Den Nya Kartan - Form Design Center Malmö


An initial report by Jenny Nordberg, begun in 2013 and completed through 2014, looked at how small-scale production of furniture, ‘gadgets’ and other design objects could be part of a sustainable community within Skåne, a clearly defined and relatively small region. The report considered ethical values in consumption and looked generally at production and at manufacturing skills surviving in southern Sweden. In part it seems to have followed a growing desire that more food should be produced locally. 

One aim of the consequent project is to reduce transport costs for both materials and for finished goods but also it was hoped that focusing design and production locally would also mean that there would be fewer intermediaries in the commercial chain. 

Early in 2015 twenty-four designers were selected along with twenty-four manufacturers to collaborate in the project. They were chosen in part for their curiosity about the project but also for their openness to trying new business partnerships.

Many of the designers had worked both locally and internationally and the manufacturers ranged in scale from craftsmen, who are generally geared up to small production runs, to companies organised for larger-scale production. Each partnership was given freedom to determine what they would produce and how and much came down to developing personal as well as working relationships.

This project has also been about testing the form of collaboration, between designer and manufacturer, and aimed to establish a more equitable financial arrangement that moved away from the normal pattern of royalties for rights to reproduce a design to agreements where the designers and manufacturers share the expenses incurred in development and initial production but then also share the revenue.

Items or objects produced through the project cover a wide range of materials and manufacturing techniques including blown glass, ceramics, metal work, leather work and textiles and a wide range of items from stacking boxes to storage jars to lighting to jewellery and a champagne table.

That last item emphasises one curious aspect of the works presented. It would appear from the introduction to the exhibition that the designers and manufacturers were given freedom to choose what they would produce. Jenny Nordberg, who also curated the exhibition, commented on this:

“As a curator, I imagined that most people would design and produce saleable inexpensive items to show that it actually does not need to be particularly expensive by local production. There, I thought wrong. It has instead been mostly projects where both designers and manufacturers wanted to challenge themselves and show the breadth of their skills. Many of the projects … are unique, conceptual, luxurious, on the verge of unfeasible and overall, just amazing.”


Biophillia - Stoft & Zol Art

Unisex-kimono-kofta - Liv Andersson & Biommiga Gredelina

Vaporware Fluid

Andréson & Leibel och Humi-Glas (samt JFKemi)

Spegelrör  Petra Lilja & Wallåkra Stenkårlsfabrik


Petra Lilja & Wallåkra Stenkårlsfabrik


Milan Kosovic & Thomas Alexandrsson


Sophia Lithell & Herman Andersson Plåt


Patrik Bengtsson & Genarps Lådfabrik


It is not clear if this shows that designers or manufacturers were concerned primarily to showcase their skills but that seems unlikely given the well-established careers and reputations of most. Possibly they wanted to use the opportunity to produce things they would not normally be able to work on. It could be more of a problem, in terms of ongoing viability and the possibility of extending the project, if they all felt that reasonable financial returns would only be possible through producing more expensive items or if they thought that their potential market would not be interested in buying just basic items. Perhaps it is simply that, at this initial stage in this project, more basic designs - so everyday household items such as tableware - actually need a much larger production run to return a profit.


All the designs are available through the web site.

The exhibition continues at Form Design Center in Malmö until the 15th November and then transfers first to the National Museum in Stockholm and then in 2016 to Vandalorum in Värnamo.

Den Nya Kartan - The New Map

Ola Giertz - Månadens Formgivare - designer of the month - at Form Design Center

Thread Bench and Monte Carlo


Ola Giertz graduated from Carl Malmsten Furniture Studies in 2010 … the design school is a department of Linköping University but is based in Stockholm as part of the Department of Management and Engineering at the Institute of Technology.

In 2011 he established his design studio in Helsingborg. 

The exhibition includes a question and answer session which is published on the web site for Form and gives some interesting clues to motivation and inspiration for the designs shown here. A ‘favourite designer’ is Verner Panton and a declared mission is to “always keep the child in me and be playful” which would explain the strong shapes and use of strong colours in some of the pieces. 

Also in the exhibition are his candle holders Haus and Industrial Shine, the award winning Frame seating units and the House hanging rail system.


Bordus, Rocking Chair and  O-table




The exhibition continues at Form Design Center in Malmö until 30th September

Ola Giertz

the Tomorrow Collective

ECCO CARRYING - Jingyi Zhang / TERRA urban root cellar - Ida Gudrunsdotter / YOYO BASKET - Nan Jiang


This is an exhibition by students from the Master’s Programme at the School of Industrial Design in Lund and is a collection of items, all well made, that question and challenge the assumption that any domestic chore must now be done by something plastic with a chip and a plug. And what is also clear here is that there is a sense of pride in the process of making ... so what is common to all the pieces is that they are made from natural materials using traditional craft skills.

It is a  brilliant and inspiring exhibition and even more important because it comes from industrial designers … or better still the next generation of industrial designers.

In part the designs take us back to the household items that you can see in the old town houses in the open-air museum in Lund or domestic items from the past that are displayed in the Danish open-air museums in Aarhus and at Frilandsmuseet north of Copenhagen but those items tend to be from old rural crafts and there is, in part, a sense there of people making do and making themselves what was not available to buy but all these items here in the exhibition could be produced commercially.

This is not nostalgia ... not a sort of romantic revivalist view of a cosy kitchen from our grandparents' past.

These designers have taken a very serious and realistic look at what we do and how and what we make and what we throw away. Sometimes it is useful and sometimes actually necessary to look at where we are, wonder if it is the right place and maybe go back down the road to a cross roads and explore if another road might be more interesting.



Basically they are saying take a step back and look at what you do and why and how and possibly, with ingenuity, sustainability can be very stylish and actually fun.

But they also make a very serious point …. “In a time when the single person is becoming more and more distanced from where things come from, how they are made, what they are made of and where they inevitably end up, it becomes increasingly harder to see the consequences of our lifestyles and choices. We depend on fossil fuel driven transportation systems, monocultural large-scale farming and non renewable, toxic energy sources. Our economies thrive on productivity and consumption and we live like there’s no tomorrow. The Tomorrow Collective is about exploring ways of enabling us to live a sustainable life in the future. Inspired by past knowledge of how to grow, make and be, the project presents concepts for modern tools and systems that can be used in a cyclic sense, within private homes or to share in smaller communities.”


M FOR MILK within one's reach - Judith Glaser


THE BURKS - Oskar Olsson


LITTLE THUMB save the crumbs - Elena Biondi


WOODEN IRON simple clothing care tool - Ausrine Augustinaite


FLAVOUR OF TIME preserve the unique feeling of daily food and seasonal flavour - Reo Letian Zhang


MICU smart choice for a healthy conscience - Andrea Müller


THE TOOTHPASTER nice and simple - Olof Janson


SHAVING KIT long lasting shaving tools inspired by the past & the present - Philip Andersson

Even now, electric gadgets with smart technology do not rule our homes completely … many people still have wooden spoons in the kitchen or one of those wooden lemon juicers and lots of cooks use a pestle and mortar to grind their own herbs but one of the points made here is that often a specific contraption for a specific task might be used once or twice and then confined to the back of a cupboard. Could there be a simpler way of doing some things? Is the purchase of a clever-clever time-saving devise our real priority? Whatever the cost in terms of the energy and the materials consumed? In that profit and loss account is a little time gained worth the loss from the satisfaction of doing something ourselves?

After looking at the exhibition I remembered that when I cleared my mother’s house, after she died a couple of years ago, I came across a butter knife that I had used at my grandparent’s house when I was a small child and some brushes my grandfather kept in his own drawer in the kitchen for when he came in from the garden and wanted to wash and they still smelt of the specific soap and and the tooth powder he always used … he was a late and reluctant convert to toothpaste. Memories suddenly came flooding back. If we chuck out and replace everything because it all has a short shelf life and the replacement is cheap, is it not just sustainability we should worry about but also the loss of our own sense of time and place?

There is a full catalogue of all the pieces on line with photographs and links to all the designers


The exhibition continues at Form Design Center, Malmö until 30 August 2015

Utvalt i Skåne - Form Design Center, Malmö

Gustaf Sörnmo - + Petter Thörne -


Utvalt translates as selected and this event is held every three years. About 400 works were submitted and the twenty-four pieces shown in the exhibition were chosen by the jury - Mårten Medbo, a potter, Anna Åhlin, from the association of crafts, and Katja Pettersson, an industrial designer and lecturer. 

All the artists come from Skåne - the southern part of Sweden - but what is striking is the diversity of styles and the different materials used showing clearly the strength and broad base of craft in the region.

The exhibition continues at the Form Design Center in Malmö until 23 August and then goes on tour to several venues including Simrishamn, Helsingborg and, at the beginning of next year, to Hamburg and then to Ronneby.

The works shown below were selected because they seemed most relevant to themes covered on this site but much more information about Utvalt and all the works can be found on their site … utvalt i skane.



Gunilla Maria Åkesson -



Ola Andersson - Instagram: And_Nils / Luka Jelusic -



Thomas Anagrius -



Jonas Rooth -



Petter Thörne -



Per Brandstedt -


Cabinet Luftig

Charlie Styrbjörn, Ludwug Berg + Olle K Engberg -


25 Kvadrat - Malmö


On Friday 24 April an exhibition opened at the Form Design Centre in Malmö with drawings and models by 25 architects for garden pavilions, log cabins, a mini villa and even a triumphal arch that were all inspired by a change in Swedish planning laws from the Summer of 2014 which now allows for the construction of buildings without requiring planning permission if they are 25 metres square or less and have a ridge height of 4 metres or less. These buildings are called Attefallhus after the housing minister Stefan Attefall who took through the legislation.

In many countries in northern Europe there is are strong, well-established traditions for building compact, semi-permanent buildings that can be used for living in for a few days or longer in the summer from mountain huts used by farmers practicing transhumance, to substantial garden buildings on Dutch allotments, or small summer homes by the lake or sea shore, including beach huts in England, although these are rarely used overnight.

However there is now growing pressure for compact, well designed permanent housing for other reasons. 

With climate change and political upheavals there is huge pressure on resources. Clearly the primary human rights are for food and water and then for freedom but with the mass migration of people from the country to the city and from one country to another in search of work the next most important human rights are presumably for light, clean air, space and secure domestic accommodation. As land becomes more expensive and in big cities scarce, there is clearly huge pressure to design and build compact domestic accommodation.

Obviously, the schemes shown here in the exhibition are from and for an affluent European country and clearly some of the buildings are pure follies and some are designed for the new ‘pressures’ felt in first World countries to provide self-contained accommodation for children if they return home after university or for elderly parents to move into or even for guests. But many of the ideas shown here could be used for effective temporary accommodation after natural disasters or to cope with mass migration to escape war … after all these ideas are in many cases about managing to fit self-contained accommodation into as small an area as possible.

In fact, many of the ideas for specific details could be used in compact houses and apartments anywhere … for instance narrow doors that concertina back to give easy direct access to a terrace and shutters that hinge upwards to create a clearly defined outside space to make the small interior space seem less constricted.


A log cabin or hide, Arvet from Trigueiros Architecture, has a very clever arrangement where the plan and arrangement of furniture is neatly square … the tight use of neat geometry is one way to keep a space appearing to be larger than it is … while the logs or timbers forming the sides of the building are laid at a slightly different angle at each stage to form a spiral. Windows have a deep reveal that respect the floor plan in their alignment and one contains a mattress that fills the sill for a bed. The hide has a roof light - like many of the projects. The smaller the space, the more important good natural lighting is to reduce a feeling of claustrophobia.



One design, Hundra Kubik by Arkitektstudio Widjedal Racki is shown being transported to its site on the back of a low loader. It is one of the most elegant designs and provides accommodation for four with sleeping platforms within a low mezzanine. It has several clever ideas to expand the space so one end hinges out to enclose in part a terrace to make an outside room to expand the living accommodation and at the other end the end wall itself and short lengths of the front and back wall with it slide out like a drawer to form an enclosed area but without a ceiling for an outdoor shower.


With pressure on land in even well-established cities, the ideas here for building kitchens in the smallest possible area or fitting in toilets and showers in little more than a cupboard are a real lesson in compact living. Maybe too compact - as one scheme by Belatchen Arkitekter called 20/25 has bedrooms or ‘private’ spaces for twenty students housed in a series of squat cubicles like drawers on either side of a narrow corridor that includes a kitchen and bathroom.   

Ateljé 25 from Waldemarson Berglund Arkitekter has a pitched roof with a full-height window/door with a roof light up the slope of the roof in line to create as much light as possible without loosing too much wall - crucial for fittings in such a small space. Several alternative plans were shown with either just a kitchen and living area or in others with a bed and a bathroom included so this seemed to be a design for a very elegant holiday lodge.

One design is for a complete folly - Triumfbågen by Tham + Videgård -  a triumphal arch in front of what is itself a relatively small house. The archway has arched openings on all four sides so relatively narrow piers at each corner … one containing a toilet, one with a store for garden tools, one for a store for bottles of wine and the fourth with a tight winding stair up to the flat roof which is clearly a viewing platform or a deck for sunbathing and the point of the building. It has over the entrance arch the inscription VENI VEDI VICI.


The architects who participated include:

Earth's architects, Bornstein Lycke Fors, Dinelljohansson, Vision Division, Kolman Boye Architects, Happy Space, Wingårdhs architectural office, Nordmark & ordmark architects, Belatchew Architects, Jägnefält Milton, Marge Architects, Architect Studio Widjedal Racki, Okidoki! Architects, The Commonwealth Office, Johannes Norlander Architecture, Marx Architecture, White Architects, Elding Oscarson, Waldemarson Berglund Architects, In Praise of Shadows, Testbedstudio, Petra Gipp Architecture, A blast, Trigueiros Architecture, Tham & Videgård Architects.


A book of the designs, 25 Kvadrat by Eva Wrede and Mark Isitt was published by Max Ström in November 2014.

The exhibition continues at Form Design Center in Malmö until 7 June


Form Design Center Malmö

Form Design Center in Malmö opened in 1964 and is run by Svensk Form … the Swedish Association of Crafts and Design that was founded in 1845 and promotes Swedish design through their eleven regional associations. 

The Malmö gallery, shop and cafe are in an industrial building, a former grain store, in the centre of the city on the south side of Lilla torg.

Known as Hedman yard, timber-framed buildings on the square and on two sides of the courtyard date back, in parts, to the 16th century but the grain store, across the south side of the yard, was built in 1850. The cafe is on the ground floor of the grain store with a large exhibition space on the first floor with smaller areas for displays and information in the lobby. The extensive shop is on the second floor with offices and meeting rooms above.

There are some twenty exhibitions a year here as well as lectures and meetings and the shop sells a range of Swedish design and books on design. Their aim is to promote “a better life through good design” and to stimulate the development of design and “increase respect for the value of design.” It is important that their activities are directed equally at both design professionals and the general public.

new exhibitions in Malmö

This weekend two exhibitions opened at the Design Center in Malmö and there could not be a better illustration of just how diverse the design world is and how different the works and styles of professional designers and artists can be.

Industridesign, Hur Svårt kan set vara? - Industrial Design, How hard can it be? - marks the anniversary for the industrial design practice Zenit that was formed in Malmö in the Autumn of 1994 by four young designers who had recently graduated from the Institute of Design in Umeå. Zenit is now one of Sweden’s largest independent design studios.

Above all, the exhibition focuses on the importance, often not widey acknowledged, of the designer as technical innovations progress rapidly. The design focus of a company like Apple is clearly recognised and widely appreciated by the general public but the crucial role of designers in collaboration with engineers to produce a blood analysis system or a cash recycling machine is less obvious to the patient or the customer or even the staff who, through the quality of the design, can use the machine efficiently and easily. 

On display are more than 20 examples of the studio’s work, including the sewing machine for Pfaff, with interim stages in the design process to show how a final design is developed and graphic information panels setting out that design process.

Till en älskad vän - For a beloved friend - shows paintings, film and sculpture by Karin Auran Frankenstein including Akt 1-17, a painting with crystal glaze on porcelain and sculptures incorporating clocks.


Industridesign, Hur Svårt kan set vara?

Till en älskad vän

Both exhibitions from 27 September to 2 November 2014

Form Design Center, Lila torg 9, 211 34 Malmö