Scandinavian Design is an aesthetic trend born in the northern countries, mainly Denmark, Sweden and Finland. Its scope covers furniture, lighting, decoration (tableware, fabrics, decorative objects, household linen, etc.) and personal equipment – clothing, bags and accessories.
Even if it is very diverse in its expression and has varied a lot over time, Scandinavian design relies on a constant base of values, first and foremost minimalism, functionality and durability. It ranges from mid-range to high-end, sometimes to very high-end, with the constant concern to offer a good quality/price ratio.
Scandinavian design dominated the world from the '30s to the '70s, before gradually fading into obscurity with its great tutelary figures, such as Poul Henningsen (1894-1967), Arne Jacobsen (1902-1971), Børge Mogensen (1914-1972), Alvar Aalto (1898-1976), Poul Kjærholm (1929-1980), Finn Juhl (1912-1989), Maija Isola (1927-2001) or Hans J. Wegner (1914-2007).
Today, Scandinavian design is back in the spotlight, thanks to a new generation of designers and the emergence of highly creative and successful publishers who have succeeded in keeping with the tradition of classic Scandinavian design while renewing it from top to bottom.
Scandinavia Design aims to be the world's leading retailer of Scandinavian design.
Several key factors unite the Scandinavian Design approach. A number of these have their origin in the characteristics of the Nordic environment. The northern countries are famously dark, cold and snow-covered for long months of the year, with brief, intense light-filled summers. Important areas are mountainous and heavily forested. It is therefore not surprising that many Scandinavian designs have been inspired in some sense by organic forms, materials or natural patterning.
design Mogens Kock
Carl Hansen & Søn
design Erja Hirvi
To survive in such inhospitable conditions, Scandinavian have developed a strong practical bent that makes the most out of limited resources and delivers workable solution with optimum economy. Before the modernist’ credo “form follows function” was ever coined, the useful everyday Scandinavian objects displayed such a conviction.
design Anderssen & Voll
Because industrialisation arrived late in the region, the traditional craft skills remained alive. As a result, Scandinavian modern refused to allow the machine production to supplant the instinctive handling of materials that is innate to craft. While resourcefulness and practicality give Scandinavian design its clarity, its living craft tradition root the design process in the material world and the individual artistic imagination.
design Barber & Osgerby
During the long months of darkness, Scandinavian homes had to offer psychological warmth as well as physical shelter and the notion of domestic cheer is embedded in the Scandinavian approach to design. Emotional warmth is never designed out of the picture, as it can be in the more austere reaches of the industrial inspired Bauhaus aesthetic. That warmth may be expressed in colour, pattern and texture or in organic form, but there is always a human quality to Scandinavian design, even at its most futuristic.
design Ilmari Tapiovaara
rocking chair Stingray
design Thomas Pedersen
design Hans Sandgren Jakobsen
There is also an important moral dimension, which has to do with the political and civic climate rather that the physical one. The prevailing ethos in Scandinavia has long been socially inclusive, liberal and tolerant, which has led to the shared conviction that it is the role of design to improve life for everyone, not to pander to a privileged minority. As a consequence, simple, understated, well-made products have long been preferred over conspicuous consumption of status symbols or showy grandiose effect.
design Anna Danielsson
The first golden age of Scandinavian design extends from the 1930s to the beginning of the 1970s. Its founders are called Alvar Aalto, Arne Jacobsen, Borge Mogensen, Hans J. Wegner, Verner Panton, Poul Henningsen, Maija Isola, etc.
design Pentti Rinta
design Maija Isola
design Verner Panton
These precursors have provided the model and set of values which still inspire the new scandinavian design: durability, functionality, reliability - but also less tangible values such as simplicity, equality, joy, courage, daily pleasure visible through the creations of new scandinavian brands
design Maija Isola
design Maija Isola
design Arne Jacobsen
… and many others