The Nordic architecture fair was arranged for the first time in November 2017, and is the only architecture fair in the Nordics. Industry players ranging from architects and urban planners to contractors and suppliers gathered at the Swedish Exhibition & Congress Centre in Gothenburg.

The Green Cities organisation had a pavilion inside the fair. They showcased climate-smart, innovative and sustainable solutions in the industry. Construction in the cities is on the increase all the time and it´s easy to think that the land area the buildings take up disappears, but their roofs have equally large surfaces. Green Cities presented a way of making use of the surfaces, namely by using cultivation to create green roofs. Having vegetation on the roofs reduces run-off by up to 50 per cent and relieves the strain on a city’s surface water drains. Moreover, our biological diversity increases when insects also have a place in the city.

”This is a trend we feel is very good for the environment, especially now that our cities are undergoing densification. We were involved in a project with a similar concept way back in 1982-1983. It was at the Tomteboda Mail Terminal in Stockholm, where architect Gustaf Rosenberg was an early pioneer and designed green spaces on the roof. We laid terrazzo surfaces as floors, complemented with vegetation and sculptures,” says Anders Carlehed from Herrljunga Terrazzo. “The artist we worked with there was P-O Ultvedt”.

Adapting roofs for social activities as a means of exploiting a city’s surfaces was also discussed at the fair. The company Nola feels these places are perfect for getting out of the office, bringing along your computer and continuing to work in the sunshine, and at the fair they presented their new concept “The Outdoor Office”. Creating space in outdoor settings is also a trend that has grown in recent years, and the company Smekab Citylab calls its concept “Be Urban Friendly.” They seek to help people feel at home in urban environments and make use of different types of seating that are often illuminated to create a sense of security. One feature from Smekab Citylab that we’ll certainly see more of are the USB ports in the furniture that will allow people to charge their phones outdoors.

Cado is a company that works with playgrounds and the big trend for them is mobility. Demand for mobile playgrounds that can be moved, adjusted, redone, renewed, complemented and taken away is on the increase. The playgrounds must be flexible, and we want to be able to take advantage of the physical location in different ways at different times.

Companies at the Nordic Architecture Fair presented a wide range of materials, each with different properties. In wood, we saw that the trend has gone from the grizzled colours we had previously happily chosen, to wood treated in a way that gives it more of a yellow tone. Today they are looking for the feel of new, fresh material. Slate also appeared on the show in various contexts. It’s a material that has enjoyed an upswing in recent years and is one of the materials with the lowest carbon emissions. This makes slate a good choice for the environment.

Anton Lundell represented Herrljunga Terrazzo at the fair.

””We note that the trend is away from the black, grey and white that have been popular in terrazzo for a long time. Visitors to our booth now demand more colourful terrazzo and asked us about opportunities to add more colour to the material. Venezia terrazzo is another growing trend that many showed an interest in, says Anton Lundell.

Venezia uses larger stones than conventional terrazzo and the gaps are filled with regular terrazzo. It creates a sense of mosaic and often uses marble or limestone for the larger stones.

“We also noted that visitors are aware of sustainability and environmental issues. Many were curious to see the materials we are able to work with, and if it’s possible to crush any kind of stone for use in terrazzo. Recycling different types of stone is something we find exciting and interesting,” says Anton Lundell.

Summing up, we can say that common focuses among the exhibitors at the Nordic Architecture Fair were sustainability and alternative solutions that have less impact on the environment than today. Everything from ensuring that products and materials created have minimal impact on the environment, to their having long lifespans and preferably being recyclable. This trend is one we’re truly comfortable with at Herrljunga Terrazzo. We work with a material with traditions that stretch back 2,000 years and whose predecessors from this epoch can still be found in places like Rome. Talk about durable!