Swedish Wood study trip inspires top UK designers and architects with modern pine interiors

This June, Swedish Wood hosted a three-day study trip for 15 top UK interior designers and architects to inspire them to use more Swedish pine in their projects.

Simon Knox of Knox Bhavan summarised the trip: "Swedish Wood organised an action-packed few days for our study trip; we attended seminars, experienced interior design in wood, toured a tree nursery, witnessed tree felling in the forest, and visited a panelling factory. This informative visit was accompanied by great Swedish hospitality."

The trip was the second phase in Swedish Wood’s UK Interior Design Project, which started with a seminar Interior Design for Sustainable Living held last December at the Royal Institute of British Architect’s headquarters in London. Its aim was to inspire designers to join a collaboration with Swedish Wood on one or more interior design projects of their own. The companies working on projects with Swedish Wood will receive support, including technical information and advice, help with sourcing products and a financial contribution towards the supply of appropriate timber products. Once the projects are complete, they will be photographed and publicised for the benefit of the practices and Swedish Wood.

The trip, from the 13th – 15th, started in Stockholm with visits to some examples of modern Swedish wood interiors, including the new Architecture School with its panelled interior and the Dome of Vision. Before dinner, a seminar featured Magnus Silfverhielm of AIX Arkitekter and Elizabeth Hatz, Associate Professor at the Architecture School who both talked about the use of wood in Swedish interior design from different perspectives, as well as Birgit Östman of SP who discussed fire regulations in Europe.

Day two took in a visit to a tree nursery and forest in the Karlskoga area followed by an evening seminar with Swedish Wood’s Director of Interior and Design, Charlotte Dedye Apelgren, presenting contemporary Swedish interior design in pine, and Alf Karlsson exploring surface treatments and finishes. After this, the group discussed the latest developments in pine panelling products, including different surface and colour treatments, with a representative from the Swedish sawmill industry.

Day three provided an opportunity to see state-of-the-art production of finished wood panelling, with a visit to the Moelven planing and painting mill in Säffle.

Swedish Wood was represented by Charlotte Apelgren, Director of Interior and Design, and Tony Traynor, UK Projects Manager.

Charlotte Apelgren said: “The UK is our most important export market, and it’s great for us to be able to develop closer ties with some of the country’s most influential designers to explore how to use this natural and renewable materials, Swedish pine, in the widest possible range of trend-setting projects.”

Roddy Langmuir of Cullinan Studio said: “There is a timelessness in the way the Swedish timber producers nurture their forests. It was brilliant to see that wood is so deeply rooted in their culture, that growing, cutting, and fine-finishing has become part of a seamless circular economy.

Naomi Cleaver, designer and TV presenter, said: "To have the story of timber production in stunning Sweden revealed to us in such vivid detail, was a never-to-be-forgotten experience, from seedling production to timber product application and even an exploration of our emotional relationship with wood. I’ll be using beautiful, sustainable Swedish wood on my projects now with an entirely new kind of energy and vision."

Companies attending the study trip:

  • Anna Whitehead Design
  • Central Design Studio
  • Cullinan Studio
  • Collado Collins Architects
  • Conran and Partners
  • Charles Barclay Architects
  • Diego Correa Interior Design
  • Harvey Norman Architects
  • Knox Bhavan
  • Naomi Cleaver
  • Tessuto Interiors
  • ZSTa

Sweden’s export of sawn wood to the United Kingdom
The UK is Sweden’s largest export market for sawn and planed wood products. In 2015, 2.8 million cubic metres were exported to the UK, accounting for 22 percent of total Swedish exports of wood. Swedish pine and spruce are leading wood materials in the UK, not only for construction purposes but also interior fixtures and fittings and for outdoor use. Three quarter of the wood exported to the UK is Swedish spruce. The remainder is pine.

Around 45 percent of all conifer wood imported into the UK comes from Sweden. Sweden has always been the dominant exporter of wood to the UK and Sweden’s market share has further increased over the past ten years. Many of the leading Swedish exporters have built up their own distribution operations in the UK.

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