The venue? Stockholmsmässan. The dates? February 7th to 11th. The event? In interior design circles, only one of the most talked about of the year!
In fact, in the run up to 2023’s long-awaited Stockholm Furniture Fair (SFF), exhibitors and attendees were even more enthused than ever – the result of a long, post-pandemic hiatus (the last fair took place back in 2019).
So, what were the key trends to come out of SFF – and what did Concept Designer, Rebecka Öberg make of the event? Here, we chat to Rebecka to learn more…
“We finally made it! [to SFF]”, says Rebecka, who was eager to see what exhibitors had to offer – particularly during a time when people are experiencing high stress levels, highlighted in a study by Interbrand. When the company measured stress levels amongst global respondents, they found participants were more stressed now than during World War II!
While Sweden is known for its celebratory spirit (there’s even a day marked in the calendar to lavish praise on the humble cinnamon bun), Swedes – alongside people the world over – may currently feel anything but jubilant. In this article by Startups magazine, the author states folks are crying out for brands to “help them thrive”. Rebecka believes this can be achieved by adding brighter colors to their space (whether at home or in a commercial premises), such as yellow.
Interiors that ‘Recharge’
“During the pandemic, Nordic people talked more about how to integrate color with wellbeing. In 2023, for the first time in a decade, we’re seeing lots of color.” says Rebecka.
Joyful colors (and the idea that the right color palette can tap into our overall wellbeing) was just one of the trends emerging from the trade event, alongside escapism, nostalgia, and the notion that interiors can help “recharge” us when we are stressed. Artistic statements were aplenty, too, with more than a gentle nod towards Claude Monet in a dreamlike display from office furniture brand, Kinnarps.
“It’s all about stepping into another world,” says Rebecka, who adds that a deep brown and yellow color combination was also seen at SFF, offering another chance to bring a spot of nostalgia to proceedings via a 1970s-esque aesthetic.
On display at the fair was the organizers’ Guest of Honor, Front. The Swedish design studio – acclaimed overseas but still not quite a household name in its homeland – championed its industrial-focused collection.
New designers’ work featured in The Greenhouse, while The Nude Edition, and Älvsjö gård brought some stand-out concepts to the show. Meanwhile, pebble-upholstered seating was on display, while the biophilic trend – thanks to nature-inspired colors – picked up pace elsewhere at the event.
“This year was all about nostalgic celebrations, too,” adds Rebecka, as well as contrasting colors like muted, earthy tones, mixed with bolder hues.
“It isn’t typically Nordic to be bold. Instead, people are humble, down-to-earth – this is the attitude and mindset.” Design and mindset go hand in hand, of course, which is why Rebecka thinks people might be embracing poppier colors.
Restorative spaces were very much the order of the day as well. Rebecka speaks of exhibitors’ use of “comforting colors” – ideal in a time of high stress. With Sweden due to mark the 500-year anniversary of Gustav Vasa’s election as King, it’s certainly a momentous time, and one which can be reflected in a whole host of fun and celebratory interiors schemes.
Elsewhere, the checkerboard flooring brought exhibitors’ stands to life, and almost every shade of yellow – from gold to butterscotch and lemon – caught the eyes of attendees who might normally opt for a “50 shades of gray” color palette.
The ‘80s made a comeback, too, but with a 2020s twist. In short, this year’s Fair was about color – and lots of it.