Annedal 2012 – the housing exhibition in Stockholm, once a dull industrial area that has been transformed in to a completely new neighborhood for 5000 new inhabitants – has recently closed the gates.

Stockholmshem

Interior by Anders Jakobsen (LagomBra) for Stockholmshem

An expo as this, is obviously a rare opportunity for the “crème de la crème” of the greatest construction companies, architects, designers and urban developers in Sweden to show us the direction forward. With sharp eyes and strong back, one can expect they shall guide us through the latest trends and visions for future urban living. That was my humble expectation. But the more I walked around in the expo area, I see stingless compromises and standard solutions – from construction plans to choice of materials and in execution. Instead of visionary designs, we meet constructed themes and invited artists in the show apartments. Is it to surprise us or trying to sell the apartments as more exciting than the actual plan arrangements are?

Annedal 2012 - Stockholmshem

Interior by Anders Jakobsen (LagomBra) for Stockholmshem

The housing company Stockholmshem, for example, invited the “punk craftsman” Anders Jakobsen/LagomBra to create a colorful D.I.Y. theme. He definitely shows interesting concepts that focuses on what functions we actually need in a home. However, walking around, I get a strange feeling that the exhibitor are trying to hide the actual apartment for us behind a thick layer of make-up.

NCC at Annedal 2012

NCC. Alice on her way through the balconies.

Another example is NCC, that gives us an Alice in Wonderland-theme, where the visitors walk into a tea party in a forest after being welcomed by Alice herself in the entrance, carrying a basket filled with beer openers and beach balls as give-aways. But between rabbits, cookies and enormous hats; Once again dull standard solutions.

Annedal 2012 with NCC

NCC. Detail from a fairytale installation next to a standard wardrobe.

These two examples are not the only ones. Showing constructed themes, instead of cutting-edge apartments or care in details, seems to be popular. Building brand images and hunting buyers on a wobbly housing market seems to be a difficult task to combine with the aim of the expo; To inspire to new thoughts and visions in urban development.

Annehem 2012 - Svenska bostäder

Svenska Bostäder / Tovatt Architects.

However, some of the exhibitors do succeed to surprise and inspire. Through paying attention to details. Two of them are Svenska Bostäder / Tovatt Architects, showing passive houses, covered in funky bright orange steel sheets – and Folkhem / Joliark, stacking two terrace-houses on top of each other, all dressed in cool
black. When Folkhem shows an empty apartment, they also automatically state they have nothing to hide. Their crafted quality details in the interior, such as the beautiful staircase that links the three floors together, is simplicity at its best.

Annedal 2012 - Folkhem

Folkhem / Joliark.

When showing visionary frames for new living, they automatically let visitors creating their own stories – and hopefully also; Inspire other participators for future exhibitions.

Annedal 2012 Folkhem

Folkhem / Joliark.

This is an article by David Report contributor Hanna Ljungström.

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