07 February 2020

The joy of gymnastics, the opportunity to climb to the top and perch, or to gather in a group for quiet chat – all of these are inspiration for students of furniture design at Malmstens LiU. They plan to fill pop-up parks this summer with conversation, relaxation and joy.

Malmstens at Stockholmsmässan
Crowded and creative in the Malmstens stand at Stockholm Furniture Fair.  Monica Westman
How much furniture can you stack on a pallet? A lot of furniture and a lot of fun.
Final-year students taking the furniture design programme at Malmstens have sought humour and enjoyment when designing and manufacturing furniture for the recent trend of pop-up parks. Just look at Anna Engvall’s series with table, bench and stools, which reminds us of the school gym, and the joy of motion we found there. And the furniture is Anna Engvall’s stool, Gympa.  Photo credit Monica Westmancalled “Gympa” in Swedish. “I wanted to make furniture that strikes chords and memories, and arouses a feeling of: ‘Just a minute – what’s that?’”, she says.

The stool and table have been given a finish that reminds of the suede leather used on the vaulting horses in a gym. A table, a bench and two stools fit onto a pallet, and can be set up anywhere there’s space in the summer.

Fun to climb

Ronja Hadders has designed and manufactured Nivå, a series of benches of different heights that can be combined Ronja Hadders perched on the highest level of Nivå. Photo credit Monica Westmanand fit together in many combinations.
“I want it to be obvious that this is not just normal furniture, and at the same time make people feel playful. You often see people sitting on the back support of normal park benches, so they can get a bit of height. On Nivå, you can climb up and sit at the top. I also thought it was important to experiment with colour in a pop-up, and I chose purple since it is seldom seen in public spaces”, she says.

She has manufactured Nivå from sturdy pine, with an oiled finish ideal for outdoor use.

Moa Sjöberg has chosen another form: a simple chair with an elm frame and perforated sheet metal seat. She calls the chair “Flock”.

Moa Sjöberg and the Flock chair.  Photo credit Monica Westman“It can be used both as a chair and a bench with its overdimensioned legs, which give a feeling of stability, and a thin seat. I chose elm: it’s tough and beautiful and gives a more exclusive impressions than pine. This is a small and flexible chair that can be placed just about anywhere where people stand around or chat. Small individuals form flocks”, she says.

Summer parks

Pop-up parks are a summer trend in big cities such as London and Paris, and also in Stockholm. Small parks pop up in public spaces that are just standing empty, creating spaces where it is possible to sit down for a while and rest, or exchange your thoughts with others who pass by. All that’s needed is furniture to sit on, and maybe a flower box.

Nola Industrier has been watching this trend, and decided to allow final-year students on the furniture design programme at Malmstens explore the possibilities of the temporary surfaces and spaces that arise in the bustle of a city. It must be possible to set the furniture up and take it down; it must fit onto a pallet; and must be sufficiently durable for many Josef Frank’s armchair 930 from upholsterer Pia Mogfors, commissioned by Svensk Tenn.  Photo credit Monica Westmanyears of use.

The results of the joint project arranged by Nola and Malmstens were on display in the “Greenhouse” at the Stockholm Furniture Fair, 4-8 February 2020. The display area for Malmstens Linköping was filled, not just with eight pieces to be used in pop-ups but also several journeyman’s pieces by students of cabinet making, some of which had been designed by students of furniture design. An example of furniture upholstery was also on display: armchair number 930, originally designed by Josef Frank, although now realised in fully natural materials by Malmstens expert upholsterer Pia Mogfors.

Journeyman’s pieces

Anna Engvall has designed the Styrsö sideboard, which cabinet maker Carl Angtoft subsequently manufactured as his journeyman’s piece within cabinet making. The table has been inspired by the Gothenburg archipelago and its Cabinet maker Carl Angtoft’s journeyman’s piece, Styrsö.  Photo credit Monica Westmanwaves in the water.
“It’s great to work with people who are so skilled and knowledgeable as Carl. I hope to continue with this”, she says.
Stryrsö has been built using ash and maple.

Ronja Hadders has designed Bjurö, to store games, newspapers and the odd book or two, inspired by the stone slabs of Västerbotten geology. In this case, cabinet maker Johanna Burström commissioned the design of the table and has worked on it as her journeyman’s piece. The drawers have the same pattern as the intarsia of the shelf: one is used to store pens and other small items while the other, larger, drawer holds newspapers. Bjurö has been manufactured in maple.

Since these are journeyman’s pieces not only hand-formed dovetails but also furniture locks are included Cabinet maker Johanna Bjurström's journeyman's piece Bjurö. Photo credit Monica Westmanin both of these pieces.

“It’s a bit crowded in the stand, but in my view this demonstrates the huge creativity of our students”, says a clearly happy Leó Jóhannsson. He is head of division at Malmstens Linköping University, research fellow in furniture design and responsible for the Furniture Design 5 course, in which projects for an external commissioner, in this case Nola, are carried out.

It’s hoped that one or more of the furniture pieces will be produced for actual use, so keep your eyes open in the cities this summer.

Translated by George Farrants


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