Lisa Fitzpatrick, an Interior Design Professor from NOVA’s Loudoun Campus (LO) recently traveled to Stockholm to attend the Stockholm Furniture and Light Fair. Lisa was tapped to join a contingency of Architects and Interior Designers to partake in a week-long immersion into Swedish culture and design through her extensive work and dedication to the professional design organization of the American Society of Interior Designers/ASID at the local and the national levels. The group of 10 was hosted by the Swedish Federation of Wood and Furniture Industry (TMF) and the Stockholm Furniture & Light Fair.
Held every February, the fair is the leading event for Scandinavian Design. Attendees traveled from all over the world. According to the data collected by the fair organizers 31 percent of the visitors were from beyond Scandinavian Countries with 100 countries represented. The majority of visitors were from Norway, Finland, Denmark and the UK with representation this year from the United States, China and Japan.
Stockholm is considered the center of Scandinavian design for everyday products, furniture and lighting. The sense of design not only extends from the people and their passion for their country, but to their ability to produce designs that cross all of the design disciplines. Great and thoughtful design can be seen in their architecture, interior design, lighting design, product design and graphic design all with art at the core. Their sensibilities to the built environment is seen through design and through their connection to the earth itself. Sweden is a leader in the environmental movement. A purposeful use of materials that are indigenous to their own country through natural growth and consistent replenishment is part of the design process. They have the ability to think through the process from concept to completion and to rotation in a dignified and purposeful manner.
The United States contingency attended the fair, visited showrooms in the design district, enjoyed historic city walks and attended evening events showcasing student work, new designers and celebrity designers in the Scandinavian design industry. Each event had a personal feel and allowed for conversations about the design process and how a specific product has evolved and how it will evolve through use and study. The design process is never a straight path. It has to be tested and tried. Swedish design truly takes a holistic approach to the product, to the environment and to the end user.
Interior design in Sweden and in many other European countries takes on the name interior architecture. They cross design barriers and all work together. Art is part of design. Design is part of art. The interior space is part of the architecture. The architecture is part of the interior. All products and design must exist within the environment which in turns becomes a driving force in their design. The world as a whole can take inspiration from the construct of Swedish design.
Travel and participation in design conferences, fairs and exhibitions abroad truly brings an international understanding to our personal and our professional lives. As professors engaging with our students, it is beneficial to engage and understand what the world beyond the classroom holds.