Contemporary Swedish design is on the up. The country's timeless take on shaping products, building environments and designing some of the world's best-known brands continues to garner acclaim around the world. Volvo and Wallpaper brought together two groups of young designers to discuss how Swedish design continues to evolve, and the ways in which society, culture and climate shape the country’s design discussions.
Good design is second nature in Sweden. As product designers Front and the architects Elding Oscarson explain, this is a country where an interest in new technologies and new materials sits alongside a long tradition of craft skills and respect for the landscape and the changing seasons. ‘We’re very close to nature,’ says Front’s Sofia Lagerkvist. ‘Even in our largest city, Stockholm, nature is close by.’ Adds her Front colleague Charlotte von der Lancken, ‘In Sweden, people always go to their remote summer houses. So you really need your car to be working as they can be in the middle of nowhere. You have to be able to rely on your transportation.’
Space, craft and, most important of all, light remain elements to cherish. ‘The harsh environment and big change in daylight from summer to winter is a very important influence on Swedish architecture,’ says architect Jonas Elding. ‘It makes us very focused on the interior of the space we’re in.’
Volvo’s new XC90 encapsulates the qualities that made the car manufacturer synonymous with contemporary Swedish design and culture, from the light, airy interior to the safety features that still set global standards. Underpinned by every aspect of Swedish design culture, from its off-road ability to the combination of craft, design and technology displayed in its cutting-edge interior, the XC90 is steeped in the traditions that have shaped generations of cars for generations of Swedes.