Thursday, 20 February, 2014 | in Products

Stockholm Furniture Fair 2014: Greenhouse picks

Continuing my coverage of the 2014 Stockholm Furniture Fair, here were some of the best in show from hopeful new talents producing independently and getting their first foot in the door. Of the 36 designers and 37 design schools from 16 countries that took part in the juried Greenhouse section this year, here are the top ten that particularly caught my eye.

Sine clothes rack Ral chair POM formellt Hanna Dalrot Urban henhouse Befring chair Jelusic Consentino Jacobsen noidoi pulse

1 - There are some beautiful clothes racks out there, but I haven't seen anything else as simple, fun, and functional as the SINE hanger system by Erik Olovsson and Kyuhyung Cho. From the distinctive sine curve design across the top (imagine that row of perfectly spaced shirts), to the separate purpose-built hangers for clothes, belts, scarves, and accessories, this is one brilliantly-thought-through product that I can't wait to see in production.

2 - A chair in which to take a moment to find inner (and outer) balance. That is the idea behind Beckmans design student Rebecca Ral's sideways-rocking Mind Your Seat chair.

3 - POM (Piece of Me) desk collection. Simply loved the effect that new Stockholm-based studio Formellt achieved with their solid ash desks covered in tanned leather. In their shapes and surfaces are revealed the imprints of their use, workday habits built up over hundreds of hours. Imprints of a notebook here, a pen there. Their tight leather skin giving them an organic evolving quality that evokes so many things at once. Life, a living thing burdened by habit. The luxury we work so hard for and the bondage in that, both titillating and enslaving.

4 - Moody, rich, minimalist and monochromatic. What's not to love in Beckman's grad Hanna Dalrot's Textile Landscapes collection? As she's currently a design intern at Ikea, we can only hope that means her textile designs will become widely available soon.

5 - HØNS is the perfectly aesthetically pleasing high-rise henhouse for the urban high-rise dweller. That was the thinking behind this henhouse design by Anker Bak, who wants to make it possible to keep chickens on your balcony, and fresh eggs an arms reach away.

6 - Norwegian student designer Aud Julie Befring uses colorful domes of felted wool to make birch stools that are playful, customizable, and endlessly delightful. Each individual half-sphere of cushioning wool can be mixed, matched, and moved around to your heart's content in her Cool With Wool stool.

7 - In the stylish TWO LITTLE BIRDS indoor playhouse, kids can make a special place complete with shelves of their own, where their imagination can soar. Is it a boat, a house, a treehouse, a castle, or a henhouse? For designer Luka Jelusic, it's actually about making good use of pesky materials, like the invasive water hyacinth weed that the ropes of the playhouse are made of.

8 - The beautifully crafted ash wood MILDRED bench and dual-purpose handwoven wool blanket are designed together by Monique Consentino, a BA student at Denmark's TEKO school of Design & Business. Cozy and clever, the blanket folds into the stool where it makes a soft cushion, kept conveniently close until a cold breeze kicks up.

9 - Hanna Jacobsen's SPILT chair struck me as being either a super comfortable wood block equivalent of those metal pin impression toys that conform to every contour of the body, or a horrible torture device - all depending on which way its spiky wood blocks are facing. In actuality the wood blocks are simply the unwanted scraps of a busy workshop, making the chair itself an expression of the workshop's activity over a period of time, its useless pieces given a meaningful use.

10 - PULSE furniture. Is it a daybed, a bench, a table, tray or storage unit? Actually, it's all of these in one beautiful polyfunctional piece of furniture. I'd mark NOIDOI studio and its designers Kathrine Lønstad from Norway and Cosmin Cioroiu from Romania, as ones to watch. Their On the Edge lamp also left a big impression.

Tuesday, 18 February, 2014 | in Products

Sthlm Furniture Fair 2014 Top Picks

Like kids to candy, Scandinavian design lovers flock to the Far North to brave the chilling darkness of winter in Stockholm for one week each year. It's the combined Stockholm Furniture and Northern Light Fair, where 40,000 visitors tuck in for a fix of blond wood furniture and a glimpse at the future of cool. Here is a sneak peek at a few of my top picks that made their big debut this year.

(btw: if you're thinking minimalist or monochrome, you're way off base.)

GamFratesi Guests of Honor Farg Blanche Mattias Stenberg for Nola Folkform Suburburban Skyline

1 - Balance by GamFratesi - Guest of Honor 2014

The Danish-Italian design studio GamFratesi were Guest of Honor for the Stockholm Furniture Fair 2014. As such, they got to design the prominent exhibition and meeting area at the entrance of the fair. Quite appropriately, they called it "Balance".

Suspended over many of the various furniture pieces they've designed for Swedese, Fredericia, FontanaArte, Casamania, Ligne Roset and others, were large Calder-like hanging textile pieces that swung and whirled ever so gently. According to the designers, it was meant to represent the everyday struggle to find balance in life, and emphasize the movement of the fair's visitors through the space. Besides being beautiful, the sculptural pieces worked as room dividers and sound absorbers. Photos: Tiffany Orvet

2 - Pocket Cupboard and wood tailoring by Färg & Blanche

Fredrik Färg and Emma Marga Blanche are known for applying fashion tailoring to furniture. In their latest experiment, they use an industrial strength sewing machine to sew through plywood, creating stitched layers of wood in different hues to dramatic effect. My favorite is the "Pocket Cupboard" where they've stitched leather pockets directly onto the plywood cabinet covers. If you open the cupboard doors you'll see that the stitches go all the way through. Portrait photo: Tiffany Orvet

3 - Plymå bench by Mattias Stenberg for Nola

The smooth curves of this indoor bench may look a bit like plush upholstered furniture, but the resemblance ends there. With its ash wood seats and optional backrest, and limestone table surface, it's durable enough for hardwearing public spaces with a softer side.

4 - Suburban Skyline lamp by Folkform for Örsjo Belysning

Taking its inspiration from Stockholm's suburban skyline, this lamp is made up of block-like shapes in brass that are different from every angle. You may have seen it's sibling pendant, but this was its first foray as a floor lamp. And as if we needed any support that it was classy enough, Queen Silvia of Sweden received one of her own from the country's Prime Minister earlier this winter. Folkform were quite chuffed to install it themselves at the Royal Palace. Detail photo: Tiffany Orvet

And there's more

My full Top 10 slideshow is over at Dwell.com. Check it out!

Thursday, 30 January, 2014 | in Products

Åkerlapp by Växbo Linen, Note Design Studio and Bookbinders

Vaxbo linens and Note Design Studio Vaxbo linens and Note Design Studio

Someday I'm going to have a Swedish summer house in the archipelago like a real Swede and fill it with Växbo Linen.

Or maybe I'll just invest in this new set designed in collaboration with Note Design Studio and Bookbinders instead.

These table dressing sets include a tablecloth and four placemat-sized linens that can also be used as cloth napkins or even kitchen towels. Each piece has been meticulously assembled from the seconds scraps of Växbo's other linen products, creating a delicate and harmonious patchwork effect. They are then packaged in specially-made Växbo-linen covered boxes by Bookbinders.

The series is called Åkerlapp, which means a little scrap or patch of land in Swedish. A fitting description, as that is quite literally the effect when standing over the tablecloth. It's as if getting a birdseye view of the colorful geometric plots of farmland in Växbo's own home of Hälsingland, Sweden, where the linens are made.

The range was initiated and designed by Stockholm-based Note Design Studio, and was launched today. The designs will be available in Växbo showrooms and at its factory, sold individually and in sets, later this Spring.

Vaxbo linens and Note Design Studio

Friday, 17 January, 2014 | in Designers

Interview with Mattias Stenberg: winner of the Nova Prize for young Nordic designers

Mattias Stenberg

Stockholm-based designer Mattias Stenberg was awarded the Nova Award for 2013, recognizing him as the best young Nordic designer of the year.

It was Stenberg's "style brimming with confidence" that captured the attention of judges including established Scandinavian tastemakers like designer Monica Förster.

Though it's been just three years since Matthias Stenberg, born 1975, launched Studio Vision he's already making a bold mark on contemporary Scandinavian design with products for Design House Stockholm, Offecct, Olby Design, Gallery Pascale, and more.

I caught up with Mattias to discuss his obsessions with reduced shapes, green glass, and grandma's sweets.

Congratulations Mattias! How would you describe your unique style?

I spend a lot of time trying to reduce any product I work with down to just the bare bones lines that are needed. It's what I call reduced shapes. And then I try to combine that with an honest and assertive use of material.  This is quite evident in the Demi Lamp [for Design House Stockholm] for example.  

How did the Demi Lamp come together?

It started out as a great love for glass as a material. I wanted to make, say, the modern art glass. A new type of art glass. I feel strongly that the new art glass has to be a functional glass, it can't just sit on the shelf and look pretty. You need to be able to have a relationship with that product monday through friday basically, and what's better than a lamp in this dark country of ours?  

The color is refreshing too. It's unusual to see that shade of green in a lamp. Was that your choice?

That was all my choice, yes. I'm in love with this shade of green actually.  I call it Sarpaneva green after Timo Sarpaneva, a Finnish designer. He had a long career in the glass and ceramics field mainly, and in the 50's he introduced a green color in bottles he called Bird, I believe.  I find it refreshing today as well to have that sort of green with some dirt in it.  Colors that aren't so clear.

We're not the only ones. I understand from Design House Stockholm that your lamp has been one of its top sellers since it launched last year.

Yes, it's been a very good seller.  We're hoping it's going to be around for a long time, but it's been very well received so far.

And what is this product with Gallery Pascale that you're launching today?

I have a solo show at the Gallery Pascale here in Stockholm for the next 4 weeks, and we decided to launch a new product for that show. Glass is very close to my heart so I wanted to continue working with that material for multiple reasons. Gallery Pascale also has a history in glass manufacturing so it just felt appropriate.

The La Pomme bowls really began with my wife's grandmother.  She had a wooden bowl and inside it she always had candy.  It was my favorite candy as well, Jungfrubröst.  Don't translate that into English directly! It's a sort of raspberry gumdrop. I have such a warm feeling in my stomach remembering her and that bowl of candy. It was always placed on a certain shelf and every time we went there for sunday dinner, the first thing you did was give her a hug and then go straight to the shelf for a piece of candy.  

I wanted to start a project with that warm feeling, so i decided to reinterpret that bowl and came up with this one that we call La Pomme. It's a bowl for bonbons, for candy.

So where it looks like the glass is balanced so precariously on top, is that a lid that comes off?

Absolutely.  Again we have functional glass. And the handles are just slightly askew to give it that little twist. You have to wonder is that supposed to be that way?  Will it stay?  You have to be a bit nervous.

La Pomme bowls

We're getting a sneak preview here too of what your coming year looks like. Can you tell us about your prototype chair and when that will launch?

Absolutely.  We'll be launching the Bistro Chair for a Swedish producer called Olby Design in a few weeks at the Stockholm Furniture Fair. Olby Design has been around for about 30 years. It was co-founded by Kerstin Olby, a professor in furniture design. She's taking a step back now and the younger generations in the Olby family have taken over. They wanted to kick off this generation shift with a new collection of furniture, so the challenge has been to stay true to the history of Olby which uses wood as a material and crafts it into strong architectural shapes.  Whereas Kerstin has worked with much more solid pieces, straight angles, I didn't want to do that.  I wanted to introduce something fragile.  I wanted to bring in radius somewhere, but still be architectural and sculptural in the expression of the finished piece.  

So the Bistro Chair is the first chair that's being launched, and it's going to be followed up by a big brother later on this fall. There's also a dinner table and two sizes of seating benches being launched at the Stockholm Furniture Fair in two weeks time.

As a designer you also have to have your engineering hat on. The Bistro Chair does look fragile.  But does it work?  Will it hold an American football player?

It will hold a soccer player! If it will hold a linebacker, we'll see (laughs).

But that's very true. As a designer you need to be one-third engineer, one third artist, and one third businessman I believe.

My background actually is engineering.  I have a Masters Degree in engineering- a Licentiate Degree in fact here in Sweden, which is two or three years beyond the Masters in Engineering. So that's how I started my career. Then a couple of years back I decided to make a complete shift in life and focus on architecture and designing products.  Now I work mainly with product design but also with architectural projects.

It sounds like you have a lot of balls in the air in slightly different areas.

Absolutely.  Keeps it fresh!

The Nova prize was established in 2011 by Formex, the largest trade fair for Nordic interior design, along with Swedish interior design magazine Plaza Interiör and Stockholm's Gallery Pascale.

Olby Bistro Chair Offecct Carry On Seat

Mattias Stenberg and Demi Lamp at Formex 2014 photos by Tiffany Orvet
La Pomme bowl for Gallery Pascale photo by Anna Kjernsvik / Mattias Stenberg, Demi Lamp detail photo by Design House Stockholm.
Bistro Chair for Olby Design at Formex 2014 photo by Tiffany Orvet. Detail photo courtesy of Mattias Stenberg.
Carry On seat for Offecct photo by Thomas Harrysson

Friday, 26 July, 2013 | in Places

Gotland: Bungenäs Peninsula

Bungenäs Bungenäs

Mounds of white stone dot the lengthy path into the Bungenäs peninsula in northeast Gotland. This was once the largest limestone quarry on Gotland before it became a military training ground in the early 1960's.

Today though there's no hum of heavy machinery or artillery blasting. It's very quiet. As we finally come upon signs of civilization our impression is one of slightly unsettled delight. It's a little eery here at first. It takes a moment to put the scene into context.

Idyllic buildings from the early 1900's, recently restored, sit in an industrial landscape. Old rustic signs point the way to contemporary art exhibits and inviting restaurants nestle in among the original oven stacks.

It turns out that Skälsö Architects has been commissioned to turn the deserted peninsula into a place where people will want to visit and live, and they're going about it in an interesting way.

Instead of working to disguise the cratered land with its 100 or so concrete bunkers and steep quarry edges, they're embracing it just as it is. A total of about 150 residential home plots have been selected and developed to blend into the surroundings with low, ground-level buildings in concrete or wood, recessed windows to minimize glare, and a muted color palette of gray, brown and green.

The old factory area that's just been restored with its general store (ca 1928), ovens (ca 1910), limestone barn (ca 1910), and dining room (ca 1944) will continue to develop as a central gathering place for the community and visitors. Most intriguing of all, the area will remain largely traffic-free. Hopefully that means it will still feel worlds away, years from now when the plan is complete.

Some nice before / after pics of the job architects Eric Gardell and Daniel Heilborn faced are here.

Bungenäs Bungenäs Bungenäs

Thursday, 25 July, 2013 | in Places

Gotland: Skulpturfabriken

Skulpturfabriken

Gotland is the island of limestone. Slite is the town that makes that stone into cement. So not surprisingly, cement is the natural material of choice for Slite-based sculptor Stina Lindholm.

And what a place she's found to work and draw inspiration from. At Skulpturfabriken, her home, workshop, garden and more are spread across a beautiful old farmhouse estate. Every day she opens her property to visitors who are invited to stroll amongst her sculptural pieces in a lush garden setting or poke their noses into her factory.

Lindholm also has a shop onsite that harmoniously mixes a selection of her own modern concrete work with sumptuous textiles and simple traditionally-crafted home and garden tools.

When it's time for a break, grab a (very good!) coffee and treat in the cafe and enjoy the garden some more while the kids play on the expansive lawn. The day we were there, we noticed trays of kanelbullar [cinnamon rolls] being walked across the lawn from one of the homes to the cafe. Fresh from the oven (the artist's own perhaps?) and delicious.

Skulpturfabriken Skulpturfabriken Skulpturfabriken Skulpturfabriken

Wednesday, 24 July, 2013 | in Places

Gotland: Rute Stenugnsbageri

Rute Stenugnsbageri

Fabrique Bakery in Stockholm is one of my favorite places, anywhere. So discovering its pastoral mothership in a remote corner of Gotland just minutes from our vacation home was a happy bit of serendipity to say the least.

Rute Stenugnsbageri is small bakery with a great big wood-burning stone oven that turns out loaves with a perfectly charred crust, just the way I like it. The flour in the bread and meat in the sandwiches is delivered directly from farmers in the surrounding area.

It's lovely, especially with the golden evening sun reflecting off of the aged limestone building and flooding across the garden and picnic tables.

Enjoying a sweet treat here (or loaf of bread, or pizza in the evenings) comes with a wonderful sense of fleetingness that forces you to appreciate the moment of beauty during that precious blink of an eye you're in it.

Rute Stenugnsbageri after all, is only open in the summer while warmer winds prevail. This is because of the unique character of the stone oven. Every night the wood oven is filled with 50 kg of birch wood and heated all night. By morning the oven has reached its highest temperature and baking begins. Throughout the day the temperature will drop, setting the order and pace of what can be produced that day. Evening comes and cools the oven, and the whole process begins again, day after day until autumn blows in and it gets too cold.

Rute Stenugnsbageri Rute Stenugnsbageri Rute Stenugnsbageri

Wednesday, 19 June, 2013 | in News

Embrace the new

From Sthlm is back, hurray!

Welcome back to From Sthlm!

You might have noticed that things have changed a lot around here.

Here's a quick rundown

• From Sthlm is now based in Stockholm! That means we've never been positioned better to bring you the latest new designs and inspiration from Sweden.

• Although we won't be importing our favorite finds into the States anymore, we're honored to have become a bridge between Swedish designers and people who love their work throughout the US and English-speaking world.

You've shown us over the past four years how much you want to see the new ideas that bloom and flourish in this patch of northern idyll. And we won't let you down now!

• At the new From Sthlm, we'll continue to bring you the same great coverage of who and what is inspiring us and making waves here in Sweden.

• Naturally, we're looking into new ways of making a selection of the very best designs available to you once again.

• We'll also be expanding the scope! There are great ideas coming out of our Nordic neighbors Norway, Denmark, Finland and Iceland, and we'd love to share those with you too.

It's been an exciting year already, so we've brought our very latest news with us over to the new site.

As for all of the previous years worth of independent designer profiles and interviews? Well, a firm goodbye is too hard, so we'll be posting just the highlights from each year in the coming weeks, along with updates from your favorite From Sthlm designers.

Now, without further ado, welcome to the new From Sthlm!

Wednesday, 15 May, 2013 | in News

Dwell is looking at you, up-and-comers

Dwell magazine cover May 2013 Dwell article May 2013 Dwell magazine Tiffany Orvet byline

Always exciting to pull a favorite US magazine off the racks in faraway Sweden. Even more fun when my byline is in it!

Check out this month's May issue of Dwell Magazine. It features international designers that you probably don't know yet but should.

Great looking spread, Dwell. Thanks!

Tuesday, 16 April, 2013 | in Places

Reykjavik's New Design District

Netgerdin workshop and atelier in Reykjavik

Last month I was invited to Iceland's fifth annual Design March / HönnunarMars event. Besides loads of great Icelandic designers who I'll continue to share here, I discovered an exciting new design district taking shape in Reykjavik's old harbor area.

More at Dwell

See my article and slide show over at Dwell.com for peek into Reykjavik's new design district.

Sunday, 31 March, 2013 | in Products

Icelandic Design: DesignMarch 2013

Iceland

This month I had the pleasure of visiting Iceland for the first time. And what better occasion could there be than DesignMarch, Iceland's annual design showcase event in Reykjavik?

I had no idea what to expect. I haven't heard much about Icelandic design. I've been so busy taking in the active design landscape of Iceland's prolific Nordic neighbors that I just hadn't turned an eye westward. Until now. And boy were my eyes opened in a really wonderful way.

Icelandic design is hard to categorize in a word or two. For one, there's hardly any wood- the defining material characteristic of other Nordic design. Iceland is largely a big barren rock. You don't see many fluffy green trees and cuddly things like that. Except maybe its Icelandic ponies, which do look pretty cuddly. (These pictures by Lisa Congdon, need I say more?)

There also isn't a long design tradition like you see throughout Scandinavia. Before 1998 when the Iceland Academy of the Arts was set up, there was no design school. Design as a discipline just wasn't much valued.

On top of that, Iceland is (to be blunt) a tiny remote island near nowhere; with an entire population that's about the size of St. Louis. So in terms of finding local manufacturers to make the brilliant things you design… well I guess you could say it's kind of a make it work kind of place.

Putting all of these factors together, what kind of design scene do you get?

A brilliant one! That's what kind.

The ideas I saw were colorful. Fresh. Sometimes a little off kilter, sometimes in an interesting way. Best of all, the mood of the place was like creative crack. The Icelandic designers I met were so excited to be designers. To be creating. To be doing what they loved. And it showed.

Here were some of my favorite discoveries...

Outdoor mosaic by Gerður Helgadóttir Hring eftir hring and Vík Prjónsdóttir Krukka and Something Fishy Markrun and Gulleik Løvskar Metamorphosis hooks and Keilir candle holders

1 - One of downtown Reykjavik's fantastic public artworks is this mosaic wall by Gerður Helgadóttir, finished in 1973.

2 - These fish necklaces were just one of many memorable jewelry concoctions by Steinunn Vala of Hring eftir hring.

3 - Papageno blanket by Vik Prjónsdóttir.

4 - Playful furniture by Krukka made of recycled pieces.

5 - Something Fishy play and model sets made from actual fish bones by Róshildar Jónsdóttur.

6 - Herdubreid mountain pillows by Markrún, named after Iceland's national mountain.

7 - Bended Sofa by Gulleik Løvskar. A new kind of office sofa to encourage creativity through stretching and lounging.

8 - Metamorphosis clusterable wall hooks by Anna Þórunn Hauksdóttir and Ingibjörg Hanna Bjarnadóttir.

9 - Keilir candle holders by Gu∂rún Vald.

Thursday, 14 March, 2013 | in Places

Hello Iceland

So nice to meetcha, you barren rock. Can't wait to get to know you better.

Icelandair cocktail napkin

Cheeky one, Icelandair. The booze, by the way, still isn't.

Saturday, 9 February, 2013 | in Designers

Interview with Luca Nichetto

Luca Nichetto One Nordic HAI 007 chair

This week at the very height of Stockholm Design Week I had the pleasure of catching up with furniture designer and part-time Stockholm resident Luca Nichetto.

More at Dwell

Check out my full interview at Dwell.com where Luca pulls back the curtain on the furniture fair circuit and explains how his upcoming exhibition in Milan has a lot to do with Japanese poetry.

photos courtesy Luca Nichetto. portrait by Markus Moström

Wednesday, 6 February, 2013 | in Products

Sthlm Furniture Fair 2013: Greenhouse picks

The Stockholm Furniture Fair is the highlight of February. Scandinavia's most exciting furniture brands all come armed with their latest and greatest. Yet every year, I head straight to the Greenhouse. The Greenhouse is a special section of the fair that's given over to new designers, independent designers, and design schools. Here, fresh talent gets a fleeting but very high profile opportunity to make a lasting impression. Usually they don't disappoint.

This year 36 independent designers and 38 design schools exhibited. These were some of my favorites…

Haruka Furuyama Lilla Ateljen Furukawa BEdesign Andersson Jun Furukawa Oyyo rugs Marianne Andersen and Stoft Viktoria Henriksen and Alexandra Raben Lisa Hillard

1 - Originally from Japan, Haruka Furuyama found inspiration in a small house at Carl Malmsten's Capellagården School where he studied cabinetmaking & furniture design. He describes his lilla ateljen range of furniture as comfortable, cozy, simple, bright, and inspiring. Photo copyright © Haruka Furuyama Design & Craft.

2a + 2b - Jun Furukawa, based in Gothenburg, aims to "inspire joy in our daily lives" through designs such as his colorful Flower" stools (2a) and endlessly configurable Tray+ table (2b). On his table, stackable wooden trays can be moved around freely on an adjustable extending frame. Table+ photo copyright © Jun Furukawa.

3 - Ok, so maybe you've seen shelves in shapes before. But this deer shaped shelf left a particularly striking geometric impression. Sisters Cilla and Bette Eklund of BEdesign create designs firmly rooted in their Finnish homeland. Pictured is Bette Eklund.

4 - Desktop detail from Fredrik Andersson's AU 79 desk. This piece was made from the recycled cross sections of old skateboards, and was featured in the "Is this it?" collection from Beckmans College of Design, Stockholm.

5 - Oyyo is a Stockholm design studio founded in 2011 Lina Zedig and Marcus Åhrén. Their bold patterned dhurrie rugs are handwoven by a community of craftspeople in India.

6 - I loved Marianne Andersen's In Theory pendant lamps made of blown glass with a pine wood center. A perfect blend of modern and rustic, delicate and strong. They were featured in the "State of Things" exhibition of Norwegian designers. Photo courtesy Marianne Andersen.

7 - Malmö based STOFT design collective "wants to add poetry into our daily lives". They succeed with their mechanical thoughts cabinet in which the mechanical locking device is embellished with cogs and other fascinating moving bits, and put on display. It makes visible that which is otherwise taken for granted. Photos courtesy of STOFT.

8 - Viktoria Henriksen's lovely loopy wobbly FRØ vases were part of the exhibit from Oslo and Akershus University. Pictured with designer Viktoria Henriksen herself.

9 - Alexandra Raraben spins handwoven perfection in her appropriately named Intricate lamp. Visit her site to see the wonderful pattern it creates on the wall (one of my favorite things about lamps, so often overlooked) and sketches. Alexandra, you thought of everything.

10 - Lisa Hilland is a graduate of Central St Martin's in London and now has her own design studio in Sweden. Her Petit Pois chair in conjunction with Snickarakademin Kristianstad in ash wood with brass details is simply the most beautiful folding chair I've ever seen. Not surprisingly, she was named "Designer of the Year" 2013 by Plaza Magazine. Her whole collection is gorgeous. Photographer: Niklas Lundström

Thursday, 31 January, 2013 | in Products

More geometry in color by Maria Holmer Dahlgren

Maria Holmer Dahlgren trays 2013

Maria Holmer Dahlgren of Metagram Studio never disappoints. She was one of our most popular designers ever when we made her our featured designer in March 2010.

Since then she's been so busy. Just check out her collection for London's Tate Galleries.

As usual, her newest pattern on trays, coasters, and notecards matches her exuberant personality. I like the yellow and black variations, but I love the hues in the full-color one.

Also, the tea towel pattern below of the fish that live in Stockholm's archipelago is actually her first collaboration with her daughter, Moa Dahlgren, who co-designed it.

A portion of each sale of the tea towel (10 Swedish kronor, or about $1.50 US) goes directly to a Stockholm-based program that offers support to the homeless and to women in prison.

Maria Holmer Dahlgren fish pattern

Tuesday, 29 January, 2013 | in Products

Fab new colors from Formverket

Formverket plastic rugs

Barbro Tryberg Boberg of Formverket is one of our favorite people. In fact we've chosen her as our featured designer twice at From Sthlm, in June 2010 and May 2011.

So we were delighted to find her at Formex this month along with some new lovelies in a springtime range of colors.

As if we weren't already completely sold, she had to go and offer her hardwearing plastic rugs in cheery bright pink and green. And that one on the left, with the ochre stripes? I think I need it.

Monday, 28 January, 2013 | in Designers

Anna Ekre: illustrator, designer, storyteller

Anna Ekre portrait Jan 2013 Anna Ekre The Lovers pattern Anna Ekre Deer and Wolf detail Anna Ekre Deer and Wolf pillows

I discovered Anna Ekre in the Young Designers section of Formex this month and was completely taken with her striking patterns.

Formex is a gift and interiors fair, so Anna was there with her illustrations and graphic designs adorning wallpaper, posters, pillows, and tray tables.

This collection is called "Love Tales" and includes "The Lovers" above, and "The Deer & the Wolf" below.

In "The Lovers," a harlequin pattern depicts the tumultuous forces blowing lovers about in a storm of emotion. "The Deer & the Wolf" takes us to a fairytale world where danger lurks and horses flee, but the brave stand solid and secure.

When I got home I checked out Anna's website. Wow. If you like her patterns on pillow cushions, you should see them in her fashion designs. I'll have to post some here on the blog once I get through my Formex finds and Design Week, which will be in full swing next week. Lots to look forward to!

Sunday, 27 January, 2013 | in Designers

Brave Production by Barolo-Mårtensson

Brave Production knits Brave Production Formex 2013 Brave Production porcelain Brave Production bowls

Remember Knits by the Metre? We featured them in the shop back in 2011.

Now Margot Barolo and Ulrika Mårtensson are Brave Production and are back with some new creations in porcelain that are as unique and gorgeous in their perfect irregularity as we've come to expect from this talented duo.

What do you think?

Friday, 25 January, 2013 | in Designers

A peek into Lisa Bengtsson's boudoir

Lisa Bengtsson Boudoir pattern copper Lisa Bengtsson Boudoir pattern blue

Lisa Bengtsson is at it again, with the fabulous Boudoir range in new colors. We love the new coppery hues as much as the vivid blues below she launched in April.

The big news over the past year though is that now she is producing the fabrics herself. Before, buyers would come to Studio Lisa Bengtsson for wallpaper, trays, tea towels, dishcloths, ceramics, posters, and such.

But to complete the look, you'd need to go to a different company, Mairo, that produced the fabric and textiles.

Now Lisa's doing it all. It's a lot. Go Lisa go.

Here are some more fun details from her stand at Formex this month.

Lisa Bengtsson Formex 2013 stand Lisa Bengtsson Formex 2013 stand Lisa Bengtsson Formex 2013 stand Lisa Bengtsson Formex 2013 stand

Thursday, 24 January, 2013 | in Designers

Design Stories: cool lamps not wasted

Design Stories portrait Design Stories Merry go round lamps Design Stories Merry go round lamps Design Stories cords

Another Formex find that captured my attention were these lamps that premiered as a collaboration between the Design Stories studio and Returhuset in Göteborg. The aim of the collaboration is to create beautiful new products from the industrial waste of local businesses.

For instance, the fabric in the Drawstring Lamps that I like so much was originally made to screen and filter sunlight. That's why it works so beautifully for lighting. Clever ladies. I'm equally smitten with the cords they designed to go with the lamps.

portrait by Ann Eringstam

Wednesday, 23 January, 2013 | in Products

Found at Formex: Prettypegs

Prettypegs at Formex 2013 Prettypegs founder Mikael Söderblom Prettypegs at Formex 2013

Prettypegs is my favorite kind of find. So simple, so genius.

What do you do with that ok couch or bed you bought at Ikea- you know, the one that every other person knows by heart?

Why, change out the legs of course. Swapping those dull stumps for something a little more colorful, a little more curvy, a little more refined, or simply unexpected is all it takes to give a drab piece of furniture personality.

Kudos to Stockholm-based Mikael Söderblom and Jana Cagin who spotted this simple solution and did something about it. They launched Prettypegs last February and have already been noticed around the world.

Last week at Formex I had a chance to see Prettypegs for myself and meet Mikael. What a range. What lovely quality. Even the packaging is beautifully made for display. All around, a smart retail idea.

This splurge is a no-brainer for me- for just the sofa maybe. If only they didn't cost about $30/peg, I'd be buying a lot more.

Tuesday, 22 January, 2013 | in Designers

Fresh design collective: Repa Studio

Repa Studio Formex 2013

Repa Studio was one of my favorite finds at Formex. They are a new collective of textile designers from all over Sweden. They're working separately but together to help each other out and make a stronger impact in the competitive world of textile design. I think they're on to a smart idea here.

This is their first project since coming together while studying Textile Design at The Swedish School of Textiles in Borås. Taking on Formex's theme this season, the project is called "Fresh" and consists of eight very different patterns that share a common color scale.

Below are:

• Linnéa Eketrä with her design "Strömmar" • "Sakura" by Josefina Tengvall • "Kap Verde" by Lena Melin • "Ferry" by Malin Bobeck • "Sigrid" by Linnea Nilsson • "Flur" by Anna Jonsson • "Pieces" by Micaela Angerheim • "Vildvuxet" by Petra Wester Norgren

Linnéa Eketrä with her design "Strömmar" "Sakura" by Josefina Tengvall "Kap Verde" by Lena Melin "Ferry" by Malin Bobeck "Sigrid" by Linnea Nilsson "Flur" by Anna Jonsson "Pieces" by Micaela Angerheim "Vildvuxet" by Petra Wester Norgren

Tuesday, 1 January, 2013 | in About me

Tiffany Orvet picture

Hello, I'm Tiffany Orvet. I run From Sthlm. But that's not all I do.

Here is a little more about me, about how From Sthlm has evolved, and about how actually, it all comes down to people.

A career telling stories

For over 20 years I've been making TV. Producing programs, developing them, buying them and selling them.

They've been about history, our world, our bodies. Legends, rituals, rites of passage, processes and journeys of every kind.

I worked for National Geographic Channel in Washington DC where I brought in some of the channel's most watched premieres and series. Titles you might recognize are Onboard Air Force One, Hard Time, Taboo, Hooked:Monster Fish, Ultimate Factories, and many more. I've also worked for production companies across the US and UK.

Always, I find, my stories end up being about people.

A passion for good design

Design is also a story about people. What inspires people, how people create, how people create for other people, and how people feel (and work and play and live) in the environments they create for themselves.

Here at From Sthlm (pronounced From Stockholm) I've been acquainting myself and my readers with Swedish design through this lens since 2009.

You might have known us as a unique shop featuring a new independent Swedish designer each month, and selling select pieces in limited amounts from our base in San Francisco. We did this for over three years.

You might have known us as an importer and distributor of Swedish design in the US. We were in 32 shops in 12 states across the US. We even won a spot in the special juried Accent on Design section of the NY International Gift Fair. All of this during the US's biggest recession ever.

And now...

And now, we've relocated to Stockholm, and that changes everything. I still love design. I still love TV. I still love telling fascinating stories about people. But the lens is a little different from this far north part of the world with its moody winters, jolly summers, proximity to the rest of Europe, and people-first approach to most things.

At From Sthlm I will continue to be your bridge between the US and Northern Europe, and I look forward to sharing the experience with you.

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Contact me

Tiffany Orvet at tiffany@fromsthlm.com

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