Design Lab S

Kendra Williams-Valentine learns more about Samir’s Design Lab S – an inspiring designer during Stockholm Design Week.

Chair by child and chair by Samir. Photo: Samir Alj Fält

Chair by child and chair by Samir. Photo: Samir Alj Fält

Stockholm Design Week has come and gone, and along with it, a handful of cool pop-up shops and the main event trade show…  but what about the design stay-posts of the city?

I’m not talking about Svensk Tenn but those who are building the design milieu of Sweden’s “future” in every sense of the word?

With this, I would like to introduce Design Lab S. Founded less then a year ago by designer Samir Alj who after showcasing in several international shows has decided that Skärholmen is his grounds for inspiration along with its children.

Samir Alj Fält. Foto Jonas Isfält

Samir Alj Fält, who grew up in Skärholmen, plans to showcase a collection of 10 objects inspired by Design Lab S in the near future Photo: Jonas Isfält

Design Lab S is a studio run by Samir and his small team that aims to provide a platform where participants (aged 9-13 years) can create their own design language and build meaningfulness through experimenting with materials on hand. There is no terminology or technique championed here: just imagination and will. The lab is set up to be mobile as well, so that it can easily be packed up and rolled out to visit schools when need be. On Saturdays, kids are welcomed to come by for an improvised session.

There, they use whatever materials Samir happens to be working with at the moment: leather one day and yarn another. Samir just works and observes.

Samir gets his inspiration from the work of the children, whether that comes in the form of ‘interpreting’ a chair built by one of them (pictured above) or applying a similar approach used in a group-built model to create a table. The kids are part of his design process.

Tables inspired by childrens work. Foto Samir Alj Fält

Tables inspired by childrens work. Photo: Samir Alj Fält

In turn, Samir hopes to introduce design to kids, as well as a different kind role model then they might meet elsewhere.  Design Lab S is named after Skärholmen, a multiethnic neighborhood in Stockholm, and has its goal set on helping the area develop an identity beyond being simply the multicultural edge of Stockholm. The hope is to nurture “… not just consumers but producers in the future.”

If you happen to have a kid in Stockholm aged 9-13 with a little time and want for imagination, check out Design Lab S.

Work in progress in Design Lab S. Foto Samir Alj Fält

Work in progress in Design Lab S. Photo: Samir Alj Fält


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Author: Kendra Valentine

Stockholm-based Boston-native Kendra Williams-Valentine is a creative at heart with an entrepreneurial spirit. She is currently developing a children's media concept and book, as well as copywriting freelance and maintaining the food blog:
She has been involved with Stockholm School of Entrepreneurship and was selected for the inaugural inter-disciplinary class for their White Label program. There she represented SSES at London Business School for the European Business Plan of the Year competition with her business plan for a food product she developed.
She has previously worked as a Production and Producer's Assistant on major feature films for studios such as Warner Bros. and Universal in the US, as well as commercials.

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