Braving perilously icy conditions to attend the Stockholm Furniture Fair last week we were thankful to find much in the way of cockle-warming and cosy interiors on arrival.

Although always very much an international show, Stockholm never fails to inspire new enthusiasm amongst visitors for classic Scandinavian styling, and this year the nod to Nordic influences – by which we mean warm, homely and natural - was stronger than ever. From form and function in fireside accessories to seriously luminous new lighting ideas, even the coolest attendees were thawing.

Lighting, as usual, was a key focus. In a part of the world where they can admittedly make the most of it during the long dark winters, Wastberg (Sweden), Northern Lighting (Norway), & Tradition (Denmark), and Secto (Finland) all launched beautiful new designs. Inga Sempé’s offering for Wastberg, in Marni-esque colourways was one of our favourites, while & Tradition’s Milk by Norm Architects and Spinning Light by Benjamin Hubert were also attracting glowing praise from all who passed.

Greenhouse - the area of the fair dedicated to design schools, new graduates, and independent designers - produced an impressive crop of new ideas. Jen Fager – the prolific young Swede of the moment – designed the space itself, and also showed new lamp collections for Zero Belysning and new mirrors for Klong Interior – a first time exhibitor at the show and noteable for exquisite handcraftsmanship.

Even Paul Smith, who this year was responsible for designing the annual lounge installation for the fair, agreed that perhaps people were bored of 'minimalistic elegance, because we've seen that plenty of times before. I want to spread an interesting optimistic atmosphere that is inspiring,' he says. The lounge, with a herringbone floor and extensively floral wall coverings, also paid homage to Gio Ponti, one of Smith’s design heroes.

Outside the fairground there were some interesting satellite exhibitions too. We were particularly inspired by Form Us With Friends – for which the Swedish design collective Form Us With Love showcased its newest projects with its favourite clients in a construction site due to be transformed into a new hotel. Their beanbags with bases for Voice were a collapsing port of choice for many after a long day trade-fairing.

Not far away the Nordic Light Hotel showed a different seating installation by Alexander Lervic. Inspired by airport conveyor belts, and their attraction to tired travellers, it was an idea we could all relate to.

Comfort and craft were also order of the day at Artek, who - celebrating 75 years of business this year - staged its first jubilee event with a revision of its 400 chair by Ilse Crawford. Honoring the brand’s roots with reindeer hide, master upholsterers demonstrated their skills in the store’s Stockholm showroom while steaming cups of tea were served. Unexpectedly, at the end of it all we were all feeling warmer for our Northern exposure.

TAGS: STOCKHOLM FURNITURE & LIGHT FAIR