New York, Paris and Milan have fashion weeks, but this year during a cold week in February, Stockholm hosts a design week where you can view the latest offerings from Scandinavian artists, designers and architects. The event showcases the latest design must-haves for the archetypal loft apartment, in addition to some impressive art installations, and proves that there is more to Swedish design than IKEA flat packs.
Swedish architect Gert Wingårdh and Dutch illustrator Kustaa Saksi have provided an intricate installation made out of 1,120 stacks of paper, or 11,000 individual A3 sheets connected at 44,000 points. The exhibit, called “Hello! Anatomy of Communication” spans an area of 200 sq. mt. (2152.8 sq. ft.). Not only is a small forest required to provide the suspended elements, the mirror-laminated tabletops underneath also use stacks of paper as their supports.
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Wingårdh designed the dome shape by hanging the paper from a flat roof panel, with an aisle leading to the “altar” that displays discussion panels running throughout the Stockholm Design Week. Artist Kustaa Saksi illustrated each page of the pavilion's ceiling, with the lowest page giving form to the dome shape, that in turn is reflected using the mirrored tables. The feat of constructing the installation demonstrates months of planning and design, that is evident in the time-lapse video at the bottom of the page.
Another mass-produced display has been created by guest designer Oki Sato of Japanese design studio Nendo. The lounge installation at the show entrance is made from plastic foam sheets transformed into a scene of snow-capped mountains. Dubbed “80 Sheets of Mountains,” the display is designed to grow and peak, representing the process of design from concept to completion.
Both Wingårdh and Nendo have addressed the use of materials in their installations, and highlight that both exhibits can be recycled at the end of the show – the paper will be donated to charities supporting children and young people.
In another venue, an industrial robot provided by ABB Robotics is the proverbial bull in a china shop, this time in a cavern filled with glass. Titled “Glass Elephant,” the exhibit has been designed by TAF Arkitekter, and hopes to highlight the changing pattern of consumerism by inter-playing the robotic steel arms with the glass objects that surround them. The robot dusts the objects with a feather duster, shines a spotlight on them or gently wobbles them. The irony of ABB as a leading supplier of industrial robots for manufacturing is not lost in the intended message of this exhibit.
Aside from the impressive installations, a few products to mention at the fair include the Deziebel screens designed to reduce sound transmission in office environments via a mineral wool covering and perforated medium density fiberboard core; the Dent Stack chair in layer-glued compression-molded ash wood; and also the Lucy folding table from Johanson Design.
Stockholm Design Week began on February 4th to celebrate the best of Scandinavian design. The main event, Stockholm Furniture & Light Fair, attracts around 40,000 visitors from more than 60 countries and 750 exhibitors every year.