Apologies for the lack of new posts over the past week – I’ve been in Sweden, where I spent some time exploring Gothenburg and the west coast before heading to the capital for the Stockholm Furniture & Light Fair and the city’s annual Design Week. I’ll cover more of my trip soon, but I want to start with a look at the trends and product launches which I spotted at the fair – one of the biggest events in the Nordic design calendar, and an occasion that always leaves my head buzzing with new ideas.
Before I go any further, I have to stress that I really don’t think anyone should feel pressured to follow interior-design trends or change their decor according to what’s ‘in’ and what’s ‘out’. But I do think it’s worth keeping an eye on them, as you never know when they might provide unexpected inspiration. And the fair certainly wasn’t short on that, so without further ado here are just a few of the things that caught my eye…
One of the first things I noticed was an abundance of sofas and armchairs with soft, rounded shapes. I’ve already covered a few of the spring-summer 2019 designs which tap into this trend – &tradition’s ‘Loafer’ series, Ferm Living’s ‘Rico’ chair and sofa, Menu’s ‘Tearoom’ collection – and it was great to view them in person. But the fair also saw some brand-new launches with curvaceous forms – most notably Swedish brand Fogia’s ‘Barba’ sofa and chair, which were designed by Andreas Engesvik and inspired by classic cartoon characters, and Copenhagen-based NORR11’s graceful, flowing ‘New Wave’ sofa.
More discreet but no less beautiful was Fredericia’s ‘Calmo’ series, which was created by Hugo Passos and features subtly curved inner armrests.
Graphic lines and geometric shapes
Amid the sea of curves, there were also plenty of geometric forms and strong silhouettes, particularly when it came to chairs. My favourites were Finnish brand Artek’s stackable wooden ‘Atelier’ chair, created by TAF Studio for Stockholm’s newly refurbished Nationalmuseum, and Friends & Founders‘ striking monochrome ‘Novel’ chair and Bauhaus-inspired metal ‘FF’ chair.
I also loved the stands of two brands known for their clean, graphic lines – String Furniture, which used the fair to showcase its new collection of outdoor shelving, and Design Of, which has extended its range of minimalist steel pieces with wine racks in various sizes.
Another major trend was tactile fabrics – wonderfully snuggly bouclé, sumptuous velvets, textured cotton weaves. Corduroy is also making a bit of a comeback, and I spotted it on everything from cushions at Ferm Living to sofas at Woud. I was surprised by how much I liked the look of it, and it’s certainly a hard-wearing choice!
Interestingly, a lot of the fabrics on show were made using recycled materials, and it was great to see sustainability playing such a big role in design. Both Ferm Living and Woud have new rug and cushion lines manufactured from plastic bottles, for example.
The fusion of Scandinavian and Japanese design has been a growing trend for a while now, and there’s a definite synergy between the two traditions and their emphasis on simplicity, craftsmanship and natural materials. This year I spotted Japanese influences on all sorts of new pieces, including Woud’s ‘Array’ sideboards and NORR11’s ‘Oku’ coffee and dining tables, which take their name from the Japanese word for ‘oak’ and feature eye-catching rounded legs.
The fair also saw the official launch of Motarasu, a new brand founded by Mikkel Zebitz to bring together Danish and Japanese designers. Its debut collection includes a daybed, a side chair, wall hooks, salad servers, a tray and more, all created to showcase the materials used and be as beautiful as they are functional.
My favourite ‘Japandi’ find, though, was the new ‘Japanese Collection’ from Copenhagen-based Kristina Dam Studio, which features a serving board, a stackable tableware range called ‘Setonomo’, wooden relief carvings, spherical bowls, marble sculptures and more.
Sculptural lighting and accessories
Much of the new lighting on display featured sculptural forms and resembled works of art as much as anything else. My favourite was Nuura’s new ‘Apiales’ chandelier, which was inspired by the wild umbellifers which grew around the cottage of designer Sofie Refer’s grandparents. It comes in black and brass variants, and features clusters of glass spheres which unfold like a blossoming flower.
I also loved the ‘Ware’ table lamp, created by MSDS Studio for New Works. Designed to bring together two distinct flowing forms into a single object, it looks like a pair of shells huddled together on the shore. It’s available in white and grey, and I was very taken by the way the rounded front hides the lighting diffuser and allows a soft glow to swell up from within.
The same sculptural elegance applied to many of the new accessories on show, too. I particularly liked Christian Mohaded’s stainless-steel ‘Ripply’ candleholder, also for New Works. It was inspired by ripples on the surface of a glassy lake and looks stunning even without candles.
Beige tones and earthy colours
Beige was the predominant shade on many of the stands and it certainly seems to be the neutral of choice this year. And if you think it’s boring, think again – the soft, nature-inspired tones of sand, taupe, cream and off-white created a calming, refined look and worked brilliantly with a huge variety of furniture and accessories.
When stronger shades were used, there was a predominance of browns, oranges, rust reds and mustard yellows, giving an earthy 1970s vibe – something that’s evident in many of the above photos, and in the below examples from the stands of Kristina Dam, &tradition and Swedish rug company Kasthall.
Many of the above trends also popped up at the Design Week events held in Stockholm to coincide with the fair – more on those to follow in a future post!
Images nine, 10, 12-19 and 37-41 by Abi Dare; all other photography via the brands named above