As you might expect, I’ve come back from my trip to Stockholm buzzing with ideas and inspiration. Not only did I get to see some fantastic installations as part of the city-wide Design Week (check out my personal highlight here), I also had chance to browse the 700+ stands at the Stockholm Furniture Fair. It’s the biggest showcase of Scandinavian design in the world, and as well as seeing the latest collections from favaourites such as Ferm Living, Menu, By Lassen and String in person, I discovered plenty of other exciting product launches.
I’ll share some of my favourite finds from existing brands next week, but first I want to focus on three new companies which all made their debut at the fair. So, pour yourself a cuppa, sit back and let me introduce you to Northern, Nuura and Warm Nordic…
First up is Oslo-based Northern Lighting, which used the fair to relaunch itself as a wider interiors brand known simply as Northern. It’s a natural evolution for the 12-year-old company, which has become known for its bold interpretation of classical forms and its innovative use of materials, and I was very excited to see the opening collection.
Developed by Northern Lighting CEO Ove Rogne and design studio Morten & Jonas, the range includes furniture and home accessories by 16 designers from seven different countries. Their brief was to address the increasing demand for multifunctional products in an understated yet luxurious way, and the resulting pieces cover a wide array of materials and silhouettes.
My favourites include the ‘Daybe’ sofabed and strikingly simple ‘Stilk’ table, both designed by Morten & Jonas, and Stina Aas’ ‘Oaki’ chair, which was inspired by traditional Japanese joinery. I also love the curvaceous contours of Mario Tsai’s ‘Oblong’ lounge chair, and the retro air of Rudi Wulff’s versatile ‘Hifive’ storage and shelving unit.
Of course, lighting still features strongly. Many of Northern Lighting’s most popular designs remain, including the graphic ‘Circle’ chandelier and the stoneware ‘Meld’ pendant, but they’ve now been joined by some impressive additions. Most eye-catching are Johanna Forsberg’s ‘Heat’, which uses gleaming brass mesh to evoke a fiery cloud, and ‘Fold’, which was created by the extremely talented Kyla McCallum of British origami studio Foldability. There’s also a series of floor and table lamps by Johan Lindsten, which can be extended and repositioned with rotating gears and levers.
Next is Nuura, a Danish lighting brand founded by designer Sofie Refer and her business partners Nadia Lassen and Peter Østerberg. They aim to create contemporary pieces with an eclectic touch, and all their designs are inspired by Nordic light and nature. The four debut collections each centre around a chandelier, whose form is also interpreted as a pendant, a wall light and floor and table lamps, and can be bought off the shelf or customised to suit specific projects.
‘Anoli’ consists of simple glass pendants whose organic shape was inspired by droplets of water falling from the sky. Sofie first came up with the idea on a rainy September day and started sketching the initial design in the middle of a downpour.
‘Blossi’ is based around a sleek glass shade with rounded sides. This is combined with metal to spread a soft, indirect light that mimics the golden glow of the Scandinavian autumn.
‘Lilla’ is formed from glass spheres in smooth opal white or textured mouth-blown glass, which are mounted on metal bases. They can be used on their own or clustered together to form a lattice that Sofie describes as a ‘sculpture for the wall’.
The same basic globe also features in the final collection, ‘Miira’, named after Sofie’s daughter Mira. Here, it’s combined with matte grey metal to create minimalist lighting with a balanced, understated aesthetic.
Last but by no means least is Warm Nordic – a brand-new company created to show the warm, cosy and inclusive side of Scandinavian design. It was conceived by architect and financier Frantz Longhi, who owns existing Danish brands Paustian and Kähler, and is a reaction to the general misconception that Nordic design is cold and sterile.
Warm Nordic’s first collection won’t actually go on sale until 22nd March, but its Stockholm stand provided a tantalising preview. It’s comprised of more than 100 pieces, many in earthy shades such as mustard yellow, rust red and coral pink, and encompasses brand-new designs as well as relaunched mid-century classics from the 1950s and 60s. They all fit together so seamlessly that only those who really know their history will be able to identify which is which – proof that good design really is timeless.
Highlights include two playful chairs by iconic designer Hans Olsen, which have both been updated with contemporary upholstery: the ‘Fried Egg’ lounge chair, first created back in 1956, and the ergonomic ‘Gesture’ side chair from 1957. Also being relaunched is the ‘Bloom’ lamp, created by Sven Aage Holm-Sørensens in 1950 and punctuated by small holes that cast beautiful patterns on surrounding surfaces.
Among the new pieces is the elegant ‘Secant’ coffee table by Norwegian designer Sara Polmar, who has combined a minimalist frame with a striking marble top in black or red. There are also geometric tiled dining tables, sleek rounded poufs, beautiful dark-wood desks, and sculptural marble candleholders in an array of shapes and shades.
I was very impressed by all three companies and I think we can expect big things from them over the coming years. I’ll certainly be watching them with interest!
Most photography via the respective brands above; Nuura image 10 by Abi Dare