For Stockholm Design Week in September, lighting manufacturer Wästberg and design and architecture studio Claesson Koivisto Rune are taking advantage of the launch of the new w221 medium series to offer a raw and immersive scenography of their collaboration in the ephemeral setting of a former laundry.
In September, Sweden was back in the spotlight in terms of design with an exceptional Stockholm Design Week, marking both the end of a particularly difficult pandemic period for local designers and a foreshadowing of the event’s normal schedule, which will take place next year in February on its usual dates, alongside the Stockholm Furniture & Light Fair. If the official exhibition dedicated to the current trends of Scandinavian design, Moving Forward, occupied one of the spaces of the NK department store in the heart of the capital, many other places, in particular showrooms of local designers such as Hem or Flokk, marked the event by inviting to come to discover their products and creations. In this context, one collaboration stands out: the one between the lighting manufacturer Wästberg and the design and architecture studio Claesson Koivisto Rune around the launch of the new medium w221 suspension lamp range.
Ballet of lamps
It is indeed in the basement of an old laundry in the center of Stockholm that the brand and the design studio had decided to create a real exhibition in pop-up mode for one week. The idea: to present not only the new range, but also the two previous models from the collaboration between Wästberg and Claesson Koivisto Rune, namely the extra small w201 and extra large w151.
In this small but comfortable space, rough with concrete walls but perfectly matching the minimalist aesthetics of the lamps, the visual effect is striking. A real ballet of conical lamps of varying sizes, more or less flared in their exaggerated shapes, and where the contrast of colors between whites and blacks reinforce the brutalist nature, is revealed. “This is the only time you can see all these models together,” says Eero Koivisto, delighted to have been able to carry out this ephemeral exhibition and scenography project in such a short time. “Our idea was to showcase the lamps while preserving the raw nature of the space in the way they were displayed. There is a choice of raw harmony in the fact of tuning the lamps in black color on the side of the whitest walls, and conversely, the lamps in white color on the side of the darkest walls. We also thought of the furniture that surrounds the lamps by using sofas that are also very raw and minimalist in their format.
Conveniently, the w221 series of pendant lamps falls between the larger x151 and smaller x201 models. The play of proportions between the different pieces is therefore also particularly valued in the staging. “We introduced a progressive distance between the different pieces, the smaller and the larger ones, in order to create a real visual perspective,” continues Eero Koivisto.
In praise of duration
The relationship to concrete becomes even more relevant when we come to its point of convergence with the Wästberg luminaires in this very special scenography. “The symbol of quality of a product is its ability to last,” says Eero Koivisto. “So the connection to this concrete display case, itself made to last, makes sense.” This temporal quality of Wästberg’s products is noticeably evident in this new line of medium suspension lamps. Four years after releasing the extra large x151 range and three years after releasing the extra small x201 range, the medium model takes up the main lines in more affordable dimensions: solidity, with this metal manufacturing work always seeming to push the limits of the potential of aluminum; use of LEDs for economical and ecological lighting; ability to play with the articulation of the shapes and silhouettes of the lamps to create original and intimist environments
“We once again took the time to think about the different shapes of this range, to think about the issues of dynamics and symmetry, and to make it consistent with the other ranges,” says Eero Koivisto. “It took us two years of work, but we like to take time to work and thus perfectly think through the product we design.”
A contrast between the time of creation and the time of display that refers to the other major news of the studio this year, the release of the 822 collection for the brand Ton, also designed to last for many years. Inspired by architect/designer Josef Hoffmann’s 811 chair from the 1930s, the 822 collection brings Claesson Koivisto Rune’s signature and a more modern Nordic character to the Czech furniture maker’s masterful use of curved wood.
The perforations in the seat and backrest give a particularly light and graphic dimension to a collection where all the rounded and curved elements characteristic of Ton have been straightened to appear more geometric in all the colorful and sometimes atypical variations of the collection (lounge chair, bar stool or low stool). It is also a way for Claesson Koivisto Rune, as in the scenographic dimension of the Wästberg pop-up exhibition, to always think about the adaptation of an existing design to new places and functions.`