WASHINGTON – Tucked away in the heart of Georgetown overlooking the Potomac River,the House of Sweden is a far cry from IKEA,the Swedish furniture giant. Stepping inside the four walls of the contemporary Scandinavian building,however,one might believe otherwise.
The House of Sweden was transformed Thursday to accommodate an array of exhibits that feature all aspects of modern Swedish life.
Under the theme Fabric of Life,the House of Sweden is celebrating the Embassy of Sweden’s yearlong program to promote Swedish culture across the United States.
At a media preview Thursday,guests drank Absolut Vodka and ate pickled herring,Stafva Blue cheese and smoked elk as they viewed the exhibits that will be showcased through June.
One exhibit showcases cutting-edge collections from 17 female Swedish designers. The items on display range from furniture to housewares to fabrics that are fashion-forward and ideal for everyday use.
“The designers whose works are here on display have all been featured in designer galleries across Sweden. These items on display are trying to translate a Scandinavian language,each exuding an element of playfulness,” Gabriella Augustsson,press counselor at House of Sweden,said.
Nina Jobs is among the designers celebrated for their creativity and innovation in contemporary designs. A professional industrial designer with 12 years of experience who has designed products for IKEA and Japanese companies,Jobs said she finds inspiration for her products from personal experience.
“There is a story behind every product,” Jobs said. “When I was a kid,I discovered that when you put dandelion flowers in water,its stems become curly. That’s where I got the inspiration for the coat hanger.”
The coat hanger,which is strong enough to hold objects as heavy as a chair,took almost a year to create from its initial designing to the final execution.
“I think this exhibition portrays a very fair picture of contemporary Swedish designs. All of these items on display are designed exclusively by female designers,which I think is very unique,” Jobs said.
Other exhibits include:
- Swedish Seeds: an exhibit displaying products designed to contribute to the learning and growth of children.
- Zero to One: an area designed for parents and babies to experience a unique bonding opportunity in an all-white,serene setting.
- Imagination Station: an interactive playground for children ages 2 to 10 where they can unleash their creativity.
- Hang: a photographic series created by Charlotte Gyllenhammar,one of the most renowned contemporary Swedish artists,depicting female bodies in various states of vulnerability,weightlessness or sleep.
In addition,there will be events to celebrate the Swedish musical industry,culinary arts and seminars on a wide variety of other subjects related to Swedish culture.
Since its inauguration in 2006,House of Sweden has held a series of events to promote Swedish cultural values in the United States.
The new exhibition marks the 11th in the series. It is open to the public on weekends through June 30. The exhibit will travel to New York,San Francisco,Seattle,Minneapolis and Chicago. Other cities may be added.