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Opinion / Nic Monisse

Living rooms

Living rooms

“Even though we’re in Sweden, I’m going to speak English because we have people from all over the world here.” Those were the words of Bo Hellberg, chief marketing officer at Swedish brand String Furniture, when he launched its newest product at Stockholm Furniture Fair yesterday (see below). And it aptly sums up the outcome of the return, after a two-year hiatus, of Scandinavia’s biggest industry fair.Since its foundation in 1951, the event has made the Swedish capital a must-visit destination in chilly February for designers, architects, journalists and buyers eager to see the latest designs that northern Europe has to offer. And so its cancellation in 2021 and 2022 was significant. Would the likes of the larger Salone del Mobile fair in Milan and the emerging 3 Days of Design in Copenhagen in sunny June make Stockholm irrelevant? Judging by the number of accents I heard on the opening day – American architects here, Japanese media there – and Hellberg’s assessment above, that certainly isn’t the case.The visitors are here to see brands such as Norway’s Vestre and Normann Copenhagen, which launched new outdoor furniture and lighting, respectively, at booths in the bustling Stockholmsmässan. Others ventured beyond the trade hall (as part of the concurrently run Stockholm Design Week) to showcase their wares: Denmark’s Frama is launching a new chair at Konstnärsbaren, a restaurant, with diners enjoying lunch in the seats, while Carl Hansen & Søn is presenting its collection at the Nationalmuseum.Alongside these established brands, emerging designers showing work in group exhibitions are proving to be a big draw. Acoustics company Baux presented the efforts of eight young designers commissioned to research the links between materials and wellbeing, while other young creatives had their work shown at Älvsjö gård (see below). The headline act in the fairgrounds, however, is Greenhouse, Stockholm Furniture Fair’s area for new talent. It is by far the busiest part of the showcase and a reminder that, despite the gloomy winter forecast, the future of Scandinavian design – and the role it plays in the global scene – is bright.Nic Monisse is Monocle’s design editor.

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