A photographer’s look at the Furniture Fair in Stockholm

One early morning an hour before the fair officially opened, the clouds reflecting in the rising sun’s warm colors gave a preview of what would appear on the inside. The atmosphere was good and quality was high, both in the booths and the products. But to fully understand why, it often required that one stepped deeper into the booth and took part of the history and the technology behind.

In this newsletter, I share with you what I saw and experienced during this year’s design week.
If you would like to see all the details, click on the pictures to view them in a larger size.


First came the Waterloo park sofa

To the right of the locomotive there’s a park bench with two front sides by Jesper Ståhl & Karl Malmvall. The backrest can be turned so that you either face the road or the view, with the sun on your back or in your face.

From there the idea for the Byarums Bruk booth grew. The sofa is inspired by Waterloo Station in London, so the booth was given a station theme, developed in collaboration with stylist and designer Synnöve Mork. The locomotive and narrow track (width 60 cm) was borrowed from the Ohsabanan Railway Museum in Sweden’s Småland province. The locomotive weighs 4 tons and was transported into the hall with a crane truck a couple of days before all the booths began to be built around it.

Mies van der Rohe’s modernism inspires

Another nice booth was Skandiform where architects Claesson Koivisto Rune had created an urban city environment inspired by Mies van der Rohe’s historic buildings. The walls are copies of the Seagram Building in New York City and Lakeview Condos and the Kluczynski Federal Building in Chicago.

Trends at the fair

This year’s colors are still toned down but they are divided into two distinct color schemes. The bright red colors from last year’s show are tinted to brown, rust and purple. If you want something lighter, you can browse through hues from light pink to orange. A combination or alternative color scale were very matte blue and gray tones.

The blue chair is Decibel by Ruud Ekstrand, created for Skandiform. The name comes from the sound-absorbing material under the seat. Decibel is one of the chairs following the year’s wood trend. Wood was a material that appeared in some form in most of the furniture at the fair.

Mood lighting with feeling

Konkret is a new series of pendant lights from Örsjö Belysning with design by Jonas Edvard.
It is made of ash veneer which is toned down in black with fine details, such as the leather strap riveted with brass buttons.
There’s not much to say about the lighting manufacturers exhibiting their products. Though the fair is called the Stockholm Furniture & Light Fair, furniture dominates. I will return with lighting trends after the Furniture Fair in Milan, where the Euroluce lighting fair this year is running in parallel on the same space as the entire fair in Stockholm.

Award for the best product

The new sofa system BOB from Blå Station, in the form of a bench (above), won the Best Product at the fair according to the Editors’ Choice Awards. Stefan Bernstrand & Stefan Borselius have created a system that, with a few modules, offer almost unlimited combinations. Look at the video and you’ll see.

Learn from the young

The activity-based workplace is still considered innovative. However, young people have known and used it for a long time.

Premium Workplace in Elm

Workstations has been white (or in some cases black) over the last years and due to price pressure the design has been close to equal. But now more alternative in design and different woods / colors are shown.

Workplace Nordic was developed by Wingårdh Arkitekter for an interior design project and has since become a standard product in Ragnar’s product range. One goal was to integrate storage into the working desk, thus freeing space behind, which traditionally is used for storage. Storage is mounted separately on a standard electric stand and thereby facilitates the installation that can be done in stages, or by upgrading existing workstations. At the exhibition, Nordic was displayed in elm with its distinct linear grain creates peace and gives it a pleasant character.

Christmas for minglers

The city was in full swing as usual. An obvious difference to this spring’s Furniture Fair in Milan is the cold weather. In Stockholm, it was cold despite the lack of snow, and everyone wanted to go indoors. Once inside with a little bubbly in hand and nice people around, everything was wonderful. Until it was time to move on, or go home, and you had to start looking for your clothes.

Design Talks grows with architecture

Before the fair in 2017, Stockholm Design Talks changed its name to Stockholm Architecture & Design Talks, as architecture now becomes a fundamental part of the knowledge-based program. The picture above is from the main stage in Hall C where Karl Johan Bertilsson, Creative Director of NCS Color held his lecture - Color Trends 2018.

Best in Show (according to me)

Sustainability and recycling was hot at the show. Walking quickly past the Green Room you only saw a remastered Lamino armchair from Swedese. If you stayed and talked to Ellinor Hedberg from the Konstfack, you found out why she is the furniture fair’s uncrowned queen of recycling, embroidery and

“I started to unravel old fabrics to make the threads and yarn to work with. Then I sorted all threads by color. I try to create a structure from something that I perceive to be a mess, I want to find a pattern in what at first looks like a chaos.”

When you are having trouble deciding

In the Greenhouse there was also the table called Beech. The story began when Marcus Voraa got tired of looking for extra leaves for the table in the basement. He simply made a table with a crank that adjusts the length of the table from 1.5 to 4 meters.

The design bar became a restaurant

This year, design bar Sulla Bocca di Tutti (“on everyone’s lips”) in Hall C was a full-scale restaurant, where Isabella Marrone took charge of the menu that mixes Swedish and Italian flavors. When Note Design was commissioned the assignment, their ambition was to create a place that felt warm and visually inviting for everyone. “We chose to forget words like attractive, smart and functional.”

Sulla Bocca di Tutti will remain in operation until March 12. The good food and friendly service along with an elaborate concept embracing this year’s color scheme makes it easy for me to recommend a visit!


This year there were many fine details, often in leather attachments like the adjustable pillow at Dandy from Gärsnäs. Pierre Sinder’s generous and beautiful armchair has room for two people that like to cuddle.

Why compromise?

According to Joel Karlsson, functional and aesthetic experiences cannot be separated.
The table series, Commune by Mitab, shows this by an elegant recess into the table legs that holds the electrical outlets.

When the inside is more interesting

Lammhult presented the Penne chair at Orgatec 2016 in a version with seat and back in polypropylene, designed by Berlin-based designers Julia Läufer and Marcus Keiche.
In Stockholm, the entire series was completed with wood versions in ash, walnut or oak. The chair is stackable and has a hangable frame and connection fittings. Penne is the first chair with legs of laminated wooden tubes, that give it the light weight of 3.1 kg.

The most comfortable seat of the fair

Was Luca Nichetto’s new modular seating sofa Jord för Fogia. The backrests of the low and generous sofa are adjustable to any position from upright to almost completely flat. The sofa is one of very few with a removable cover, both in fabric and leather.

Getting a taxi will not solve everything

On Thursday, bomb threats to trains in both Gothenburg and Stockholm resulted in the commuter train from Älvsjö being canceled. So even if you were able to grab a taxi at the fair,
it was not that easy to get out of the area ...

75 years for Stockholm International Fairs

This year Stockholm International Fair celebrated 75 years, while the furniture fair has reached the respectable age of 66 years. The number of participants was over 40,000 people. Notably, foreign visitors increased by 6.5% to nearly 10,700. The fair strengthens its position as the most important market place for design in Scandinavia.

The pressure in Hall A and B for public environment was high, but it felt like it thinned out in hall C, which is directed towards consumers. The positive consequence was that the fair had room for a big stage for lectures and a Design Bar/Restaurant. So, next year, also visit C hall so that you do not miss anything.

Next year’s event will be held on February 6-10, 2018. See you then!
Lasse Olsson Photo photographs interiors, architecture and lighting. My newsletter is published 6-8 times a year. It presents photographed projects and reports from furniture fairs in Milan and Stockholm.