Edgy & Modern
The all encompassing referral to a design movement that ran from the 30s till this day. Originating from Denmark Sweden Norway Finland and Iceland. Scandinavian design is foremost known for the minimalistic and above all functional designs. One key goal, to improve and enhance ones every days lives.
- Clear cut lines, organic shapes and simple designs inspired for their form by nature.
On top of that the designs had to be affordable. This mantra found its way through social democratic beliefs that sprung out of the rebuild movement after World War II. It is not surprising to see Scandinavian design being referred to as democratic design. Accessable for the masses.
Modernism and the rise of individualism have been in addition to geographic factors the key drivers in shaping of the Scandinavian design era and ways. Cold long dark winters instigated a yearning for light and cosiness. The use of light coloured natural wood types is a characteristic of Scandinavian design. It bolsts cosiness and warm ambiance.
Designers selected functionality and aimed for modern simple and well shaped furniture instead of superfluously ornamented gigantesque style designs. Decorative items were reduced to functionality, minimalistic shaped lines and the use of high quality materials. And this really hit home in a big way! The shear increase in demand for modern furniture coincided with a decline in antiques and 19th century painting. Scandinavians always remained loyal to craftmanship also when the industrialization of the furniture industry was in full swing. Eventually also the Scandinavians embraced it but kept small pockets of craftmanship alive.
A testament to living and breathing functionalism standardisation and mass production, Acceptera! was the one word slogan of the 1930 Stockholm Exhibition. This exhibition was instrumental in establishing the dominance of functionalism in Sweden. Matter of fact on this exhibition all governing new designs from all over Scandinavia were shown. It was after the Exhibition that the term Scandinavian Design meant something to all. All, from a Swedish light wooden chair to a rosewood Danish chest complied with this terminology. Between 1954 and 1957 the exhibition also ventured to the United States and Canada which Globally boosted popularity of Scandinavian Design.
Alvar Aalto wrote, “The exhibition speaks out for joyful and spontaneous everyday life. And consistently propagates a healthy and unpretentious lifestyle based on economic realities.”
From the late 30s Scandinavian designers like Alvar Aalto (furniture, textiles), Arne Jacobsen (seating), Borge Mogensen (furniture), Hans J. Wegner (seating), Verner Panton (plastic chairs), Poul Henningsen (lamps) and Maija Isola (textile) have contributed to the initiation of the golden age of Scandinavian design.
A ‘boost’ for the continuous development of Scandinavian design was a competition for designers. This competition, the Lunning award competition, was awarded between 1951 and 1970. Every year two Scandinavian designers won and gave them a podium and Scandinavian design above all for enhanced regard.
Scandinavian design, in case you did not know this already, is not limited to furniture. Scandinavian design also found its way into industrial design such as consumer electronics and automotive.