The Stockholm Furniture Fair is small, but exquisite. In addition to the best known Scandinavian producers, a number of international greats also present their new living, lighting and office design products here. Bene was there for the second time. Of course, we brought along our products for today’s modern working environment.
In 1919 the chairman of the Swedish Design Council tried to explain the uniqueness of Scandinavian design with the words “Vackrare Vardagsvara”: “More beautiful things for everyday use.” The light and pureness of Scandinavian shaping and design has since set precedents all around the world, and the Nordic design language is now spoken just about everywhere.
Once again this year, at the Stockholm Furniture Fair the trends tie in with the great Scandinavian tradition of design: clear and minimalistic shapes, effortless elegance and natural materials dominate the trade fair booths. The world of colours was dominated by earthy tones like green, brown, yellow and beige in all shades, supplemented by pastel pink and trendy petrol.
Beautiful things for everyday use – if the first thing that comes to your mind when you hear this is a well-known Swedish furniture store, you are not far off. Particularly in the Nordic countries in recent years, a number of companies have made their motto the democratisation of good design.
The fact that this “design for the masses” can look really good is proved by the One Nordic Furniture Company, that people also like to call a luxury IKEA. One Nordic uses the opportunities of the 21st century to bring high-quality furniture and a broad product range of accessories to the people: “The online era has enabled many new and exciting possibilities in furniture design and we do our best to take advantage of them”, says found Joel Ross. The products can be ordered online and (attention: IKEA!) must be assembled by the customer. However, the construction at One Nordic is done without any additional tools or screws - almost intuitively.
Another popular store that cooperates with both young and established designers is the Danish company HAY. This year they presented ingenious stacks: Ronan & Erwan Bouroullec created a series of tables and chairs for the University of Copenhagen that, thanks to their simple, symmetric shape, can be stacked almost endlessly. Simple design, yet it looks great.
Bla Station presented the longest sofa in the world: Code 27 by Stefan Borselius and Johan Lindau consists of 27 cm long modules that can be combined as you wish. Also new: the “Kaffe” series, a formal variation of the classic coffeehouse interior consisting of a chair, two-seater and table for both outside and inside. To make the reduced shapes still emanate the comfort of a coffeehouse, the furniture has been design with a “used look”.
Despite all the novelties at the trade fair, the design classics did not come up short: Arper presented a new version of Bardi’s Bowl Chair, which is available again in a limited edition, a half a century after its launch.
For several years now, the so-called Greenhouse has been offering young designers a platform to present their creations. This year the participants came from 16 different countries. There were few experimental pieces - even the young creatives concentrated on the producibility of their pieces.
The greenhouse effect, which the Greenhouse offers as a creative space, is effective nonetheless. Take, for example, as a proof the Danish-Italian studio GamFratesi: In 2006 they were still exhibiting in the Greenhouse, but Stine Gam and Enrico Fratesi climbed the career ladder quickly and this year they were asked to design the entrance to the Stockholmsmässan. With their installation entitled “Balance” they allude, on the one hand, to our daily search for balance and on the other, they create areas with floating textile elements that offer visitors space to relax and chat.
A lot has happened in office design in recent years. The changes in working environments and work styles are finally bringing about a change in thinking as far as design is concerned: design is taking over the office.
The London design studio PearsonLloyd did the pioneer work here. “Life has changed - so should the office. You don’t have to sit at your desk in order to work", says designer Luke Pearson. Over years of cooperation with Bene, they developed the furniture series PARCS and DOCKLANDS, which offer space for communication and exchange, as well as a place to do focussed work and enjoy privacy. This creates a variety of zones and areas that can be used as needed. The most recent success from the house of PearsonLloyd is RIYA, the office chair with a “human touch”, bringing a breath of fresh air into the office.
The product design speaks a new language that was hitherto unknown in the office, combining technological and ergonomic excellence with pleasant and organic aesthetics. Fresh colours and samples bring vitality into the working environment.
Lighting solutions such as Bene lamps also show that the spectrum of light at the workplace is much broader than was hitherto suspected. Farewell artificial desk lighting! - especially in communication areas there is more than enough space for well thought-through lighting solutions in refreshing modern designs.
The widespread use of height-adjustable desks is another sign that the focus is on making employees feel comfortable at work. So-called Lift Desks enable people to work not only while sitting but also while standing.
There is no doubt about it: there is still a lot to do to make the future of work a good one. But many of the solutions presented here prove that we are already on the right track.