In connection with the opening of the exhibition Round Here, a publication on the project (Re-)learning the Archive was released. The publication is written by Christina Zetterlumd, craft and design historian as well as project manager for (Re-)learning the Archive, with design by Lisa Olausson and translation by William Jewson.

Download the publication here.

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Round Here

13/5–27/8 2023: Designarkivet, Nybro
22/11 2023–14/1 2024: Form/Design Center, Malmö

Round Here is about the many different craft and design histories that exist around us, here in Småland. The exhibition tells you about design and craft in a broad sense – about design and craft that deal with the shaping of everyday life, design and craft that are not tied to purchasing power, products, and abstract perceptions of beauty and ugliness. The exhibition shows a selection of Designarkivet’s extensive collection of artistic processes, but above all, Designarkivet steps aside to make space for a diversity of stories that were previously not visible in design historiography.

Historically, very little design history has been written from Småland, despite the fact that a great deal of design has been produced here, not least through the successful glass and furniture industries. Instead, the design history has been formulated and decided by the institutions, museums, and universities of the big cities. Similar structures are also reflected in Designarkivet’s collection, a collection based on the individual designer’s design processes and products. The exhibition Round Here is instead about design and craft that can be found in civil society today, in local heritage museums and local historical networks. Together we write craft and design history with the entire Småland – a diverse story about different everyday lives, about material skills and crafts, and about life out in the country districts.

The exhibition is produced by Designarkivet and summarises the three-year development project (Re-)learning the Archive. The project has developed a method for how we can expand the writing of design history through an inclusive, listening, and learning practice.

Magnus Bärtås & Behzad Khosravi Noori, Dädesjö Hembygdsförening, Annika Elmqvist, Makda Embaie, Frantzwagner sällskapet, Hönsalottas Luffarmuseum, Kalmar Läns Hemslöjd, MADAM snickeri och restaurering, Evelina Mohei, Tuomo Nieminen, Ann Rydh, Sandsjö hembygdsgård, Studio Goja, Rosa Tolnov Clausen & Daniele Burlando.

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Round Here – exhibition participants

Poster design by Lisa Oluasson

Map of Småland, made on hand crafted paper from Lessebo Hand Paper Mill by graphic designer Evelina Mohei

Design Archive as a Map, Design by Evelina Mohei

Through arguing the importance of place in understanding design, as something that must be based on the specific knowledges and agency of local cultures, (Re-)learning the Archive has tried a different way of operating as a design archive. It is a design archive that does not have a specific location, but rather is a map that stitches together different places, museums and diverse perspectives. In that way, the whole of Småland becomes a potential design archive. This map is just the beginning of what such an archive could look like.

Thank you, Forest!
MADAM snickeri & restaurering

MADAM’s work in cabinetmaking prioritises sustainability, an approach that requires them to constantly re-evaluate the many preconceived ideas they encounter in their everyday work. By focusing on high-quality craftsmanship, they challenge the prevailing industrial perspectives on wood, and bring historical structures to light.

Detail from Ann Rydh’s embroided map

The Weaving House
Kalmar läns Hemslöjd

Together with Kalmar läns Hemslöjd we want to highlight the weaving house, an important creative space in the Småland countryside. The map is made by embroiderer Ann Rydh who has created it with fabric samples from various weaving houses and weavers from Småland.

Models for Furniture Ornaments
Sandsjö Hembygdsförening

These models were used to create ornaments on some of the furniture that was manufactured at Svenska Möbelfabrikerna in Bodafors during the 1940s and 1950s. Through a combination of machining and sculpting craft, it was possible to produce budget variants of the otherwise exclusive style furniture. Furniture decorations could therefore become available even to those less well off – ornaments for all!

In the exhibition we also show a casket by factory worker Aron Johansson.

Unfortunately not participating in the exhibition at the Form/Design Center.

Wire Craft
Hönsalottas Luffarmuseum

In this vagabond museum we get to meet some of the itinerant people who wandered the paths and roads of Småland and beyond, seeking to make a living. These were people who, for various reasons, spent a great deal of time on the roads, living in temporary housing and earning a living by, for instance, wire crafting objects.

Rosa Tolnov Clausen & Daniele Burlando

Bräv is a proposal for an independent quarterly magazine. The name bräv is a portmanteu of the Swedish words ”brev” (letter) and “väv” (weave), which tells both about the magazine’s format – one page, one letter – as well as that its content is about cultures around weaving and the weaving house. The picture show one of the weaving houses Tolnov Clausen and Burlando visited during their residency project.

Mended Clothing
Dädesjö Hembygdsförening

The garments from Dädesjö Hembygdsförening, the local heritage museum, fine textile collection tell of a time when textiles were exclusive. These are clothes that are rare to see today because few of them have been collected and preserved. The garments have been mended many times and have been taken care of in order to last a long time – it was expensive to get new ones.

Unfortunately not participating in the exhibition at the Form/Design Center.

Studio Goja with children from Hagbyskolan and Madesjöskolan

In the place investigative newspaper GALON, we get the latest news from the children’s Södermöre and Nybro. Through the newspaper’s different editorials, from politics and culture to sports and comics, the children reflect on their places from various interests and perspectives.

In the Kingdom of Crystal – the People, the Environment, the Future
& Annika Elmqvist

Annika Elmqvist’s illustrations on glass portrays different aspects of the project In the Kingdom of Crystal – the People, the Environment, the Future. The project, which was carried out in 1978–1983 at the initiative of adult-education society ABF in Lessebo and Nybro together with the Swedish Factory Workers’ Union’s departments 2, 44 and 122, is an important forerunner in terms of extended design historiography in Småland.

Photo: Peter Westrup

Frigger-making, Glass Art & Pyrography
Tuomo Nieminen

Tuomo Nieminen is one of Sweden’s leading glass sculptors who has worked as a master glassmaker at the Bergdala and Kosta glassworks. For a period, he was unable to blow glass in the workshop, and so he began to create “drawings” using a hot iron on wood. In the exhibition his wooden pictures are shown together with some of his own glass production, his curious and experimental frigger-making. Nieminen has also made (Re-)learning the Archive’s wooden icon.

Illustration by Johan Georg Arsenius, from the Military Archive’s collection

Resande Romani
The Frantzwagner Society

Resande Romani have a long and well documented history in Småland even though such traces are not visible today. It is a narrative that is so tightly interconnected with life in the countryside – maybe that’s why it’s hard to distinguish? To bring these at the same time Swedish and Romani narratives to life we have collaborated with the Frantzwagner Society.

Still from Geographies of Cups, Makda Embaie, 2023

Geographies of Cups
Makda Embaie

Perhaps the home is the most extensive design archive? In Makda Embaie’s residency project Geographies of Cups she studies a service that was part of her home, a beloved service that was used on special occasions such as birthdays.

Photo: Jan Olsson

Hotel Al Rasheed

The story of the spectacular Hotel Al Rasheed, which was built by Skanska in Kalmar in 1978–1982, is a complex and unwritten Swedish-Iraqi design history of top-quality design, world politics and war.

Read more about our previous exhibition Hotel Al Rasheed and Orrefors.


Designarkivet’s extensive collection tells you about the individual professional designer’s practice and creative processes, but also about the design industry in Sweden. Several of the producers who supplied Hotel Al Rasheed are represented in the collection, many of which are well-known from the Swedish design history.

Still from On Hospitality, Magnus Bärtås & Behzad Khosravi Noori, 2023

On Hospitality
Magnus Bärtås & Behzad Khosravi Noori

In On Hospitality an experiment is carried out that could be called necromancy: a dead person is made to speak to the living about the past. In the work, we meet Layla Al-Attar (1944–1993), an Iraqi artist who talks about Hotel Al Rasheed and what it means to be a guest of the power.

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Hotel Al Rasheed and Orrefors – a tale of an amazing hotel and spectacular chandeliers

During Sommarutställning Pukeberg 2022, (Re-)learning the archive, in collaboration with the research project Design history in other geographies, shows the exhibition Hotel Al Rasheed and Orrefors – a tale of an amazing hotel and spectacular chandeliers. The exhibition is open 18 / 6-6 / 8, every day 11-17 (closed midsummer weekend).

Photo: Jan Olsson/Skanska

In this exhibition we want to highlight a piece of unwritten Swedish-Iraqi history of design – a story of design of the highest quality, of world politics and war.

The seventh summit of the Non-Aligned Movement was planned to take place in Baghdad in 1982. It was an important meeting where delegates from the global South were to discuss critical common questions. A meeting of this calibre needed a setting, a premise, that corresponded to the dignity of the event. The assignment to carry out the construction went to Skanska in Kalmar in 1978. The Danish architect Ole Helweg was behind the building design and the interiors were mainly delivered by Swedish companies, many of them from Småland. No expenses were spared in giving the meeting its material setting.

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Inside Virserum’s furniture industry museum

The belt driven workshop at Virserum’s furniture industry museum ran on waterpower.

The museum’s upper floor displays furniture by Virserum’s different wood industries.

Apart from the machinery, the visitor gets to experience hand tools and wood carvings.

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Virserum’s furniture industry museum

Sound recording of the belt driven workshop at Virserum’s furniture industry museum

At Virserums möbelindustrimuseum (Virserum’s furniture industry museum) we meet the process. We can see how furniture has been produced, the wood sawn, details carved, and how it has been put together to a finished piece of furniture. It is a history of work, but also of craftsmanship and technical development. The oldest machine in the museum is a foot driven frame saw from the 18th century which could be used for sawing curved lines.

The largest part of the museum is the workshop, driven by a water wheel which is kept in motion by the Virserum river. The forces of nature were a prerequisite for production. The workshop is driven by belts running across the ceiling. We can’t just see the furniture, but also hear the humming of the belts, the clatter of the machines and feel their vibrations. We get to experience what it was like to work in this noisy environment. On a post we find out that ear protection was unusual and that a hand or finger easily “got in the way of a blade, steel or cutters”.

We also get to know the skillful hands that created the handsome oak furniture. We meet the tools that carved their many details. To begin with, this was a task performed by the farmers in the area. They could increase their income by carving furniture details for the industry. This is why craft history in this case is not curtailed by industry. On the upper floor in the exhibition, we find a piece of elm furniture made by the farmer and carpenter Jonas Magnus Jonsson in Rödamossa. We are told that this piece is “a typical example of the amazing knowledge in the area which in many cases led to industries being started”. We also find an elaborate bed canopy which the wood sculptor Theodor Karlsson made for himself.

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Inside Uppvidinge beekeeping museum

Straw hives.
Bee smokers, or smokepots, are used in beekeeping to calm honey bees.
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Uppvidinge beekeeping museum

In Uppvidinge we learn about beekeepers, beekeeping and bees – as well as surprising design history about a beehive that aims to satisfy the needs of the bees rather than those of the beekeeper. We talk to Peter Englén, president of Uppvidinge beekeeping society and the person behind the museum.

Can you tell us a bit more about Uppvidinge biodlarmuseum (Uppvidinge beekeeping museum)?
The museum tells the history of beekeeping since the 16th century, from Gustav Vasa to Samuel von Linné [brother of Carl] and Alexander Lundgren. I was fascinated by a German beekeeping museum and thought “If they can do it, so can we!”. And that’s the beginning of Sweden’s perhaps only museum dedicated to beekeeping, where it doesn’t just get a corner of a room. One of the society members had a building that could house the museum, we applied for funding and started to build it. The museum opened its doors in the summer of 2009 and so far we haven’t tired of it.

Would you tell us about Alexander Lundgren and the Svea hive?
Alexander Lundgren was a pioneer of modern beekeeping. In the 1920s he studied bees and developed everything from tools such as the honey extractor or queen catcher, to how to handle diseases and how beehives should be designed. Before this, beehives were mainly made of straw and based on the needs of the hive. Alexander Lundgren concluded that the hives should be designed according to the needs of the queen, how the queen best lays her eggs and what temperature the hive should have. He developed a hive, specifically for the Swedish climate, which he called the Svea hive. But he was ahead of his time, his ideas were considered nonsense and were not particularly well received to begin with.

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Posted in Lessebo Hand Paper Mill, Places

Inside Lessebo Hand Paper Mill

Photo: Evelina Mohei
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Watermark mold

Mold for the making of paper with watermark, here with the beehive of Lessebo Hand Paper Mill. The details in filigree technique create a recess in the paper which is only visible when held up against the light.


(Re-)learning the Archive

is a three-year long development project run by Designarkivet in Pukeberg with support from the Swedish Arts Council and Region Kalmar län (Kalmar County Council).

Christina Zetterlund
Project Manager

Maija Zetterlund
Project Coordinator  

In collaboration with

Virserums konsthall
Linnaeus University
Kalmar Konstmuseum

Designer in residence:
Evelina Mohei
Design and webb:
Mika Kastner Johnson

With support from 

Region kalmar läns logotyp
Kulturrådets logotyp