The aim of the Design in Pine project has been to use Swedish design to increase the use of Swedish redwood in Chinese furniture manufacture. To promote pine as a natural and living material from sustainable Swedish forestry. Pine is highly suitable for furniture production thanks to the physical properties of the wood and is a given material choice in a world with an increasing focus on a sustainable society.
Over a few intensive weeks in autumn 2016, third-year students in furniture design at Carl Malmsten Furniture Studies (Malmstens) have worked with a live project commissioned by the Chinese furniture companies. The task was to design furniture for the Chinese market based on the currently increasingly trendy pine.
Despite the geographical distance, the project involved close collaboration where the Chinese furniture manufacturers, on the basis of discussions with the students about material, surface treatments, sketches and plans, were able to manufacture the prototypes that were unveiled for the first time at Stockholm Furniture & Light Fair in February.
Inspired by the forest
One of the students at Malmstens is Elin Eliasson who grew up in Kalix and is the daughter of Håkan Eliasson who is a foreman at Setra Rolfs. Elin designed an item of children's furniture called “Ottis” named after a little fairy-tale figure in the form of a pine cone. It is a storage system built of legs of different heights, along with frames and boxes which can be used to create a whole collection of furniture. Inspiration comes from the solid pine, the forest’s make-up of long trunks, varied levels and enticing gaps as well as small hidden spaces.
“For us at Malmstens this project helped us to understand how both Swedish Wood and the Chinese furniture manufacturers think,” says Elin. “We could take advantage of each other’s skills and learn what it’s like to work internationally.”
In September the recently graduated furniture designers will travel to the big furniture fair in Shanghai where they hope to establish even more contacts in the Chinese market.
“On a personal level, wood has always been a natural part of my life, particularly since my dad works in the industry. Now that I have more in-depth knowledge of the material, we can talk wood with each other in a completely new way, which is great fun of course,” Elin concludes.
Text: Katarina Brandt
Photo: Magnus Glans and Swedish Wood