Malmö design festival fights back against the flatpack

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Sweden’s third city showcases independent artists and stylish restaurants reviving Scandinavia’s offbeat, sustainable design

If you want to see the full range of expression of which a Swede is capable, just mention Ikea. Annoyance, amusement, pride and resentment flit across Terese Alstin’s face as she forms a response. “It’s a love-hate relationship,” she says finally, laughing.

We’re tucking into an exquisite lunch of chicken and asparagus at the Mat- & Chokladstudion cafe in Malmö. Sweden’s third-largest city is renowned for its independent design scene – with boutiques and design-forward restaurants that are open year round – but right now, just before the third Southern Sweden Design Days (SSDD), there’s an almost audible crackle of creative energy in the air. Terese is strategic manager at the Form/Design Center, the organisation behind the event, which takes place on 25-28 May. More than 60 venues across Malmö will be involved, turning the city into a sprawling design museum. About 85% of participants are one-person companies.

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