Form - the gallery and centre for design in Malmö - is run by Svensk Form Syd and is part of the Swedish Society of Crafts and Design.
Here at the Swedish Embassy, for 3daysofdesign, they showed the work of nine young designers who are based in Skåne … the southern region of Sweden that is just over the sound or just over the bridge from Copenhagen.
The exhibition was curated by Kajsa Willner and had been shown previously at Dutch Design Week in October last year.
Works exhibited included a lamp and a table by Andréason & Leibel; work by Jenny Nordberg; jewellery by Sara Robertsson; vases by Hanna Hansdotter; a table by Ola Gertz; table and cabinet by the design group Stoft; pen pots by Kunsik Choi; jacket by Naemi Gustavsson and cast aluminium table by Glen Baghurst.
There was a small and separate exhibition of ten works by designers from the Malmö region following a competition to design more appropriate and sustainably-produced souvenirs. The ideas illustrated well that one role of the designer is to step back and reassess how we use a material or how we do something with certain tools. We get easily into a rut where what we do and how we do it seems to be the only or the obvious way and one role of the designer is to see if there is another and very different way because it is too easy for manufacturers to get trapped in a series of modifications or upgrades - particularly if they have a successful product - rather than realising that time or life or demands or our priorities have changed.
The candlestick was inspired by the form of the bridge between Sweden and Denmark; there was a high-visibility back bag and a stylish bike bell; a knife for harvesting mushroom and a bottle opener inspired by the design of timber framing in the area and there was a candy slug. I'm not sure why we need a chocolate slug unless this is aversion therapy so you need to really really want chocolate if it looks like a slug.
What I do like more and more is the Swedish use of the word Formgivare. It’s useful and evocative and covers design and making in the sense that the person gives the idea form … so they take an idea and make that into something tangible.
I can see why many young designers started to drop any prefix before the word designer - so interior designer, furniture designer, graphic designer - because it could seem a bit restricting for talent when, in the current economic situation, it probably seems wise to keep options open and turn a hand to anything but, as a consequence, the world of the designer is becoming a rather crowded place as even architects abandon their core work to produce ranges of furniture or accessories or perfume. I made up the last one ..... or at least I hope I made up the last one.
I'm hoping more makers and more formgivers come out from that catch-all profession of designer ... surely it's not a bad thing to show where your experience and talent and enthusiasms are focused.