Hello troopers, have you made your way back from Sweden yet? Stockholm Furniture Fair returned all guns blazing this year and PENSON team was fortunate to be a part of it. While it’s impossible to round up an event of such scale, we will foolishly attempt to do so. We couldn’t help but notice several reoccurring themes and developments that reflect a cultural shift in the way we create and consume designs, so here are a few thoughts on how the industry is shaping up.
It’s a really interesting time for design industry now. We’re witnessing post-industrial nostalgia for pre-industrial craftsmanship. We long to see more simple, honest ways of making, yet as a society we are still completely reliant on machine made products. A lot of emerging brands often at the forefront of the slow movement shy away from mass scale production and chose to make things by hand. Brands in Scandinavia are especially fortunate as they can use proximity to local materials to their advantage: keeping the production local and relying on technical “know-how” of the local craftsmen. Small-scaleness, craft, closeness to roots – these have been reoccurring keywords.
It’s now become clear that the creatives are changing too. Design, architecture, craftsmanship used to be different schools that co-existed like siblings who didn’t necessarily get along. These days the lines are blurring and disciplines are fusing, forcing designers to re-think the way they create and operate. We will see a growing number of collaborations and projects rooted in the exchange of ideas, concepts, strategies & skills.
One particularly interesting example of blurring lines is domestication of contract furniture. Contract and domestic furniture have long been two separate product categories, but these days contract furniture is starting look like it could used both in offices and urban dwellings. A lot of collaboration tables could easily pass as dinning tables, if you just take off the cable management. This trend reflects a cultural shift in workspace design: long gone are the days when offices where clusters of pesky cubicles, these days offices need flexible, multifunctional, beautiful furniture that would bring people together, help them feel comfortable and essentially make them more productive.
Open office trend is clearly having its momentum, but this type of layouts come with a downside: extra care needs to be put into acoustic design. The fair featured more acoustic products than ever as sound reduction seemed a hot topic this year. Acoustic wall panels, acoustic desk dividers, booths for phone calls or meetings and even an acoustic dome designed to hang just above your head. “Designers think about light and form and surface but they often don’t think about sound”, said Chief editor of Stylepark in a round-up talk last Thursday and she had a fair point. Noise reduction has been neglected in interiors for far too long and this year might just be a start of game changing path for better, noise-level focused designs.