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