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Transformation Stockholm Design Week

Trade fairs on a digital development curve

Tracing the digital development curve

The 2021 version of the Stockholm Furniture & Light Fair during Stockholm Design Week, which took place February 8-14, became a mix between an enhanced digital presence and smaller physical and Covid-safe meetings. So how did it go? Here’s a follow up on Aritco’s earlier interview with Sanna Åkerlund Gebeyehu, concept and product owner for the events.

What we have done this year follows the development curve we have established to become more digital, which will go hand in hand with the physical commitment we plan to continue to have.

Describe the changes for the 2021 fair

We transformed certain components into digital form. For example, the Stockholm Design & Architecture Talks, which are normally an in-person event at the fair became a packed 2-day digital program. So did Greenhouse, which was now presented as a digital portfolio.

Companies that normally exhibit at the fair created digital content but several also created physical meetings – Covid-safe, of course.

What are the most important factors for a successful digital exhibition?

To succeed with a large digital event, nothing is really more important than anything else. It’s like an orchestra of different factors that are all essential to the outcome. But 3 factors that come to mind are:

  1. Preparing/pre-producing. Producing the majority of the material ahead of time is very important to ensure quality. We had more than 70 productions with two to six participants in each, which means a total of around 300 people. That really takes preparation and pre-production. Live productions have other advantages and are a good complement.
  2. Logistics. You need to work with experienced film production companies and create a program that holds together for the target groups you want to reach out to.
  3. Professional Digital platform. For fairs and event organisers who otherwise work with physical events, it is important to link arms with other digital platforms. Having a digital platform is not the same as being a digital platform. As with everything else we do, collaborations always make you stronger.

Photo: Erik Lefvander, Lammhult chair

What are the pluses of digital fairs?

We are in the process of compiling statistics and results of various activities. What we have already seen is that we have been able to reach many more through digital events. They have also attracted highly desired audiences from around the world, such as Canada, China, Vietnam. When we have had Design & Talk live at the fair before, only a limited number could watch/listen.

In addition, we had the opportunity for guest lecturers who otherwise find it difficult to attend due to distance.

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