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Innovation Rooted In Simplicity: Stockholm Design Week 2024


Still dining out on fond memories of last year’s Design Week in Stockholm, Ignant was invited once again by Grand Relations to travel to the snow-covered Swedish capital for the fair’s 2024 location. Over four days, we immersed ourselves in an abundance of intriguing design proposals that transcended Scandinavia and brought together creators and design aficionados from all across the globe.

The home base for our exploration was the elegant Hotel Diplomat. The historic Art Nouveau palace blends modern design with timeless sophistication while offering incredible views over the city’s waterfront. Throughout our stay, it proved to be the ideal retreat to unwind after days filled with exploring the expansive lineup of exhibitors and events, which included exclusive press previews by Harriet Allure, Melyon, Form Us With Love, Gustaf Westman and many more. From Design Week’s vast offering, we handpicked eight projects that caught our attention. Despite their diversity, they were all united by a commitment to innovation and adaptability to individual needs while prioritizing quality, attention to detail, and straightforward simplicity—a theme that resonated throughout the entirety of Design Week.

Iittala - Tradition Gets A New Look

On Monday evening, the week was kicked off with an immersive experience by Iittala, the renowned Finnish brand whose roots in glass manufacturing date back to 1881. Hosted in the spectacular setting of a former nuclear power reactor, the event set the framework for launching Iittala’s new creative vision. With Janni Vepsäläinen as their recently appointed creative director, the brand embarks on a journey to reinforce its commitment to experimentation and artistic collaboration in artisanal glassmaking. Setting the sails for this voyage, the firm introduced a new visual identity inspired by its historical logo from 1892. The new identity is accompanied by a product series called “Play,” through which Iittala reimagines how we interact with design in our daily lives. The series features glass objects and ceramics, as well as textiles and candles, all showcasing versatile, playful, and vibrant designs that cater to the requirements of urban living.

In collaboration with London-based artist Damsel Elysium, Iittala also unveiled a series of unique mouth-blown glass instruments during the event. The objects open up a new field of creation for the brand and underscore Iittala’s devotion to pushing the boundaries of craftsmanship while honoring its heritage. Vepsäläinen describes this new Iittala era as “experimental, energetic, curious and bold,”—a promise well-realized during the launch.

Vaarnii - An Ode To Pine

Also hailing from Finland was the design brand Vaarnii, which celebrated its debut at the fair. Specializing in furniture, lamps, and accessories crafted from high-quality Finnish pine, Vaarnii showcased a collection unified by a sophisticated and brutalist design language. Leveraging their knowledge in woodworking, the brand regularly teams up with renowned designers. Presented at the fair was, amongst others, their joint project with Faye Toogood. The collaboration with the British designer gave rise to an outdoor lounge chair and matching footstool that combined generous forms known from Toogood’s visual vocabulary with the material expertise of the Finnish producer. A further standout was their cooperation with Ronan Bouroullec, which resulted in two raw yet elegant dining chairs.

Very Simple: Kitchen - On Point

Another debutant at Design Week was Italian studio Very Simple: Kitchen. As straightforward as the brand’s name, so too is their core concept: the design, production, and marketing of modular, freestanding, stainless steel kitchens. Their customizable solutions, as well as the brand’s philosophy, are—once again—based on three words: classic, colorful, and versatile. At the fair, the studio presented their proposal for a kitchen in a soothing chocolate-colored shade. While staying true to their minimalist forms, the new addition to their color range was inspired by the nostalgia of warm tones and intense scents emerging in a cooking environment.

String Furniture - Quality All Around

Sharing this dedication to modularity and a passion for color, the brand String Furniture presented their novel storage system: “Relief.” The system consists of drawers and hook rails in different dimensions that can be connected and mixed in size and color, depending on individual needs and requirements. By paying equal attention to the design of the pieces’ front and back, studio TAF, who is responsible for the design of “Relief,” aims to take the storage units out from beyond the corners and offers the opportunity to place them in the middle of a space, acting as a room divider or centerpiece.

Wekino - News from Seoul

One of the fair’s participants far from Europe’s borders was Wekino, a lifestyle brand from Seoul. Focusing on furniture, the brand presented its new product line, “Wekino With,” for which it collaborated with various South Korean designers and studios. Curated by Note Design Studio, the show encompassed a variety of products such as stacking chairs, rugs, shelves, and coat racks. Among the creations was the “Salong Table,” designed by Studio Kunsik under the theme of the “Sculptor’s atelier.” With its octagonal legs, the wooden table has a sturdy character that invites creation as well as quiet moments over a cup of tea. This dualism perfectly illustrates the dynamic of Wekino’s booth, blending the energy of the bustling cultural scene in Seoul with careful contemplations about material, texture, and form.

Ishinomaki Laboratory - Design Born Out Of Shared Knowledge

Ishinomaki Laboratory was born in 2011 when designer Keiji Ashizawa was asked by a friend to help him rebuild his destroyed restaurant after the 2011 earthquake in Japan. To empower locals in Ishinomaki to restore their town independently, Ashizawa established a simple workshop, equipping residents with the skills and knowledge needed. From this initiative and collaboration with other designers who came to help, an independent furniture brand emerged, which has prioritized simple constructions, functionality, shared knowledge, and cooperation. For their exhibition at the Swedish Furniture Fair, Ishinomaki Laboratory invited seven international designers to build simple furniture out of Thermowood during a three-day workshop in Gothenburg. Among the design studios were well-established names like Norm Architects and TAF Studio as well as emerging brands and designers such as Asca Studio or Paul Vaugoyeau.

Formafantasma - A Place To Rest, Read, and Reflect

Invited as the fair’s Guests of Honor was the Italian design duo Formafantasma. With their special attention to social and environmental challenges and their research on how design can confront the issues of our time, the studio has established itself as one of the most sought-after practices in contemporary creation. For the fair, Fromafantastma installed a “Reading Room” in the entrance hall. Protected by a pale pink cascading curtain and furnished with birch stools by Artek, the duo created a space that offered visitors the chance to rest, read, and reflect on their impressions of the fair.

Cappelen Dimyr - An Atelier For Soft Interiors

In addition to the numerous design proposals at the fair’s primary location, many intriguing showcases spread throughout Stockholm. One notable example was the presentation of Cappelen Dimyr, a Danish design collective dedicated to creating soft and luxurious interior products. Initially starting with a focus on high-quality carpets, Cappelen Dimyr has expanded its range to include wall tapestries and, more recently, bed and furniture covers hand-crafted by specialists in India. At Grand Relations’ Atelier, the exhibition found the perfect place to display the brand’s blend of Scandinavian elegance and Bohemian luxury.

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