Perhaps one of the most influential exhibition of the 20th century (in Sweden at least), the Stockholm Exhibition (1930) opened the world's eyes to the Scandinavian approach to design and functionalism.
The fair itself was sculpted into reality by the City of Stockholm and Svenska slöjdföreningen (now Svensk Form) and its 'leader' Gregor Paulsson, who was the fair's talisman. Stockholm Exhibition lifted its influence from a similar exhibition in Stuttgart, held in 1027 - the Weissenhof Estate. Such was the impact of Weissonhof Estate that Paulsson returned to Stockholm with the intent to lobby for a similar venture in Sweden's capital.
Under the strapline, Acceptera! (accept) four million visitors descended on the peaceful island of Djurgården in Stockholm where their eyes were bludgeoned by a cascade of new products, craftsmen, companies and concepts all making strides for a better life through mass production and functionalism; a new cultural movement which was pretty much cemented at the forefront of the country's conscious by the time it closed.
While all of the fair's buildings were, unfortunately for us now, temporary, the impact of the structures was as profound as that of what they contained within. The two architects in charge were Sigurd Lewerentz (of Malmo Opera House fame) and Gunnar Asplund. The involvement of the latter was particularly interesting for his work during the 20's was unmistakably in the vein of Swedish Grace (the Swedish take on art deco). Asplund's work on the Stockholm Exhibition was defintely a turning point in his career as he explored with Lewerentz the stripped down hallmarks of functionalism. Visitors to the site were treated to shooting lengths of exposed steel and expanses of glass and stark lighting in the evenings. Of particular note were the Paradise Restaurant and the fair's own entrance pavilion. While the buildings were strong and defiant marks of new intent citizens were reminded of the cultural change happening on Djurgården island when, at night, a large beacon baring Lewerentz's 'Flying V' logo lit up like an all-seeing eye.
Housed inside the exhibition's buildings were new housing alternatives, clinical in their execution and style from the likes of Paul Hedqvist, Uno Åhrén and Nils Ahrbom. There was also the revelatory serving of fast, mass-produced food - on sale for the first time in Sweden.
It's memory remains ever present in Swedish arcitectural folklore. Visitors with an interest in architectural history will be delighted to hear that there are many brilliant examples of the influence of the Stockholm Exhibition are still very much standing - even if the buildings of the exhibition are long gone. Head to Åhren's terraced houses of North Ängby in Bromma, or Sven Markelius' own house built in Nockeby in 1930.