We’re going all Nordic this month with the top tier event Stockholm Design Week and its attendant trade fairs Stockholm Furniture Fair and Northern Light Fair. Staying in Northern Europe, make sure you pop over to the FutureEverything Festival, a two-day conference on design and making in the UK, and the major contemporary art events Art Rotterdam Week and ARCOmadrid.

Architecture and building

VSK 2016 (2-5 February) is the Netherlands’ most important trade show for the installation sector featuring latest systems, techniques and products in the areas of heating, plumbing, climate and refrigeration technology.

Renewables seem to be the building theme of the month with Dach & Holz, Stuttgart, Germany (2-5 February) is all about modern wooden architecture and its technical, economical and design possibilities. Six top European architects will talk about their current wooden construction building projects at architecture forum holz3 Superwood. The specialist fairs Drevostavby in Prague (4-7 February) and Legno & Edilizia (19-22 February) in Verona, Italy also focus on the use of wood in building and construction. Even more specialist is Progetto Fuoco in Verona (24-28 February) focused on wood fire heating solutions.

The big Berlin-based fair Bautec (16-19 February) attracts more than 40,000 international trade and private visitors and private investors interested in building and modernization. The focus of interest is energy-saving and intelligent systems both externally and internally, climate protection measures and the use of state-of-the art building materials and methods.

Construction and housing fairs Bauen+ Wohnen in Salzburg, Austria (11-14 February) and Haus in Dresden, Germany (25-28 February) both have a strong focus on renovating, energy and renewables.

Batibouw (23 February-6 March) is Belgium’s biggest construction, renovation and residential trade fair, and opens with two days solely for trade. The emphasis this year is on energy and lifestyle.

Art and antiques

Art Rotterdam Week (10-14 February) deliberately situates itself as an alternative to the large international art fairs featuring many of the same galleries and dealers, and aims to promote young art. Look out for a section with non-profit spaces and artists initiatives plus museum exhibitions, side fairs, open studios and pop-up shows.

In London the Works on Paper Fair (11-14 February) continues to highlight watercolours, drawings, photography and prints. The modern and contemporary art fair Arte Genova (12-15 February) is in its 12th edition, with an emerging artists section, Art Talent Show, talks, walks, workshops and more. Look out for a new dedicated space for short films. Art Karlsruhe (18-21 February) offers 211 galleries from 13 countries in four thematically organized exhibition halls: painting, sculpture, edition art and photography.

Spanish contemporary show ARCOmadrid (24-28 February) is celebrating its 35th year and features 202 galleries from 30 different countries in this major, artist-focused contemporary art expo. ArtMadrid, which runs at the same time, is in its 11th year, featuring a healthy mix of contemporary, emerging and avant-garde national and international art galleries and a strong site-specific installation project.

Art Up!, Lille, France’s contemporary art fair (25-28 February) features a range of galleries and artists plus talks on contemporary topics and ‘meet the artist’ evenings.

There are three important antiques fairs: Design Icons Amsterdam (13-14 February) features 60 dealers from around Europe offering a variety of design pieces from 1930s-1980s. Antikmässan, the Stockholm International Antiques Fair (12-15 February), has 250 exhibitors with antiques, vintage/modern design, fine arts and collectibles plus inspirational exhibitions, experts, authors and trend analysts on hand. Modenantiquaria in Modena, Italy (13-21 February) is the country’s oldest and most popular high-end antiques fair. Look out for specialist areas Petra, offering statuary for the garden, and Excelsior focusing on 19th century painting.

Interiors and design 

The big design event of February is Stockholm Design Week (8-14 February) featuring events and installations all over the Swedish capital, plus the major, innovative Stockholm Furniture Fair and the Northern Light Fair (both 9-13 February), the world’s largest meeting place for Scandinavian furniture and lighting. As always expect a creative programme of walks, talks, meet ups, studio visits and demos.

Not far behind in terms of relevance is Munich Creative Business Week (20-28 February), a design week in all but name. Studios and free exhibitions open across Munich to connect designers and brands and showcase work to the public plus, like Stockholm, expect events, workshops, tours discussions and more.

There are a fair number of design fairs. The always popular Feria Habitat Valencia in Valencia, Spain (1-5 February) hosts 600 exhibitors and covers interior design, architecture and decoration. It coincides with the FIAM lighting fair, one of Europe’s big lighting expos. The big, biannual Nordic style fair Formland in Copenhagen, Denmark (4-7 February) features a range of products divided into Interior, Bloom, Food, Light, Tabletop and Upcoming.

The Surface Design Show London (9-11 February) attracts over 100 companies showcasing pioneering natural stone, wood, tiles, recyclable materials, metal, living materials, paint, illuminated surfaces and coatings that can be used as flooring, cladding, ceiling, wall coverings and more.

Arena Design (8-11 February) in Poznan, Poland is a major design conference and expo giving designers, producers, traders and students the chance to present and discover the latest design achievements, with the presentation of the Top Design Award 2015. It runs concurrently with the country’s biggest furniture fair, Meble Polska and the interiors show Home Décor. Other interior design fairs include Zow 2015 (16-19 February) a trade fair in Bad Salzuflen, Germany, for suppliers to furniture and interior design industries. UNICERA Istanbul (23-27 February) is an international ceramic bathroom and kitchen fair.

Exhibitions and events

Mayoral at 6 Duke Street, St James’s, London

Marking 60 years since Joan Miró’s studio was founded in Mallorca in 1956, Barcelona-based gallery Mayoral presents an immersive London exhibition recreating Miró’s atelier. Miró’s studio (to 12 February) is curated by Elvira Cámara, and produced in collaboration with historian Joan Punyet Miró, the artist’s grandson. The studio in Majorca was a refuge for Miró and he worked there for 25 years until his death in 1983. The studio was designed by Miró’s close friend, architect Josep Lluís Sert, who would design the Miró Foundation in Barcelona 20 years later.

The destruction of cities, whether manmade or natural, can present unique opportunities to radically rethink townscapes. The exhibition Creation from Catastrophe: How Architecture rebuilds Communities at the Architecture Gallery, RIBA, London (to 24 April) explores the varying ways cities and communities have been re-imagined in the aftermath of disasters using examples from London after the Great Fire of 1666, 18th century Lisbon, 19th century Chicago, 20th century Skopje and ending in current day Nepal, Nigeria, Japan, Chile, Pakistan and USA. It considers the evolving relationship between man, architecture and nature and asks whether we are now facing a paradigm shift in how we live and build in the 21st century.

Another architectural exhibition, Mavericks: Breaking the Mould of British Architecture at the Royal Academy of Arts, London (to 20 April) charts the course of British architecture through 12 maverick architects: Smythson, Vanbrugh, Wyatt, Soane, Cockerell, Mackintosh, Holden, Goodhart-Rendel, Stirling, Price, Hadid and some personal favourites of ours: FAT. Maverick architects are a rare breed: beholden to clients and physical constraints, trult visionary architects run the risk of never working. So those who do, who break the mould of British architecture, are special indeed. This show celebrates the original and the unorthodox and asks us to question what we think we know about the course of British architecture.

Every five years, the British Art Show, organised by Hayward Touring, provides a vital overview of the most exciting contemporary art being produced in the UK in the last five years: 42 artists whose practices span sculpture, painting, installation, drawing, film, video and performance. The exhibition will travel to Edinburgh, Norwich and Southampton over the course of the year, moving from Leeds to the Scottish National Gallery of Contemporary Art, Talbot Rice Gallery and University of Edinburgh (13 February-8 May). Look out for talks, events and more.

Delacroix and the Rise of Modern Art at the National Gallery, London (17 February-22 May) is the first major presentation of Delacroix’s art in Britain for more than 50 years. The show surveys his dynamic career and then moves beyond it, to assess for the first time the influence he exerted following his death, until the early years of the 20th century.

2016 marks the 100th anniversary of Dada, and the city of Zurich is celebrating in style. The hugely influential movement stands for the radical experiment to reduce to absurdity tried-and-tested concepts and values. The Jubilee Dada 100 celebrations centre around the Cabaret Voltaire, where the art movement was born but look out for major shows all over the city and further afield. The Kunsthaus will show 200 works of art that artists from all over Europe sent to Tristan Tzara, one of the Dada founders while Museum Rietberg is showing Dada Africa examining how the Dadaists were inspired by African art. Look out for events throughout the year.


The 19th-21st centuries are on show in the auction houses this month, and all major auctions are in London. Bonhams Post-War and Contemporary Art auction is on 12 February featuring Warhol, Ceroli and Rickey. On 17 February they offer Period Design with furniture and objets d’art from 19th century to 1980s.

At Christies the Impressionist and Modern sale is on 5 and 6 February offering Dali, Derain, Klee and many more and featuring paintings, works on paper and ceramics including highly anticipated pieces from Picasso. Their Post-War and Contemporary Art auction is 11-12 February: look out for Twombly, Bacon and Emin. They also have two Christies Interiors sales this month, on 17 and 24 February.

Phillips Post-War and Contemporary Art auction follows swiftly on 12-13 February, and Ai Wei Wei’s spectacular Zodiac heads are expected to fetch btween £2 and £3 million.

Sothebys contemporary art auctions are on 10-11 February with Warhol, Gormley, Richter and Doig leading the field. On 24 February the intriguing Of Royal and Noble Descent includes a variety of objects from paintings and furniture to silver and ceramics, via jewellery and objets d’art, all descending from or with a strong connection to royal and aristocratic European collections.