For whatever reason, when people talk about Sweden, design often enters the conversation. Maybe it's the long tradition of handicrafts that stems from the country's rough-hewn rural way of life. Or maybe it's due to the proliferation of Ikea stores, which have put Swedish designs in front of consumers around the globe.
Whatever the reason, let's face it: Swedes make a lot of cool looking (and quite functional) stuff that can add a little something extra to just about any room in the house. This week, Swedish design is front and centre in Stockholm at Formex, the largest interior design fair for Nordic design, held twice annually the Swedish capital.
It doesn't take long to realize that industrial and rural chic designs are in again for 2014. Designers influenced by the Modern era are still looking for ways to incorporate traditional craftsmanship, while at the same time enhancing the functionality and efficient use of traditional and newer engineered materials. Other pieces feature the Gustavian aesthetic, brought to Sweden by King Gustav III after a visit to Versailles, but reworking it to incorporate various unconventional approaches for a new era of recycling and environmentalism.
While fixtures and furniture for the whole house are on display at Formex, it's the lighting that really catches my eye. After all, who isn't attracted to all things light this time of year. Today, the sun rose at 8:28am in Stockholm, and it will set at 15:28pm.
So what characterizes Swedish lighting design, exactly? Many of the same qualities we might associate with Swedes themselves: modest, functional and straight to the point. Even when Gustav III brought flamboyant French influences to Sweden, he was compelled to strip away the opulence and colour; leaving only a slight decorative quality and pale, easy to digest pastels.
And so it was throughout the history of Swedish design, and lighting was no exception. When most of Europe was looking to Functionalism – simply crafted and accessible design, made from basic raw materials – Scandinavians took the concept and really ran with it, making some of the most iconic lighting design to date.
But take my word for it, click on this gallery featuring some of the most eye-catching examples of lighting designs from Sweden and the Nordics at Formex 2014.
SEE ALSO: Top 10 examples of Swedish wood design
Angeline Eriksson is a Canadian designer and interior stylist. She shares design, décor, inspiration and lifestyle with a focus on Sweden from a Canadian perspective at www.designstockholm.net