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Post Time: 2018 12 08

Project by: Swedish Designer

Project Name:NM & EN NY SAMLING

Place: Stockholm , Sweden

Photographer: PIA ULIN

Publications: Yatzer 2018 12 08

After five years of extensive renovation and modernization,  National museum ,

Stockholm’s National Museum of Fine Arts, finally re-opened on October 13,

2018, offering visitors an enhanced experience underpinned by its mission to

make art and design as accessible as possible. The same vision has been the

driving force behind the museum’s new 300 seat restaurant and café which

has taken over three impressive ground floor galleries previously closed to the


Conceived as an artistic project, the project gave a collective of designers the

opportunity to work together to explore materials and methods, and discover

old and new producers, in order to provide visitors with insights into the

design process. The result of this collaborative process, which was helmed by

Swedish designers Matti Klenell, TAF Studio, Carina Seth Andersson and  Stina

Löfgren , is NM & - En Ny Samling, a contemporary collection of furniture, light

fittings, tableware and other decorative objects that celebrate the unfinished

and uncertain in a House already filled with artistic masterpieces.

stronger. The collection’s name, NM& - En Ny Samling, which means “a new

collection”, succinctly sums up the project’s ambitious nature but also

references the Nationalmuseum’s enormous collection of paintings,

sculptures, drawings and prints ranging from the Renaissance to the

beginning of the 20th century and its impressive collection of applied arts and

design that spans an even longer long period. In Swedish, ‘sampling’ also

means gathering which not only alludes to the restaurant’s social aspect but

also aptly describes the process of creating the NM& collection which involved

32 designers and 21 manufacturers from all over the Nordic countries.

This is not the first time that Matti Klenell, TAF Studio, Carina Seth

Andersson and  Stina Löfgren  have collaborated. During 2012–2014, the

Swedish designers worked together with Taiwanese artisans to create a series

of contemporary objects made with ancient lacquer techniques under the

auspices of the National Taiwan Craft and Research Institute. Titled “A New

Layer”, the project went on to foster more international collaborations, the

latest of which were unveiled last year under the name & A New Layer II:

Crafting Identities / Design Stories from Taiwan

Similarly to their previous collaboration, the concept of place and origin was at

the center of the team’s assignment to design the Nationalmuseum’s

restaurant and café, in this case as an assertion of the museum’s “national”

character and its mission to monitor and collect design and applied arts from

Sweden and the Nordic region. But more broadly, for a designer, the

importance of place is manifested oftentimes as a requirement, inspiration,

starting point or goal. In a globalized design scene where uniformity is the

rule, local can mean unique and the manufacturing location can give

distinctive character. Materials such as wood, metal, ceramics and glass are

used around the world to make similar artifacts but it is place and tradition

that set them apart and give them a distinctive soul.

At the same time, as the design team & 39;s collective journeys in

Taiwan demonstrated, cross-cultural exchanges can be a force for innovation

and renewal. With this framework in mind, the design team travelled together

across the Nordic countries, exploring local manufacturing both for research

and inspiration. From small scale workshops in Stockholm’s Old Town, to a

weaving mill in the Värmland woods in central Sweden, all the way to a glass

factory in Häme, Finland, the familiarity of the places they visited was both a

blessing and a challenge. As the team confesses, “it is for sure much more

difficult to work with your own legacy than to interpret someone else’s”.

What came out of their exploratory travels was a collection of more than 80

entirely new designed objects - each one given an archive code starting with

NM & 001 similar to a museum inventory number - grounded in a shared

palette of muted colors, eclectic materials and unpretentious

craftsmanship. Utterly contemporary and boldly idiosyncratic, they

nevertheless evocatively embody the region’s Nordic heritage. As the team

explains, ”each product in the NM &

collection has a sometimes messy but

always well documented pedigree around its origins, and just as we hoped

somewhere at the beginning of our journey, the overall final picture of a place,

our place right here, right now, is just as motley and unpredictable as we

hoped it would be”.

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