As in past years, Europe's major furniture brands gathered in Paris last Friday at Maison & Objet to unveil their latest wares, but, as at each edition of the fair, there was a lively curated section devoted to the young and emerging. For this installment of the semi-annual "Rising Talents," there's a regional focus on the Nordic countries, which highlights designers hailing from Iceland, Denmark, Norway, and Sweden with new ideas on sustainability, form, and comfort. Check out our top picks below.
Edvard, a Copenhagen-based 2013 graduate of Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts (where notable alumni include Olafur Eliasson, Bjarke Ingels, and Finn Juhl) bases his design practice in material exploration. His previous experiments have produced chairs made from a combination of Danish seaweed and recycled paper, and lamps made from plant fibers and mushroom mycelium, a particularly useful form of fungus. For Maison, Edvard brought a composite of limestone powder and biodegradable resin, what he calls "a synthetic, recyclable stone," colored with natural pigments and molded into rough-hewn lampshades and smoothly-polished side tables to show the diversity of its texture. His goals with these unorthodox materials are to minimize his ecological footprint. "The idea is to take a material normally used for fertilizer and cement mixing and give people a chance to be sustainable," he says.
The Reykjavík, Iceland-based designer takes a more hands-on approach to his lighting design; each fixture has a switch that involves some kind of kinetic operation, whether that's rotating a circular LED pendant by pulling down on its leather, wall-mounted strap (clockwise for on, counter-clockwise for off), or repositioning the LED-tipped copper pipes that together, fixed upside-down on a circular wooden base, form a very unusual kind of chandelier. "I emphasize an interaction between the user and the lamp," Oskarsson says. With this high-concept mantra, along with formal references to both simple geometric shapes and the branches of trees, the suite of his work expresses an innate appreciation for nature and simplicity. His materials, too, are all-natural, limited to woods, metals, and the occasional use of volcanic rock.
Färg & Blanche
The Stockholm-based, half-Swedish, half-French duo Fredrik Färg and Emma Marga Blanche call their F-A-B collection "Couture and Prêt-à-Porter for chairs," i.e. handmade, fabulous garments designed to dress up ordinary, factory-produced Shaker furniture. As such, their focus leans more heavily on form than function, with highly-detailed hand-stitching, luxe leathers, and decorative wings that for some might recall the a Victoria's Secret Angel (in a good way).
They've been producing such refreshingly playful work with an experimental twist since their founding in 2010. Other career highlights include their Form +1 Award-winning Wood Tailoring chairs, which involved stitching thin wooden panels together through a process they like to call "extreme sewing," and "Longing to Fly, Longing to Fall," a short film they debuted at the 2014 Stockholm furniture fair that somehow artfully blended modern dance with furniture design.
∙ A Subscription Box for Scandinavian Design Lovers [Curbed]
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∙ All Scandinavian Design coverage [Curbed]