Stockholm Furniture Fair and Northern Light Fair open

16:35, February 09, 2011      

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2011 Stockholm Furniture Fair and Northern Light Fair opened on Tuesday at the Stockholm International Fairs Center, claiming the world's largest meeting place for Nordic design.

"We can see several positive trends in the business, and the fact that Swedish economy is globally strong is reflected in the record revenues which several producers had in 2010. The most successful product group is designed office furniture," said Cecilia Ask Engstrom, manager for furniture at the Swedish Feeration of Wood and Furniture Industry.

A total of 40,000 visitors are expected to visit the fairs and 750 booths from 27 countries are being exhibited. This year there are new comers such as Artek from Finland, Dedon from Germany, Engelbrechts from Denmark, Quinze & Milan from Belgium and Santa & Cole from Spain.

The Swedish furniture export had a record high value of 15.3 billion Swedish kronor (2. 4 billion U.S. dollars ) in 2010, where the most important market is still Norway with a market share of 31 percent, followed by Denmark, 12 percent. The Swedish furniture companies are also doing trade with Asia and the United States.

Engstrom said that they worry about the competition from China which is also the number one country Sweden imports from, accounting for 19 percent of market share.

"One worrying sign is the import from China, which is continuously increasing. It is and will be a big challenge for the Swedish producers," Engstrom said.

"The quality of the Chinese products keeps getting better and the Swedish companies need to keep up the pace to maintain their front position when it comes to quality, environment and social corporate responsibility," she noted.

Anette Hellmuth from Skandilock which is specialized in wool and skin products told Xinhua that her company mainly imported sheep skin from Australia and New Zealand.

"Then we have one factory in Shanghai and one factory in the suburbs of Beijing to process the sheep skin and then we sell them in the Nordic market," said Hellmuth, whose products often go alone with those of furniture companies.

Multi-talented Arik Levy from Paris spoke of the trend of design as being more and more personal.

"Ten to 20 years ago if you ask me what I do, I said I was an industrial designer. But now if you talk about design, it is about everything, you can design dinner chair, you can also design office chair, and they are very different," said Levy with more emphasis on taking the person as the center.

In general the characteristics of Nordic design is still simple, clean and comfortable.

According to Engstrom, it is still office furniture and bedroom furniture which have the best balance of trade, but fitted kitchen equipment and dining room furniture are also exported to a high extent.

This year also marks the 60 anniversary of Stockholm Furniture Fair, which will last till Feb. 12.

Source: Xinhua
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