Last updated: 09:00 PM ET, Fri April 03 2015

Opinion Home | Far-Sighted Field Notes

  • Rosalind Cummings-Yeates | April 3, 2015 9:00 PM ET

    Sampling Stockholm Designs

    Sampling Stockholm Designs

    PHOTO: These chairs are just a sampling of the cool designs on display at Stockholm Design Week. (photo by Rosalind Cummings-Yeates)

    Forget about Ikea. If you want to swoon over the clean lines and ingenious creativity of Swedish designs, the annual Stockholm Design Week is the place to be.

    Held the same week in February as the Stockholm Furniture & Light Fair, the event supplies a striking array of furniture, textiles, lamps, artisan jewelry, and interior design concepts. Walking through the rows of elegant chairs, collapsible tables and bright rugs, I was amazed by the innovation of each piece. Everything was made to be neatly stored and to blend with everything in a room.

    I learned that Stockholm homes are a haven for Swedes, who live in a region that's cold and dark for much of the year. Light and colorful designs are important to keep homes welcoming. After visiting countless design studios around the city, I realized that Swedish design is incorporated not just in furniture but also food, fabrics, and art. Here are a few standout studios and spots to experience Stockholm design:


    An inspiring non-profit that produces and sells Swedish design products in Stockholm's Tensta neighborhood, I was impressed by both the quality of the designs and the success of the women who produce them. Livstycket helps immigrant women learn the Swedish language and culture through design techniques.

    I observed a bright blue print covered with the Swedish word for "umbrella" turned into a silk-screened pillow by one student. The studio's shop is filled with everything from scarves and duvet covers, to bags, trays and dresses designed by the association's students. The pieces feature fanciful embroidery and simple fabrics like linen and cotton.

    Studio Brieditis Evans

    Conservation and respect for the environment is another Swedish principle that's often reflected in design. The design duo of Katarina Brieditis and Katarina Evans literally weave this into the fabric of their handmade rugs. They created the Re Rag Rug Project, which incorporates sustainability and textile design into unique rugs.

    Over a 12- month period, they designed a different rug for every month using discarded textiles and clothes. They used a variety of unorthodox techniques for rug making, including crochet, embroidery, applique, and knitting. These craft techniques don't require machines or big spaces, which helps conserve energy. The rugs demonstrate rich textures and colors coupled with simple but appealing designs, which is what Swedish design is all about.


    Nothing says innovation and experimental design more than an artist-operated auction house. Located in the quiet Ornsberg neighborhood, Ornsbergauktionen features independent designers who produce small scale and often radical, contemporary design. Inside an unheated industrial space, visitors gathered in coats and layers to view unusual pieces, including a chunky necklace created from car metal scraps, and a rabbit in a tuxedo sculpted in glass and cast iron. The artists set the starting bids and visitors can bid on the pieces that they like.

    Note Design Studio and Avequia

    I thought I had witnessed the breadth of Swedish creativity until I ate a dish inspired by the simple lines of a chair. There was smoke and berries and meat involved, and I can't describe exactly what the chair representation tasted like, but it was good. So was the combination of Swedish design and gastronomy for the food and wine show, “Domestic Science.”

    The multidisciplinary Note Design Studio blends different aspects of Swedish design to create singular, multi-layered products. The Note designers paired with Avequia cooking studio to dazzle visitors with dishes drawing from Swedish produce and design pieces. If you've ever wondered what a piece of Swedish furniture tastes like, visit Note Design Studio and prepare to be inspired.

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Rosalind Cummings-Yeates Far-Sighted Field Notes

Rosalind Cummings-Yeates Rosalind Cummings-Yeates is a journalist, author and blogger who specializes in travel and culture topics. She loves guiding readers through the richness of various cultures and discovering the essence of a destination. Her travel and culture blog, Farsighted Fly Girl, offers travel insights through the music, food, art and history of various countries and cultures. Join her on the journey at www.Rosalindcummingsyeates.
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