Promoting Swedish culture through design

Updated 2019-03-07 19:07:00

Jewelry designer Marta Mattsson’s brooches feature insect specimens as an expression of death and beauty, Shanghai. [Photo/chinadaily.com.cn]

A selection of works by pioneering Swedish designers in the 21st century is being showcased as a part of the ongoing Design Shanghai at the Shanghai Exhibition Center. The event will conclude on Sunday.

Through illustrating the creative ideas and artworks of a new generation of Swedish designers, such as Anton Alvarez, and Asa Jungnelius, the Swedish Fashion and Design Stories segment shows how craft, artistic practice and social engagement have made a lasting impact on Swedish design over the past decades.

"Swedish design, a representative of Nordic design, has always been known for its characteristics of simplicity and minimalism with the classic all-white-and-wood design," said Yan Mi, local curator of the show.

"However, the new millennium brought significant changes to the world of Swedish fashion and design, as more fashion designers developed a different attitude to the prevailing aesthetic and traditional fashion."

According to Yan, design, craft and art were separate disciplines before the modernist 20th century. It was only after this period that the three disciplines started to influence one another.

"Now many art works also feature functionality," she added.

Two colored lamps by Front Design are shaped like sprouting plants or mushrooms, which can be extended toward the ceiling or bent to suit reading.[Photo/chinadaily.com.cn]

A good example of functionality is seen in the two colored lamps by Front Design that are on display at the show. Shaped like sprouting plants or mushrooms, the lamps can be extended toward the ceiling or bent to suit reading. The lamps were specifically designed for the reopening Swedish National Museum Art Library in 2018.

Other notable exhibits at the event include an armchair by Farg and Blanche design studio that was made using wood tailoring technology and jewelry designer Marta Mattsson's brooches which feature insect specimens as an expression of death and beauty.

The design ideas and stories in the exhibition also show designers' insights into blending art with environment, gender, economics and other social aspects in their works, Yan added.

"We do not only present Swedish brands and the Swedish creative industry, but also Swedish values, including sustainability, health and innovation, in the exhibition," said Sebastian Magnusson, vice-consul and head of commercial affairs, culture and education at the Consulate General of Sweden.

"We also hope to bridge Swedish design brands with Chinese business partners that want to make them available to the Chinese consumer," said Magnusson.

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