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The Rise of New Scandinavian Design: Stockholm Design Week

Design Trends

A few weeks back (though anything pre-Coronavirus may feel like a lifetime ago) in Stockholm, an epicenter of the Scandinavian design world, held its annual Design Week. The multi-day event where artists and makers preview new work, products and materials brought 700 designers from 100 countries together. On showcase were aesthetics that ran the gamut from uncluttered Scandinavian designs, to bold explosions of color mixed with fanciful, softer and more youthful motifs a new kind of Scandinavian design.


Photo Credit: Jonas Lindström

Wallpaper Magazine notes one particular emphasis of this year’s show — feminism a factor that may lend well to this new kind of Scandanavian design. This highlighted characteristic is helping cast a more inclusive, approachable quality to the minimalist aesthetic. Although in design there are long-term macro themes as design is an iterative process a discipline where old references are remixed from new points of view and edited to create completely novel things.


Photo Credit: Jonas Sveningsson

Take for example the dichotomy of design featured at the show. The firm of Bernadotte & Kylberg created the Appaloosa bed bench for bed maker Hästens a piece all about classic Scandi design with its functionality, light wood and sleek minimalist design.


Work by Fredrick Paulsen. Photo Credit: Jonas Lindström


Work by Fredrick Paulsen. Photo Credit: Jonas Lindström

In contrast, Swedish designer Fredrick Paulsen created the multi-purpose Central Pavilion space at the event, applying bright, minty green colors to walls, installing a red carpet that rolls out from the arched doorway to create the illusion of an open mouth with its tongue unfurled. Lights and chandeliers are positioned to complete the illusion within the pavilion. These bright and bold colors, much like those in our 2020 trend story Playtime, were a major trend showcased this year at the Stockholm event. Paulsen described his Central Pavilion design as “Fun Fair,” according to the Financial Times a concept inspired by the playfulness and fantasy elements found in Las Vegas casinos, Coney Island, and the promenades of the French Riviera.


Work by Doshi Levieni. Photo Credit: Jonas Lindström

Paulsen wasn’t the only artist using flights of fancy to guide his design. Finnish company Made by Choice displayed their Merry Stool, modeled after a blue Merry-Go-Round. Made by Choice designer Hannah Anonen also showcased a chandelier shaped as a flower bouquet and table décor swirled into beehive shapes.

Creators didn’t just limit themselves to designing for interiors. Both Montana Furniture and Massproductions unveiled indoor/outdoor modular seating systems that can be easily moved and reconfigured to include seating for everyone at the garden party. This emphasis on inclusion and finding grounding comfort in outside settings echoes the Dunn-Edwards color trend story Co-Habitants, highlighting a return to natural surroundings and a communal focus on the planet.



Work by Anders Zorn. Photo Credit: Jonas Sveningsson

A focus on biomaterials like caffeine and mushrooms also played a central role at the festival, as designers seek to bring clever solutions to the industry’s involvement in climate change. If you’d like to catch some more local design festivals this year like the wildly popular Modernism Week in Palm Springs, read all about them in our roundup.

What will the future hold for design events? Virtual Design Festival just launched this week in response to COVID-19 with partners The Design Museum, Dutch Design Week, Design Indaba, Ventura Projects and The World Around.

All photos courtesy of Stockholm Design Week