Dezeen Magazine

Stockholm Furniture Fair venue

Stockholm Furniture Fair to be sold and venue demolished

Stockholmsmässan, the venue for and organisation that runs annual tradeshow Stockholm Furniture Fair, is set to be sold and demolished as the city of Stockholm plans to create a new city district on its grounds.

The 114,000-square-metre venue, which was built to house tradeshows in 1971, will be razed to create space for 2,000-2,500 homes and 10,000 workplaces, reported Swedish newspaper Dagens Nyheter.

Stockholm Furniture Fair is one of the tradefairs under Stockholm City's Stockholmsmässan tradeshow organisation. The city now plans to sell off the entire fair and congress operations.

Building stands on "best buildable land"

Stockholm City made the decision following reduced demand for tradeshows and trade fair venues in part caused by the coronavirus pandemic and wider consumer trends over the past 10 to 20 years.

"We will develop the area and put the fair concept up for sale," Stockholm mayor Karin Wanngård said.

"The fair [concept, which includes 100 events] has had a couple of difficult years, fair operations are important, but it is not important that it is the city that owns the fair concept."

The city will develop a new district in the Älvsjö area in the south of Stockholm where the fair is located and said it needs to demolish the fair building to do so.

"We are going to demolish the fair building, it stands on the best buildable land," Wanngård said. "Much here is an old lake bed and difficult to build on. The sports areas that exist today will remain, the city wants to develop the area as a sports hub."

"Selling the business is wise"

Stockholmsmässan CEO Christian Clemens said he believed it would benefit from a new owner.

"Selling the operational business is wise," he told Dezeen.

"We think it is better for the business to be in private ownership rather than municipal, although we have appreciated the city as an owner during the challenging pandemic years," Clemens continued.

"We would like to see a new owner who can contribute with additional resources and expertise in our fields. It would be good for both the fair and the city."

Stockholm Furniture Fair will continue to be held in the Stockholmsmässan venue until a buyer is found, with the city's urban planning committee set to start working on the program for the new district at the end of 2023.

Construction of the new workplaces and homes is anticipated to begin in 2030 and Stockholm City plans to also build a new underground line, Fridhemsplan-Älvsjö, in the area.

"Fair operations will continue to be conducted for some time to come," Wanngård said.

"After that, the city can look at temporary areas of use for the property that contribute to public life and safety in the area. It could, for example, be about the temporary establishment of sports and culture."

Change "will play important role in developing the fair concept"

Stockholm Furniture Fair also runs the wider Stockholm Design Week, which includes numerous events and exhibitions in the centre of Stockholm.

The decision by Stockholm City to sell Stockholmsmässan's fair and congress operations will have a "positive impact", director of Stockholm Furniture Fair and Stockholm Design Week Hanna Nova Beatrice told Dezeen.

"I think new owners – and a new venue – will have a positive impact on Stockholm Furniture Fair and Stockholm Design Week in the long run," she said.

"It's a change that will play an important role in further developing the fair concept for the future," Nova Beatrice added.

"But these changes are a few years away, and Stockholm Furniture Fair will run as normal in the coming years. For the 2024 edition we focus on the fair as a gathering force and marketplace, with more activities taking place at the actual fair ground and more invited architects, buyers and journalists."

At this year's Stockholm Design Week, projects shown as part of Stockholm Furniture Fair included Underbar, a bar with a wall made from dress shirts, and the Now or Never exhibition that aimed to showcase the climate impact of materials that are commonly used in architecture and design.

The climate impact of trade shows has been discussed lately, as cities explore if and how to make use of them post the coronavirus crisis. Designers at Italy's Salone del Mobile fair said there was "no hiding" from their environmental impact, while Danish brand Hay's co-founder Rolf Hay called them "completely irresponsible".

The photography is courtesy of Stockholm Furniture Fair.