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Why is Scandinavian Design So Popular?

by Danny Robertson

Scandinavian design has deeper roots than the Hygge movement that's been prominent in recent years. Scandinavian design emerged in the 1950s along with modernist movement in America and Europe. The modern Scandinavian style gives priority to sleek, democratic, and affordable interiors and furnishings. The typical features of the modernist style include a neutral color combination, clean lines, and functional furnishings. At the same time, the era’s Scandinavian design was also influenced heavily by short and cold winter days of the Nordic region and a craving for cozy and bright interiors.

Due to such practical concerns, a new layer of spare elegance emerged with a tendency for simple forms, open floor plan spaces, and lighter colors. The Nordic interior started to give priority to clutter-free spaces and walls and flooring that are pale-colored to get the maximum amount of light possible. The flexible open-plan spaces can be used for a variety of activities rather than a single function (a dining room, for example, is only used during special events), which paves the way for a much more practical design.

In Scandinavia, this modern movement was named ‘Functionalism’; the priority is for the design and architecture to be useful before anything else. Functionalism together with a very welcoming and warm kind of modernism that is inspired by nature is much more relatable and appealing to the mainstream.

Finn Juhl, Arne Jacobsen, and Hans Wegner – all famous designers of the era – used ash, birch, rosewood, and teak frequently in their furnishing, which allowed for warmth while not being too rustic or traditional. Their designs speak of an elegant pairing of sophistication and practicality that was arguably not seen in their Nordic counterparts or from other countries. Even though most of the designer’s and architect’s work is undoubtedly of 21st century, today’s designs have an innate Scandinavian implication, which puts its foremost priority on quality over quantity.

Today's attraction to Scandinavian design is due to its timeless nature, simplicity, impeccable craft, beauty, and the natural materials used that appeal to the human mind on a fundamental level. In an ever growing digital world, people continue to crave the nordic feel of sophistication with a deeply human element. 


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