishing, the company asks designers to send in ideas for products rather than calling upon a certain person to create a certain object. This approach has yielded an impressive array of products ranging from tabletop items to lighting to furniture to clothing. Each piece treads the territory of being visually minimalist but still incredibly engaging and never "plain." Below, Anders shares his thoughts and his three favorite pieces from the new collection.
Design House Stockholm works with designers anywhere on the spectrum from emerging to established. How do you approach collaborations?
We never select people to work with; we select a product that has a uniqueness in its category with a Scandinavian touch. The designers behind the products are coming from all over the world and today there are more than 70 designers under contract with our publishing house.
In the 20th Anniversary catalog, there are pieces released just this year and ones that are from DHS's early years; all still look fresh. What's the company's secret to developing design that endures?
When we select products that we want our customers to appreciate for a long time in their everyday use. Trends become secondary. We hope our friends will discover the small details that make our way of selecting favorable.
What's your favorite "classic" DHS piece and why?
Every year we introduce products that we think are a good example of the new Scandinavian design. We always want them to be classics. The cup and saucer designed by Anna Kraitz in the latest collection is my favorite right now.
For readers who aren't familiar with Swedish design, what are the core elements of its sensibility? What are the aspects that differentiate it from, say, Danish, Norwegian, or Finnish design?
Swedish design was "born" early 1900. A poor country eventually became one of the top three in terms of living standards. Design was an important tool to bring better products to everybody in Sweden, not only the wealthy. Quality, ergonomics, functionality, and restrained decoration were some ingredients.
You recently photographed the collection inside of one of Stockholm's most historic buildings, Hallwyl Palace (shown in the first photo above). What was that like? Why did you choose that location?
Our audience is playing with contemporary and classic, and expensive one-of-a-kind items mixed with products from flea markets. I think our design looks even more fantastic in the environment you find at the Hallwyl Palace, a place just around the corner from Design House Stockholm head office.