The top five features of modern scandinavian style.
By Scandinavian designer furniture we don’t just mean all design emerging from Denmark, Sweden, Norway and Finland. Modern Scandinavian style refers to a precise historical moment and stylistic approach. That approach is defined by modern attitudes to furniture design that focused on beauty, function and availability. In the post-war period each of these countries were dealing with issues of social upheaval, cultural and social change and expanding populations who demanded high-quality homes and furniture.
Addressing these issues modern Scandinavian style incorporates distinctive variations from each region, but there are also core shared traits and attitudes. It relies on low-cost, sustainable materials, technical innovation and balanced, deceptively simple aesthetics. Organic forms influenced by nature and sculpture were combined with the ideal of mass-production and high-quality factory manufacture.
These designs were revolutionary and they were also hugely popular successes. There were several waves of designers who identified with the movement and in recent decades there has been a critical revival of the style that has become incredibly widespread. This isn’t difficult to believe. The influence of designers such as Alvar Aalto, Hans J. Wegner or Arne Jacobsen never disappeared within design fields and their ideals for urban living have only become more relevant in the twenty-first century.
Here are the key elements of Scandinavian style and some of our favourite designs:
The most important aspect of modern Scandinavian designer furniture is the attitude towards materials. Craftsmanship, strength and sustainability were key, so wood is the dominant material. Wood was not only widely available in post-war Scandinavia, but offered the natural and organic forms the designers were after. It allowed for easy construction so products could be transported easily and a range of grains for colour variation. The finest woods were often paired with bold cashmere upholstery, such as in Arne Jacobsen’s work. Wood offered the designers an exciting and versatile material, but is also connected to their belief in careful craft and the patient art of carpentry.
Neutral Colour Scheme
Winter, and sometimes summer, can be very dark across Scandinavia. To make the most of the light, Scandinavian style always emphasises white tones and simple colour schemes. Pure white lets the light in and matches warm wooden floors perfectly. Finn Juhl was particularly fond of using primary colours matched to golden wood tones. Cooler, muted colours are used to create brightness, but also versatility in a decor. Neutral hues such as grey can create a calm and distinctive feel whilst extending natural light as long as possible.
However white you paint your space those dark winters will inevitably catch up with it. So Scandinavian style also excelled in designing sophisticated lamps and lighting solutions to keep things bright. Alvar Aalto, Greta Grossman and Poul Henningsen set the Scandinavian mood by designing beautiful lamps which embodied the ideas of modern mid-century design and the unique features of Scandinavian style. These elegant lamps provide a glare-free glow that matches the white colours and make stunning focal points for a stylish interior. The light is never intrusive, but subtly enhances a decor and sets the mood.
One of the most distinctive features of Scandinavian modern style is clean geometry. Parallel forms, straight edged finishing and minimal detailing are all combined. Clutter or excess was all rejected to create precise silhouettes. The complexity of the designs and the demanding manufacturing processes involved are concealed by what at first looks like formal simplicity. For example, in Hans J. Wegner’s chairs formal balance is combined with exact angles and uncluttered joinery to lovely effect. This is also why Scandinavian style incorporates so many storage solutions; beautiful furniture needs to be kept clear and minimal.
Modern Scandinavian Style
Arguably the greatest aspect of Scandinavian style is accessibility. These designs were meant to be experienced by all and they were meant to be affordable. High-quality construction and materials were always matched with the lowest possible prices. These pieces were designed for the people and to address the needs of the masses, whilst looking unforgettable as well. They were designed to be appreciated by all. With us these striking pieces of mid-century furniture can once again brighten up your home.
Functional And Versatile
Although formal and aesthetic issues are very important in Scandinavian style, function and purpose is always considered equally. The pieces must be versatile, comfortable and tough enough to be passed through different generations and uses. They were designed to be directly related to the demands of the Scandinavian home, but also timeless designs that will last far into the future.