Stockholm 2015 Material and Color thoughts
02/20/2015 - 17:34

Stockholm Furniture fair 2015 was a good fair as always.
The main material issue at the fair has already become almost a mantra among designers - at least for designers of my generation - the aim for natural materials like natural wood. For many companies it still remains an aim as years of mass-production has in most cases been all but natural.

But the natural materials trends is so strong that even some producers producing “fake” materials like laminates, fake it so well that it is impossible for even professionals to spot the fake. Suspicions should rise when the material is too real, too good to be trough: a plain wood surface is just not accepted yet in furniture for public surroundings.



The Formica laminate at Offecct just looks and feels like real wood
For the Nordic people wood is a natural material that there are plenty of, so plenty that we do not need to think of it. I remember my German fellow design students who loved wood but preferred it live in the woods. Clearly they could not understand our almost arrogant attitude towards wood. They saw the concrete walls of the metro tunnels where the raw wood molds had left it´s mirror almost as if the wood had left its soul in it. For us this is just a banal everyday view.

We admire the stone walls in Spain without realizing that wood is scares in Spain, stone is just not an alternative, but in many cases the only alternative. All this this just to remind us how cultural materials can be.

Ash all over the fair, but also some oak and pine. Other genuine materials like cork, linoleum and untreated leather suggesting that patina might be on its way to the contract market after all the impatient waiting…

But due to the natural material trend there was not so many material novelties which is on the other hand quite obvious: as it is natural, we have seen it before, we trust it and it almost like comforts us with its familiarity.

Last years novelty laminate from Arpa is still fascinating with all its features, good look and touch. But can it also be too good to be true? Are we a bit suspicious and scared of something we have no experience of on the long run like over a hundred or a thousand years?

Producing these real materials is of course not without questions either. We want the real materials but we do not want to pay for them as was cleverly illustrated by the students in the Green House: they showed that they could only produce a fragment of a carpet for the price of a big carpet produced by the global giant producer…


carpet weaved by Johanna Margareta Nilsson versus the mass-produced carpet
Colours where still smoky pastels with all the possible shades of clay, but also browns and dark greens and orange like flairs from the seventies. For my generation, our childhood was peaceful and simple in the seventies: electronics was not a part of us, but something you had in your shelf a home like TV, radio, telephone and maybe even a record player. These machines were more off than on and lasted for years. And they were absolutely not for children to play around with. Do these retro colours have a comfort factor as well or is it just the natural trend cycle turning again? At least technology is not supposed to show now, it has become a part of our palm so there is nothing to show off or brag about… and technology would brake our little escapism to the sweat seventies…


Stockholm 2015 Material and colour thoughts by to Nina Koskinen, colours and materials at Martela


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Workday designer
Workday Designers
VP, Customer Supply Management
Martela Oyj
Director, Education
Vice President, Innovation to Market

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