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Stockholm Design Week: Facing the world in shop windows and online

5 questions for Sanna Åkerlund Gebeyehu

Focus design

For 71 years, the Stockholm Furniture & Light Fair has presented design, innovation and inspiration. This year’s version will be different due to the pandemic, but still with the same foundation and still a goldmine for those interested in design. This is promised by Sanna Åkerlund Gebeyehu, concept and product owner of Stockholm Furniture & Light fair City & Digital Edition and Stockholm Design Week, who look forward to presenting Scandinavian design to more people around the world.

In the hectic days before the fair opens, we catch up to Sanna, who for the first time is steering both the individual fair and the concept for Stockholm Design Week, which takes place on 8-14 February.

Hi, Sanna, what can we expect from Stockholm Design Week?

– This year we are moving the Stockholm Light & Furniture fair out of the Stockholm International Fairs building and instead offering a completely digital program. It will comprise Stockholm Design & Architecture Talks nominations, Workspace Sweden, which is a two-day conference on the workplaces and learning environments of the future, and much more. In addition, there will be a number of on-site activities that will be carried out in a Corona-safe way.

The situation has inspired a lot of ingenuity. We will, for example, be able to experience design in different shop windows. In Stockholm’s most famous shop window at NK, Marie-Louise Hellgren (a designer with a focus on sustainability) will present a mini-exhibition.

Sanna goes on to say that Svensk Form will present the exhibition Young Swedish Design at the Kulturhuset building at Sergelstorg.

PICTURE below: Jonas Sveningsson, Stockholm Light & Furniture fair 2020

Where can I experience design on site in Stockholm during week 6?

-On the website, there is a “day-by-day schedule” and an A to Z listing of the brands that are represented. As we need to relate to the current situation with the pandemic, I recommend that you continuously keep an eye on the website. Suddenly a new design window is presented to experience!

Sanna further describes the popular panel discussions that will also take place digitally this year, providing many more opportunities for people to participate.

What can we look forward to hearing about in the panel discussions?

– It is clear that many conversations are about circularity – both financially and in terms of sustainability. One of the presenters is the Danish architect Anders Lendager who actually builds houses out of rubbish. (presented Wed 10 Feb at 10.20-10.50).

We also have interesting conversations in retail, where we see the same theme of sustainability. The trend towards sustainability is not due to the pandemic, of course. The idea and activities have been around for a long time with more and more recycling and reuse but have been reinforced by the pandemic. We are thinking in even more steps now – this is where circularity comes into the picture. Scandinavia is at the forefront of sustainable production in the world, and now we can reach a wider audience.

What is the biggest challenge with a digital trade show?

– The biggest challenge is that we can’t just do what we usually do. We need to change and ask ourselves, “What do we do instead?” With the help of our extensive network, we have succeeded in creating other types of visibility for our exhibitors.

Sanna notes that designers generally try to look far ahead in both strategy and vision but that it is no longer possible to look 3-5 years ahead. “Now we have to act instead of waiting. Everyone digs where they stand. Out of chaos, creativity and innovation are born. This is how the tech industry already works. They deliver first and update afterwards. I expect 2021 will offer lots of innovation in design!”

Finally, Sanna, what are you most looking forward to next week?

– Even though we will not meet physically, I am looking forward to digital contact with designers, journalists and visitors. Week 6 is our window to the world for presenting Scandinavian design. This new experience also teaches us that we can actually reach out more often – both physically and digitally – around the world, not just during this single week.


Aritco Lift at the digital fair

Aritco Lift was founded in Kungsängen in 1995. Almost 4,000 lifts are now manufactured per year and distributed to 40 countries around the world. Our Swedish heritage is important to us and something we want to preserve. We collaborate with some of Scandinavia’s most prominent designers, including Alexander Lervik, who has designed Aritco lifts for both the private and public markets. Aritco is of course represented at Stockholm Furniture & Light fair City & Digital Edition during Stockholm Design Week on 8-14 February. Read more about our digital stand here.



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