Bolon flooring carpet

The Roots of Sustainable Scandinavian Design and What the Future Holds

We spoke with three industry experts before Stockholm Design Week to hear their thoughts on the history and future of sustainable Scandinavian design.

Stockholm Design Week kicks off on February 6th. A celebration of Scandinavian design across disciplines – including architecture, furniture, interior design, landscaping, and more – this annual event has been running since 2002. It has since grown in scope and scale to include over 100 design studios, architects, and museums, as well as events and activities across the city of Stockholm.

As part of the event, Aritco will be welcoming visitors to our showroom at Elektronikvägen 14 in Veddesta from 9 am – 5 pm Monday to Friday, February 6-10. We will also be exhibiting at the Stockholm Furniture Fair.

Picture: showroom of Aritco in Veddesta, Stockholm

The home lift Aritco 4000

Sustainability Takes Center Stage

This year’s design week will feature the first-ever Scandinavian Design Awards. Among the eight categories at the gala event is the Sustainability Award of the Year, highlighting the important role sustainability plays in Scandinavian architecture and design.  

Sustainable design has seen increased popularity across the globe, a trend that will only grow with time. In 2021, the sustainable home decor market was valued at $331 billion dollars and is expected to reach $556.3 billion by 2031. 

However, sustainability was an integral part of Scandinavian design long before it became a global trend. Leading up to this year’s Stockholm Design Week, we reached out to three leading Nordic design companies to ask their thoughts on the roots of sustainability in Scandinavian design and what the future holds. 

Three Industry Experts Reflect on the Past and Future of Sustainable Scandinavian Design

Alexander Lervik runs a Stockholm-based design studio and is known for his innovative, if not at times rebellious, style of furniture and interiors. Lervik is the creative mind behind Aritco’s DesignWalls, a range of custom-created accent walls that turn home lifts into works of art, incorporating a sleek, Scandinavian aesthetic. 

Øyvind Bjørnstad is Chief Strategy/Sustainability Officer of Vestre, a Norwegian company on a mission to be the world’s most sustainable furniture manufacturer. With a nomination for this year’s Sustainability Award, they are well on their way. Vestre specializes in urban outdoor furniture that creates social meeting places, and we are proud that they have chosen an Aritco lift for their climate-neutral factory. Their motto: Everyone can save the world. A little.

Klara Persson is Head of Product Management at Bolon, a Swedish company credited with inventing woven vinyl flooring. Like Vestre, Bolon has had sustainability at the core of their production for over 70 years. Their vinyl flooring incorporates bold colors and patterns to create high-end designs. The trailblazing flooring manufacturer boasts clients including Nike, Apple, Chanel, Four Seasons Hotels, Google, and Armani. Their carpets are also featured in many Aritco lifts.

Picture: the furniture manufacturer Vestre in Norway.

Overview picture of the factory of Vestre in Norway

Why do you think sustainability and Scandinavian design are, and have long been, so intricately linked?

Alexander: Swedish design has always had a really tight relationship with nature. It’s about materials, of course, but also that we spend a lot of time in nature. The simplicity in Scandinavian design is in a way born in nature with inspiration from the patterns and surfaces that we find there.

Øyvind: Sustainability and Scandinavian design have been intricately linked for several reasons. One reason is that Nordic countries have a long tradition of valuing and protecting the natural environment. In addition, the cold climate and long winters have historically made energy efficiency an important consideration in design. Scandinavian governments have also implemented guidelines and regulations aimed at promoting sustainable design.

Scandinavian design wants to create harmony, promoting a simple environment that consists of quality items and improves our lifestyle without excess consumption.

Klara: My thoughts go to the general connection with nature in Scandinavia through the concept of Allemansrätten (a law that protects the “freedom to roam”, giving the general public open access to natural spaces). The closer you live to nature and see the effect on nature by humanity, the easier it is to relate and engage in sustainability.

Picture: Bolon flooring

Bolon flooring carpet

What are your predictions for the future of design in Scandinavia and beyond when it comes to incorporating sustainable practices? What untapped opportunities exist?

Alexander: There will be more local inspiration, and designers will go back to their cultural roots instead of looking to global sources of inspiration. With new technology and old ways of inspiration, we will see a lot of development in the design scene.  

3D printing will change the logistic systems of the world so that a lot of transport needs will disappear, which will hugely benefit the climate. It will also change the production system so that the end consumer can start producing themself, and a lot of new small brands will appear.

Øyvind: In the future, we predict that sustainable and regenerative practices will become even more integrated into Scandinavian design. This will include an emphasis on using renewable materials, designing for a circular economy, and reducing the environmental footprint of products.  

Quality and design for long lifespans with implied repairability of products will be key to reducing the need for virgin materials and combatting use-and-throw practices. Opportunities for incorporating sustainable practices into design may include biomimicry, innovative materials, and technologies, and designing for net positive impact.

Klara: Laws and regulations in sustainability will be more and more strict. Alongside this, the market will demand true sustainable design and solutions. I believe this will push in two directions: hard-wearing and reparable quality products for circular business models and biodegradable products for a shorter lifespan. Hopefully, this will push new ways of designing, exploring, and living.

Picture: Alexander Lervik, photo by Helen Pe

Black and white photo of designer Alexander Lervik

Stockholm Design Week 2023 runs February 6-12. The event is run by the Stockholm Furniture Fair which takes place February 7-11 at the Stockholmsmässan. In addition to participating in Design Week, Aritco will be exhibiting at the Furniture Fair at stand C13:39, where visitors will have the chance to try our newest and most space-efficient home lift Aritco HomeLift Compact. 



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