Stockholm Furniture Fair 2010

Stockholm Furniture Fair 2010

Every February, the very best new Nordic furniture designs debut at the Stockholm Furniture Fair and the Northern Light Fair. The two events are held together in the 630,000-square-foot Stockholm International Fairs center, attracting more than 36,000 people to the outskirts of Stockholm, Sweden. In addition to being the world’s largest arena for Scandinavian design, its appearance early in the year makes it the ideal spot to preview trends that we can expect to see more of months down the road in Milan and New York. Contributing blogger Tiffany Orvet has pulled together what she considers to be the best of the best from this year.

The notion of the Stockholm Furniture Fair as a worthy precursor to Milan's Salone Internazionale del Mobile was increasingly apparent in the presence of several Italian companies exhibiting at the fair for the first time this year, such as Poltrona Frau, Cappellini, Alias and Cassina.

Collect 2010 is made of oak and painted MDF, and is constructed in Småland, Sweden.

Last year, furniture designer Sara Larsson launched the furniture line of her company A2 at the 2009 Stockholm Furniture Fair with some eye-catching pieces. This year she carried her brand forward with Collect 2010, a variation on the colorful original Collect cabinet that was a favorite last year. For Collect 2010, she’s gone all-white and crafted its façade out of blocks in varying thicknesses.

While the Italians remain tight-lipped about their new releases until May’s big debut, one Moroso representative did point me toward the Swedish Front-designed "Moment" collection that premiered in Milan last year when I asked for clues. Hmmm. So maybe more visual games or more pieces from Front? We’ll have to wait and see.

Dunder is a sectional sofa and an easy chair range designed by Stefan Borelius. We love the bright colors, playful design, and clever ability to mix and match your own sofa configuration piece by piece.

Collect 2010 will be available this Spring. A list of online resellers can be found on the A2 website.

From stalwarts like Gärsnäs, Swedese and Stolab to newcomers like A2 and Massproductions, to student designers like Keisuke Kawase coming up through the region’s prestigious design schools. The Northern Light Fair also brings out Scandinavia’s most inventive lighting companies such as Zero, &tradition, Wästberg and Northern Lighting.

The IBBI lounge chair by designer Nils Gulinis features two distinct parts— Mirror-image frame supports, which give the chair shape, and 29 sculpted laths that cradle the body, providing the chair with beautiful lines from every perspective. IBBI also has a thin seat pad for comfort, and a headrest available.

With so many new pieces in my favorite styles from strong designers, it isn’t easy to play favorites. However I’ve pulled together what I consider to be the best of the best from this year’s premieres, just for you. Enjoy the slideshow.

Gulin was particularly clever with the headrest, as It simply affixes between any of the two slats. We found the chair to be most comfortable when the headrest was used lower on the frame for lumbar support. IBBI is made of birch and comes in nine different stains as well as white oil, clear oil or clear varnish. A Stolab catalogue can be ordered through their website.

The two-seat configuration of the Dunder sofa. Blå Station is represented in the US by ICF Source.

The Dunder sofa by Blå Station, as glimpsed on the showroom floor of the 2010 Stockholm Furniture Fair.

Is it a table or is it a game? It works well as both, as the old Nordic craft tradition of turning wood gets new life in the form of the Shuffle table. Like old painted wooden toys, this table is truly a mix-and-match stacking game. You choose where along the center wooden pole each of the bright shapes will go, and even determine the table height. The producers claim that this table has one function more important than all others – to create joy.

The Shuffle table is designed by Mia Hamborg in lacquered solid wood for Danish company &Tradition. &Tradition products are not carried in the US, but you can find retailers throughout Europe on their website.

Pine has a tough reputation to overcome when it comes to furniture. With its knots and natural finish, it’s associated with lumber beams – the sort of thing you want to cover up. So when Norwegian designers Steinar Hindenes and Peter Knudsen got the spec to create a beautiful chair of solid pine, they were excited by the challenge.

The result is the Nord chair, a piece that shows off rather than hides the pine’s natural grain. Contrasted against the sharp solid form of the wood is a seat made of molded foam and covered in wooly felt that passes over the top of the chair and continues around to the underside. With this chair, VAD (which stands for "Value Added Design") has created a tactile pleasure that’s as gentle on the senses as it is welcoming to the eye. A prototype was presented at the Fair, however the chairs will be in production by Spring. There is currently no distribution in the US. Contact VAD through their website for more information.

Massproductions celebrated its one-year anniversary by launching a side table made entirely of glass. According to designer Chsis Martin, "the Sander Table is an experiment in purity." A thick hardened glass top is fitted on a glass cone, creating a pared down, elegant, and nearly transparent piece. Far from what the design studio’s name, Massproductions, implies, the cone base is mouth-blown at a Swedish glassworks known for its long tradition of handcrafted glass. The Sander table is being sold in Sweden exclusively at the Svenskt Tenn store in Stockholm. Unfortunately Massproductions is not currently distributing the table outside of Sweden.

Designed originally in 1954 by Yngve Ekström, one of the founders of Swedese, the sunrise-patterned Desirée chair has been re-released. Ekström also created the famous Lamino chair in 1956, showing the same affinity for sensuous curves and an understanding of the human form. It’s every bit as comfortable as you hope it will be, and a delightful addition to any whimsical backyard garden.

The chairs are in production and can be found at the stores listed on the Swedese website in the Western and Midwestern US.

Stick is a new take on an old classic. Its slatted back recalls classic Windsor chairs, but its geometric edges and thick upper rim give it a shape and personality all its own.

The Stick Chair, designed by Jonas Lindvall, is made of oak. Resellers and international agents can be found on the Skandiform website.

Swedese’s second chair to make the list is by Swedish designer Monica Förster, who has clearly been very busy, with many new pieces on display at the stands of different furniture and lamp makers this year. The Antelope chair was a favorite. Mirroring the curves of an antelope’s antlers that end in pointy spikes, the solid-ash wood of the back and armrests have a sculpted, organic quality. One piece of solid wood is bent ever so gently into shape to form the single, seamless arch around the back of the chair. This is one that really needs to be touched to be fully appreciated. And it would have felt right at home in Hans Wegner’s dining room.

As with the Desirée Chairs, Swedese lists resellers on its website.

A detail shot illustrates the delicate arching back of the Antelope chair by Monica Förster for Swedese.

Part of the Stockholm Furniture Fair every year is handed over to student exhibitions. It’s a wonderfully creative hall that gives a glimpse into the future, of the new ideas and talent that will be shaping design trends in the years to come. Occasionally, a student displays a piece on par with the big manufacturers. This year we discovered Keisuke Kawase and his Stanza bookshelf. This is the perfect bookshelf for those who need storage for both the items they like to display (the wood figurine from Japan) as well as those they’d rather hide away (trashy romance novels). Each vertical panel swivels, allowing it to become either a bookshelf partition or a cabinet door. Clever, no?

Industrial-grade felt – in this case, in bright pink and red strips – is used to keep the panels from scratching the horizontal surfaces and to hold them firmly in place. This bookshelf isn’t in production, but we give Keisuke kudos for a great idea. He’s getting his Masters of Interior Architecture and Furniture Design at Konstfack University. Expect to see his name again – and hopefully this bookshelf too.


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