Anna reports back from Stockholm
Every year, at the beginning of February, Sweden’s capital is transformed into the world’s largest meeting place for Scandinavian design. The Northern Light Fair and the Stockholm Furniture Fair is held during five days in Älvsjö, situated a 10 min train journey from Stockholm Central Station. Attracting over 30,000 people from all over the world each year, the Stockholm Furniture Fair is generally considered to be one of the top two furniture fairs in Europe and, compared to Frankfurt’s Light+Building fair which is more technical, exhibits at the Northern Light Fair are centred on design and decorative aspects.
I have been a loyal visitor of the fair for the past seven years and to me one of the highlights and the installation that creates the most buzz is the trade fair’s lounge. Each year a celebrated international designer is appointed the task of creating a space for visitors to enjoy and relax in. This year’s guest of honour, Oki Sato, Chief Designer of Japanese design studio Nendo, produced an installation using more than 100 plastic foam sheets, all perfectly laser cut creating the illusion of snow-capped mountain peaks soaring into the sky. In the installation Nando also included a new lamp system created in collaboration with Swedish lighting manufacturers Wästerberg. The lamp system consisted of a pallet of parts that can be arranged in different configurations creating a floor lamp, table lamp and a pendant.
Entering the fair, the first thing that caught my eye was an interesting composition of multicoloured ceiling lamps all connected with electrical cables running along wires, from one to the next, creating a zigzag grid of lamps above our heads. Produced by Zero Lighting, this ceiling lamp was inspired by a district in Tokyo called Daikanyarna where grids of cables are a central part of the city landscape.
Another interesting part of the trade fair, and a good excuse to rest your tired feet, are all the different seminars and lectures on offer. This year’s venue was a spectacular dome shaped structure created out of 11,000 patterned paper sheets designed by Swedish architect Gert Wingård and Finnish artist Kustaa Saksi.
In addition to activities at the trade fair, Stockholm Design Week, taking place during the same week, has about 60 different design events being held around the city. If you are a design junkie (and not just lighting design!), there is no doubt that February is a good time of the year to be in Stockholm. I truly recommend it!