Dezeen Magazine

De La Espada showcases furniture in theatrical performance inside century-old Stockholm flat

A Stockholm apartment once owned by Abba's manager has been dressed with all-new furniture and used to stage an intimate theatrical performance.

Portuguese brand De La Espada has installed its entire new collection inside the early 20th-century flat, which was once the home of Stig Anderson. These 14 objects formed the stage props for Let's Pretend This Never Happened, an hour-long performance staged by two actors.

Visitors to Stockholm Design Week were invited to explore the apartment. At the same time, the two actors played out a series of scenes that included singing, arguing, sleeping and chasing each another around the house.

Every available room was used in at least one scene, and every piece of furniture was involved in at least one activity.

"This presentation represents a reaction to the things that frustrate me when I look at our industry," explained Luis De Oliveira, founder of De La Espada.

"We think of products rather than people, we show them in spaces that in the end are truly empty, and we cannot hold people's attention to allow them to reflect and think about what they saw," he continued.

"Of course, we could remain frustrated and do nothing about it, but with a little courage and help, we created something that communicates earnestly and at a very personal level.  Communication, and emotion, is vital for our industry."

The performance was directed by Lisbon-based artist Joana Astolfi and staged by interior architect Roberta Ellingsen.

It involved 14 pieces of furniture in total, including designs by Brooklyn-based Jason Miller, Shanghai studio Neri&Hu, London-based Matthew Hilton and Italian designer Luca Nichetto.

All of these were hidden beneath white sheets at the start of the performance and revealed one by one.

Five of the designs are by Jason Miller, who is best known as the founder of lighting company Roll & Hill. These include the Elliot Dining Table and Elliot Chairs, which were used during an unusual opening scene that saw actors Fernando Nobre and Vania Rovisco take the form of a giant.

Crafted from walnut, both the table and chairs feature decorative legs, made by grouping together pairs of tapered lengths.

Miller's other designs include the colourful Classon sideboard and chest, which was presented in the apartment in yellow ochre, and the Gates Sofa, which was shown off in two colours.

Matthew Hilton contributed three designs to the collection. His Tavli Table and Saia Dining Chair featured in a scene where prosciutto was carved off the bone and served to the audience.

Later, visitors were invited to sit down on his Planalto Sofa to watch a short movie.

Luca Nichetto – a designer that divides his time between Venice and Stockholm – also created a sofa for the collection, which was used as a seat for an actor taking selfies with guests.

Showcased in the apartment's round entrance hall, it features a gridded wooden side support and a generously sized armrest.

Neri&Hu's designs were installed in the bedroom and study. The Solo Desk was used by the actors while they used a typewriter, while the Solo Bed created the space for the pair to vent out frustrations on one another.

The other designs include the Handle Side Table, the Solo Cabinet and the Solo Vitrine, which over the course of the design week was filled with an assortment of objects chosen by guests.

Let's Pretend This Never Happened has been on show throughout Stockholm Design Week 2018, with three performances each day.

Other highlights from the design week, which continues until 11 February, include Hay's exploration of the modern contemporary workspace and Fogia's homage to the 1970s.

More images

Elliot Dining Table by Jason Miller
Elliott Dining Chair by Jason Miller
Gates Sofa by Jason Miller
Classon Chest by Jason Miller
Classon Sideboard by Jason Miller
Planalto Sofa by Matthew Hilton
Tavli Table by Matthew Hilton
Saia Dining Chair by Matthew Hilton
Belle Reeve Sofa by Luca Nichetto
Solo Desk by Neri&Hu
Solo Bed by Neri&Hu
Solo Vitrine by Neri&Hu
Solo Cabinet by Neri&Hu
Handle Side Table by Neri&Hu