Industrial designer, interior architect and photographer Katrin Greiling grew up in Munich, and has been based in Stockholm since 2000. After graduating from Konstfack in Stockholm in 2005 she founded Studio Greiling and recently returned from a three year excursion to the Middle East. Her latest project, the Design Bar & VIP Lounge at the Stockholm Furniture Fair, that took place last week reflects her experiences of recent years, during which she has spent much time working and living in different cultures. We caught up with her to find out more…
Hi Katrin, can you tell us about the project…
My goal has been to create an environment that draws on these global impressions, rather than telling a linear story. I like visitors to be able to come here for a break from the hustle and bustle of the fair. They become part of this stimulating environment, which plays with one’s perceptions of private and public space." I got the request to design the design Bar & VIP Lounge at the Stockolm Furniture Fair when I still was living in Dubai but already playing with the thoughts of moving back to Sweden. The geographical distance I had to Europe during my 3 years in the Middle East created a certain longing back and a comparison in how cities are built; How European cities are developed compared to the model used particular in Dubai. A circular development compared to a linear or almost punctual one, around the church, growing around. Archetypes of the European house, the triangle shaped roof became for me a symbol of the ‘Old City’.
I used the shape of the roof in the space to create an environment where you feel sheltered. The material I worked with is paper board, with a red printed surface on the outside, suspended above tables. The smaller version of a roof shape is hanging above sun deck chairs to help the fair visitors to get some contemplation during their visit of the fair. As a designer I think it is difficult to be at fairs, as you see so much but actually just want to go back to your studio and do your own work. The ‘Pineapple Bar’ in the centre of the 320 sq/m space and is more figurative inspired, from my time in Dubai, where I was hanging at my favourite juice bars, drinking the most delicious, healthy things. It is a construction with a stretch fabric as surface. In clay boxes (produced together with students of Capellagården, school on the island Öland where I myself studied fine carpentry) all drinks are chilled and served from. As well I designed trays in powder coated metal and round plates in porcelain.
How did the visitors to the fair react to the space?
Of course the roofs in the first row at the entrance were acting as provocation a lot and throwing up a lot of questions. But later in the day the more people discovered the advantage of disappearing with their head under the roofs and relaxing.
How important is the Stockholm Furniture Fair to the city?
I think the fair is not just important for the city but for the whole of Scandinavia as it established itself as a main player, taking over from Copenhagen and its annual show at Bella Centre. Scandinavian designers and producers seem to have a lot of trust, not only from Scandinavia. And I think as well that an economical strong Sweden stimulates others to invest.
You’ve just returned from a 3 year adventure to the Middle East, how has that influenced your work since being back in Stockholm?
I had a very special live style in Dubai. As soon as I had found the word ‘adventures trip’ I was able to leave Stockholm and decamp in the Middle East. Thanks to my camera (I call it my engine) I was able to experience the Arabic culture. I gained a new freedom and more personal form language again, releasing from a Swedish functionalism.