Sweden Design Moves is a four-year program of promoting Swedish architecture, design and fashion around the world. 4 to 9 April this year a very special contingent of designers and companies from Sweden were peppered throughout the city during Milan Design Week 2017.
Visitors to Milan were able to navigate the city through a specially designed map (digital and printed) featuring dozens of Swedish-related events, including a cluster of design activity in the 5vie district and a dedicated exhibition at the fairground.
There were also plenty of opportunities to try Swedish food and drink throughout the Swedish trail. Project Manager of Swedish Design Moves, Michael Persson Gripkow, says, “Sweden’s design history is deeply connected to its rural heritage and social ideals but there is much more to Swedish design than the cool contemporary minimalism for which it’s best known. At its core, Swedish design is driven by equality, and creativity guides the solutions.”
Well known for their wanderlust, Swedes work around the world, sharing international references, innovations and contacts. Simultaneously however, there is a strong movement in the Swedish design community back to Swedish heritage and craft skills. Small design-led businesses with unique identities are enjoying a renaissance – telling their own stories and producing their products locally on a small scale all around Sweden.
Sweden is also one of the few European countries where local production has increased during the past ten years. Recent studies show that Sweden has one of Europe’s most stable furniture industries, with a strong growth compared to other countries in these uncertain times.
Participants in Milan
The highly anticipated Ikea design and lifestyle festival in Lambrate featured new collaborations, six new collections and a packed-out schedule of events.
Bolon flooring collaborated with Cappellini at FuoriSalone, Hästens, the 165-year old bed manufacturer, known by its blue-and-white check pattern, made a significant brand announcement, and furniture brand Blå Station, lighting brands Zero and Ateljé Lyktan and Kasthall carpets were all launching new designs in Milan showrooms.
Offecct launched a permanent showroom in Navigli, where it will be showing new launches including the Phoenix (an excellent example of a fully sustainable product), by adopted Swede Luca Nichetto. Elsewhere in Milan, Nichetto collaborated with fragrance creator and entreprenur Ben Gorham on an installation with 158 year old Murano glass manufacturer Salviati in a 700 sqm space in Ventura Centrale.
The highly innovative sewing with wood and aluminum installations, Armour mon Amour by Färg & Blanche collaborated with Bolon, at Teatro Arsenale. Beckmans College of Design in Stockholm and other Swedish schools, Including the University of Gothenburg , University of Gävle and Lund University exhibited in Ventura Lambrate, next to their international counterparts. Also in Ventura Lambrate, industrial designer Anna Gudmundsdottir exhibited a selection of everyday disposable homewares created in collaboration with local manufacturers in southern Sweden.
Around Milan were also other internationally renowned designer names, such as Monica Förster, Folkform and Front. Ten years of collaboration between architects Claesson Koivisto Rune and Italian furniture manufacturer Arflex was presented in the Arflex showroom, together with the trio’s own brand, Smaller Objects.
Form Us With Love, one of Sweden’s most prolific design companies, arranged leading prototyping workshops at Studio Monzini Raboni in 5vie. Collaborators on Prototypa included Clara von Zweigbergk, Beckmans College and Wingårdhs Architects.
The fourth edition of the coveted Summit design interview book by editors Daniel Golling and Gustaf Kjellin was available to visitors at the iconic
Swedish Design Goes Milan, a curated exhibition organized by Business Sweden of 18 designers and companies, by White Architects was exhibited at Milan retail and gallery space, featuring a special ‘mingle lounge’ spanning everything from small-scale craft, design and fashion to large-scale architecture from Sweden.
Architects Sweden’s specially commissioned film Woodland, screened at the Teatro Arsenale.
Swedish brands, including Karl Andersson & Söner, Bolon, Swedese, Lammhults, Örsjö, String and Blond Belysning, presented their new work at their stands. At Fabbrica del Vapore, to celebrate 20 years of Salone Satellite, curator Beppe Finessi had pulled together a retrospective of some the best young designers who began their careers at Salone Satellite.
Among the selection were Swedes: Mia Cullin, Daniel Enoksson, Folkform, Färg & Blanche, Louise Hederström, Lucas Hinnerud, and Stefan Holm.
Later this spring, after Design Week, Volvo will open a new showroom in Milan, designed by Swedish architects Tham & Videgård. Also, the fashion brand Acne Studios will open a new shop in the Brera neighborhood.
After Milan, Swedish Design Moves travels on to Paris in September with fashion and architecture as the main focus with a program of events at the Swedish Institute.
Swedish Design Goes Milan, press release from Swedish Design Moves