Sunday, 19 February 2012

Stockholm 2012: Exploring the City

As always there was so much to see and do outside of the Fair, as part of the umbrella Stockholm Design Week, there was little time to worry about the cold. You just had to get on with it.

Squeezing through hoarding, stepping over cables and skirting around cement mixers is not the usual way into an exhibition, but that as exactly how you gained entry to Work In Progress, a group show organised by Axel Bjurstrӧm and Jonas Wagell in the building site that will soon become MOOD Stockholm. Designers, some high profile and others on the way up, presented prototypes and finished products with sketches and stories explaining the thought process behind them. Folkform presented some details behind their exquisite Suburban Skyline series of lighting in brass. Matti Klenell exhibited his Lempi everyday glasses for iittala and Note Design Studio showed their barstool Boet, which they designed and produced for the Johan & Nyström coffee shop in Helsinki, for which they designed the interiors. 

Note Design Studio are arguably the designers to have raised their profile most this Design Week. Interior and product designers, the 5 designers behind Note mounted a show entitled Marginal Notes #2. Sketches and ideas scribbled in the margins of their notebooks over the past year were re-examined and brought to life as a way to communicate what makes them tick. Simple shapes, bright colours and punched metal sheets were the order of the day. The wire benches reminiscent of logs on sawbucks were particularly memorable.

Marginal Notes #2 has received a lot of interest in the blogosphere and the word is spreading. If you would like to know a bit more, then check out this interview with Susanna Wåhlin, one fifth of Note, on Wallpaper Style File. (If you listen very carefully you will also hear the correct pronunciation of Ӧrsjӧ!)

In the same area there was a blink and you miss it open studio/exhibition called DOWN. In an underground garage Fredrik Färg and Simon Klenell presented work alongside their studio-mates for one afternoon only. Precision timing was called for, but we just made it!

Form us With Love presented their Form Us With Friends show for the third time, this time on the island of Skeppsholmen, in association with the Architecture museum. New collaborations with 5 companies saw innovative ways to use reconstituted quartz with the Silo vases for Consetino and flat pack furniture for new company One Nordic

As mentioned in a previous post, "posh flat pack" was a mini trend throughout the week, and the Bento chair can snap together in 4 easy steps, without the need for tools or head-scratching. Obviously inspired by the work of Aalto, Bento chair and table are the first products for One Nordic, which will only be available online. 

Finally, one of the last things we saw before heading for the airport was also one of our favourites. New works by Mats Theselius were shown at the Sebastian Schild gallery, including a series of wood and copper lighting and a new chair produced by Kӓllemo. The chair comes with an interesting history. After visiting the church of Sankt Petri i Klippan designed by Sigurd Lewerentz, Mats noticed the copper roof had been replaced, so called Kӓllemo with an idea. Using the copper sheets from the roof, Mats created "Hommage á Sigurd Lewerentz", a signed and limited edition. 123 pieces are available, because that's how many copper sheets were used on the original roof.

Saturday, 18 February 2012

Stockholm Furniture Fair Highlights

Apart from Mitab and Ӧrsjӧ, which were of course major highlights of the Fair, there were plenty of other new designs vying for your attention.

David Design, originally founded by David Carlson, all but fell off the design scene in recent years, but is back, back, back with new investment and a new Atelier collection. The Shelf Lamp by Andreas Engesvik was a real gem, with squat dimensions that reminded us of the famous Eclisse by Vico Magistretti for Artemide. A naked light bulb on one side and a simple brass disc on the other providing glare protection, it was simplicity itself in concept and use of materials.

There seemed to be a micro-trend for "posh flat pack". Sweden is inexorably linked with flatpack furniture, so it is understandable they should try to elevate it to something desirable, as opposed to a chore. Heritage brand Klong presented the Horizon Collection, new (and some existing) products that can be delivered flat or assembled as the customer requests.  Ania Pauser's Knopp pendant is one of the first pieces designed specifically for the Horizon Collection, with existing products like the Nova chair from Asshoff & Brogård and Signum table from WIS Design also being re-branded part of the collection.  

Gemla was the epitome of the Swedish aesthetic. Vilda was designed by Jonas Bohlin for Restaurant AG and is a traditional bentwood chair in ash and leather seat. Nothing else, apart from a handgrip in soft leather and now with a backrest in leather or a removable leather slip-cover. The Front design superstars designed Collage, a chair and lounge chair based on forms taken from the Gemla archive. Archive tools and processes were also dusted off and combined with contemporary styling to form a....collage. 

Sticking with Gemla for a moment, it was a very pleasant surprise to see Jonas Bohlin's Kvist light in striking cobalt blue. Apparently they were hand-painted by the man himself especially for the occasion.

Photo courtesy of Holloway's of Ludlow
Asplund appear to be on a roll at the moment. Fresh from their win at the 2012 Wallpaper Design Awards for the Tati side tables, they presented the Luc series of cabinets by Broberg & Ridderstrӓle. Different formats in simple wooden finishes with transparent glass tops and a splash of colour on the legs. Daniel Rybakken's mesmerising lights which we first spotted back in April last year at Spazio Rosanna Orlandi are also now available from Asplund.

Colour was a major trend at this years show. Acid yellows and oranges mixed with pale sorbet colours, especially pink. Candy pink was everywhere, especially in combination with soft greys. If you remember the 80's, you'll know exactly what we mean. The other trend was for gloss finishes. Pink and glossy appears to be the future, for now at least. 

L-R: Stolab, Swedese, String
In the young designer area, Greenhouse, Carlsten Thostrup presented Reel Cabinet and Tie Desk. They say the devil is in the detail and in this instance, it was all about the detail. The sliding doors on Reel moved on large wheels, like a barn door and Tie was held closed by leather lacing wound around two large paper buttons. 

Norwegian based Thomas Jenkins of Studio Jenk presented "All Other Things Being Equal", a series of candlesticks in brass, aluminium and titanium. Each one weighs precisely 200g, but as each metal has a different density, the resulting candlesticks are different sizes.

In Cologne we spotted Domestica by Studio Formafantasma, and just weeks later in Stockholm Bjarke Frederiksen presented the Nordic Nomad Chair. Something in the air perhaps? 

Finally, in our whistle stop tour of the Fair, we were taken with the work of Kristine Five Melvær. Her Light Jars allow you to display your mini treasures, almost like a lab specimen, in beautifully crafted glass. A contemporary form of display cabinets. 

Plaza Magazine obviously agreed, as they awarded Kristine their young designers prize. We're pretty sure we'll see these Light Jars on a stand in the main Fair next year.

Thursday, 16 February 2012

The 2012 Mitab Collection is here

2012 is our first full year representing Mitab and it is a delight to kick things off with such a strong collection. Six new products from 5 designers, all with that Mitab edge, shows their commitment to supporting young talent.

Jonas Wagell continues his collaboration with Mitab with a brand new sofa system and new forms for the Montmartre series.

Cumulus is a new sofa for lobbies and restaurants that combines the practical requirements of a contract environment with the more generous and inviting appearance of a domestic sofa. Wagell's distinctive and playful aesthetics (literally) take the edge off the strictures of public area seating. Single, two seater and corner units can be combined in a variety of formats and an extensive selection of fabrics to ensure your Cumulus is as unique as the cloud that gave it it's name. Cirrus pillows optional!   

Jonas also find time to add some new pieces to the Montmartre family. Montmartre Bar keeps the familiar splayed leg and rounded foot of the original table but extends it to a barstool. The turned wooden seat and the beautifully considered footrest make Montmartre Bar extremely comfortable. The corresponding table comes with coat and bag hooks for peace of mind and added comfort.  

You can also have a low stool at 46h cms which would work perfectly with the original Montmartre table.

Joel Karlsson has worked with Mitab for several years now and is fond of archetypes. Simple, unfussy silhouettes that do exactly what it says on the tin. Shadow storage units are a first for Mitab. The Shadow table is perfect for meeting rooms, so it makes sense the storage should come from the same family. In two sizes and available in any colour you like, Shadow will fit seamlessly into any meeting room.

In 2009 Daniel Svahn designed the Mitab stand for the Stockholm Fair via the Stand On Your Own program and in 2012 he was back with his first product designed for Mitab. Quiet Riot clearly references a barricade, a brutal yet effective and functional piece of design. Available in 2 formats, portrait and landscape, with 4 fabric panels per side, Quiet Riot acts as both a room divider and notice board.

Office 4 Ideas, aka o4i are a multidisciplinary design studio based in Stockholm. Risto is their first collaboration with Mitab. The objective for the project was to create a slimline, refined and ultimately comfortable stacking chair for meeting and restaurant environments. There are no visible fixings, allowing for incredibly efficient stacking. A mesh back with upholstered seat and optional removable upholstery are all contained within a small footprint making Risto perfect for modern business. 

Raster is new concept in acoustic panelling. Designed by Asshoff & Brogård and inspired by modern architecture, Raster is a flexible panel in rock wool and recycled aluminium. The perforations in the aluminium are made with CNC and over time standard patterns will be added to the range.

Mitab stand, photo courtesy of Architonic

Mitab will join Ӧrsjӧ and Mitab at Clerkenwell Design Week in May. Don't forget to register for your chance to see the new products in the flesh. 

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Ӧrsjӧ collection 2012

The Stockholm Furniture and Northern Light Fairs have just finished and the immediate vox pop response to the new Ӧrsjӧ collection has been amazing. New products from new designers and new family members to compliment popular pieces made for an interesting display, with something for everyone.

Jonas Wagell is definitely a name to watch. With products for Mitab, Muuto, his own collection for Hello Industry and now Ӧrsjӧ, he is one of the fastest rising names in the Scandinavian design scene.

Wagell often takes the extremes of nature or industry as his inspiration. In the case of Studio he chose the latter, turning a photographer's studio light into a consumer product. Over-sized shades and reflectors are combined with more refined details like the solid steel handle and the polished reflectors. His first light for Ӧrsjӧ, Studio was presented both as a table light and a floor light. 

Jenny Bӓck has added a stunning new pendant to the ever popular Lean family, so now all bases are covered - ceiling, wall, table and floor. In keeping with the retro lines of Lean, the double shade pendant adds a new material; thin steel suspension cables tied together with delicate brass clasps. The familiar blend of materials (textile cable, brass, powder-coated steel) is still visible, just in a new form. Graceful in white, yet bold and graphic in black Lean continues to display Ӧrsjӧ's knack of creating lighting with real character.

Baklava by Claesson Koivisto Rune, originally designed for Nobis Hotel, is now available in pendant and wall versions, and both versions are available in two sizes. Talking points when used individually, when used in clusters Baklava is truly stunning.

Crane by Benjamin Hubert was presented in a new gloss yellow finish. Perforated metal, bright colours and gloss were all trends at the show and Crane encapsulated all 3 in one super slim task light. Functional, but never boring.

The new products will reach stores later in the Spring and will all be on display at Clerkenwell Design Week in May. Watch this space for further details.......