The password is: relations

A report from 3daysofdesign: an immersive dive into the Nordic culture of know-how, and the viewpoints of sector professionals. Against the marvelous backdrop of Copenhagen

Luna by Occhio, 3daysofdesign

Design wants to get beyond the form/function dyad in the products that inhabit our everyday world. They become our traveling companions, and are thus transformed: lamps light up our thoughts, tables become element that nurture convivial pleasures. And more. In this iteration of 3daysofdesign, concluding on 14 June, on stage we saw an approach to design thinking that encouraged everyone – designers, companies and visitors – to explore new pathways leading to unconventional ideas. In every district there were also dreamscapes (the theme this year was Dare to Dream): locations in which to linger and reflect, to dream but also to share experiences during the festival.

House of Design, Filip Gielda
House of Nordic Design, Stefania Zanetti e Matteo Bellomo

We begin right there to try to understand, through eyewitness testimony, just why 3DoD has such appeal. And to grasp its role in the design panorama. “The difference between 3dayofdesign and the Salone in Milan is a matter of scale: here everything is smaller and more manageable,” says Marco Sammicheli, curator for the design, fashion and crafts department of Triennale Milano and director of the Museum of Italian Design.

Montana Furniture, Filippo Bamberghi
New Works, Filippo Bamberghi

“Furthermore, this festival wagers on atmosphere: it is a parade of interiors (buildings, showrooms, small monuments, workshops) enlivened by presentations, and there is no fair. It is a very pleasant event that plays on a different level with respect to Salone del Mobile.Milano: the latter is on a championship scale, while 3DoD is rooted in a context that has a long tradition of design and attracts a community, from journalists to companies to creatives, arriving from all over the world,” Sammicheli goes on. “Today it is a reference point for Scandinavian design, surpassing Stockholm thanks to a favorable calendar: since it is summer there is a relaxed mood, somewhere between vacationing and work. Then there are a series of phenomena that also come to Milan, but can be observed here in their natural habitat, leading to greater comprehension.” 

Kvadrat, Filippo Bamberghi
Royal Danish Academy, Stefania Zanetti e Matteo Bellomo

For Sandro Marini, Communication Director and Art Director of Fenix, “the success of 3DoD is due to the ability to let people experience the city, easily passing from one space to another, absorbing the local design and culture. There is also the pleasure of hearing the story of a complete path, in total transparency, aimed at everyone and not just sector professionals. As a designer you can learn, as a consumer you can appreciate.”
Why are Italian companies interested in taking part? “For us, since we produce materials, this has always been an important proving ground: the audience here is also very demanding. If what you do works here, it should work around the world,” Marini concludes.

Fritz Hansen, Filip Gielda
Design Experience, Filippo Bamberghi

The designer Luca Nichetto, also a protagonist on the Scandinavian market for years (he also has a studio in Stockholm), remarks: “In this moment the industry in Denmark is very strong: the companies are growing very fast. With this thrust, and a completely different target with respect to the Salone, 3DoD attracts a younger public, in a pleasant and very inclusive atmosphere. I don’t think it will be able to become a platform for foreign companies: they might arrive, but it will be more an operation of branding rather than a commercial effort.” And he emphasizes: “It is a nice situation with a single direction of coordination, a very clear focus. I’ve been coming here since the first edition, but not to see new products: for me it is more like a meeting point.”

Noma Projects, Stefania e Zanetti Matteo Bellomo

Gian Paolo Migliaccio, CEO of Ethimo, explains: “I came for the first time last year: there was a lot of talk and I was curious to see if it might be interesting for us. I was immediately struck by the colloquial atmosphere, not so self-absorbed, open and very democratic. For us, it is interesting to come and to meet Scandinavian architects and those of northern Europe, who no longer come to Milan. It’s a perfect place to make contacts, to establish relationships.” We also heard from the designer Giorgia Zanellato, of the studio Zanellato/Bortotto, who visited 3DoD for the first time this year: “I liked the atmosphere and the ferment. It is a fresh context, well-organized and very enjoyable.”

Enter the Salon, Filip Gielda
Fredericia, Filip Gielda

Finally, we also asked for comments and reflections from Signe Byrdal Terenziani, CEO of 3DoD, about why the event is growing so rapidly (this year there were about 400 exhibitors across 11 districts). “It is substantially due to three reasons. The first is that Denmark has design in its DNA, and by coming here this becomes clearly perceptible. When you attend a fair as in Stockholm or New York, you do not really feel the spirit of the place: you could be anywhere. The second reason is that this is an event that is easy to visit: you can get around on a bicycle, on foot or by boat, discovering the beauty of Copenhagen in the process. And the last but fundamental aspect is the fact that I have tried to create a very open, inclusive environment, together with the exhibitors. You enter free of charge, and anyone can obtain information: we’re happy to welcome everyone. This relaxed atmosphere also extends to the designers and sector professionals, who are much more open than they might be in other trade events held elsewhere.” The conclusive message on the social media pages conveys the meaning of this edition: “Thank you for dreaming with us.”