A Tribute to Inspiring Scandinavian Women in Design

, , , , , , , , , , , , By Catherine


Did you know that the Nordic countries are leaders on gender equality, something that is rooted in their history, stretching back to the time of the Vikings? There is still lots to be done (not just up north, but everywhere), but I thought it was worth acknowledging these -shall I say- trailblazers.

I am dedicating this article to inspiring Scandinavian women in design. There are too many to mention in one go, but I have selected a few that I feel are shaking things up in their respective field. I am convinced we’ll hear/see more of these fierce and talented ladies in the future.

I hope you enjoy discovering them!


Photo: Pia Winther for Elle.dk

1 & 2: Ditte Reckweg and Jelena Schou Nordentoft

They are the designers and founders of the amazing design shop Stilleben in Copenhagen, Denmark, which I love. They curate a fantastic assortment of the latest home accessories, ceramics, textiles, accessories, jewelry and graphic prints by Danish and international designers. Both women also studied ceramics and glass design, and they are the creative minds behind the distinctive Omaggio series for Kähler, among others. They also recently opened a ceramics factory for their line of tableware. Looking for cool design to bring back home? Stilleben is a total must in your itinerary around the Danish capital city.



Photo: Riikka Kantinkoski

3: Nina Bruun

Nina is a Copenhagen-based designer and the CEO of Nina Bruun Creative Consultancy, and she has become leading source on interior trends, colour knowledge and design forecasting. She also helps build visual identities for both Danish and international companies. A graduate from the Royal Danish Academy of Design, Nina is an accomplished designer whose work has earned her a Red Dot Design Award.



Photo: Residence 

4: Hanna Nova Beatrice

At the helm of one of the best magazines in Scandinavia (and my favorite), Hanna is the Editor in chief at Residence. She has a great influence on the design scene, particularly in regard to the organisation of the Stockholm Design Week. She has a nice sense of aesthetic, only curating the cream of the crop to showcase in her publication. Hanna knows where it’s at.



Photo: Danish TM

5: Signe Byrdal Terenziani

What started as a small local event three years ago very quickly turned into a leading event on the global design calendar, and attracting journalists, buyers and design enthusiasts from around the world: 3daysofdesign, held in spring in Copenhagen, showcases the talent of emerging designers as well as exhibitions with iconic masters. Signe Byrdal Terenziani is the managing director of the event, as well as its driving force. She is moved by her desire to create a greater community among the design industry -a refreshing take on such event- and it is truly what sets 3daysofdesign apart. She orchestrates happenings around town at showrooms, stores, museums, galleries, and other creative spaces, with over 90 participating brands. Signe is a total #girlboss.



Photo: Sophie Bille Brahe

6: Sophie Bille Brahe

Danish goldsmith Sophie Bille Brahe studied in London and trained in Copenhagen. She launched her eponymous label in 2011, with minimal yet striking and avant-garde jewellery, all made by hand using traditional techniques. She if often inspired by the night sky, possibly something she’s got in her genes; Sophie is the great-great-great granddaughter of famous astronomer Tycho Brahe (hint: He discovered Cassiopeia). Her clean and classic aesthetic is timeless, true to her Scandinavian heritage. Named “the city’s coolest jewelry designer” by Vogue, she was approached last year by Georg Jensen for a special collaboration, resulting in a gorgeous 19-piece Halo collection.



Photo: Danielle Siggerud

7: Danielle Siggerud

If her name rings a bell, it’s because she has been featured on Nordic Design before – Her home is simply stunning! The young architect is a true rising star, and understandably so. She has strong architectural sensibility combined with a careful consideration for craftsmanship, simplicity and timelessness. And elegance is her middle name! Originally from Oslo, Danielle Siggerud has been living in Copenhagen for the last 10 years, where she studied at the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts before interning with John Pawson in London. She recently designed the Menu café, and she also created the Androgyne table (on my wish list), possibly a future Scandinavian icon!



And a few more honorable mentions (including creative artists and cultural champions):


Lotta Agaton, a stylist and interior designer extraordinaire, and one of the persons I admire the most in this industry;

Sundling Kickén, a fast-rising duo of interior designers consisting of Elin Kickén and Evalotta Sundling;

– Anne Katrine Riis, founder of Oak Journal;

– Hazel Evans & Marie Abildhauge Olesen, the two women in the trifecta behind Mad About Copenhagen. What started with an Instagram account all about food and people of the Danish capital city is now a book, guides and events for foodies;

Line Klein, a skilled photographer that truly knows how to capture the light beautifully;

Yvonne Koné, a fashion designer who combines her Scandinavian and African roots to create timeless shoes, bags and other accessories, all handmade by artisans in Italy. The antithesis of fast fashion;

Kristina Dam, a designer that never ceases to inspire me with her beautiful, modern products, careful attention to details and minimal yet graphic lines;

Anne Nowak, for her mystical prints;

Joanna Laajisto, for her superb sense of style. I want her to redo my entire home!

– Petra Gardefjord aka minimockspetra, a mom, content creator, founder of Betón™, for making me smile on a regular basis as I follow her and her uber cute family’s endeavours;

Rannvá Joensen, for making me want to go back to the Faroe Islands as soon as possible, with her breathtaking landscape photography;

– All these Scandinavian Instamoms;

Mette Brink Søberg, Noma’s head of research and development, she is the one in charge of coming up with never-bef0re-seen preparations and presendations of Nordic seafood. Now that’s a challenge!

– Bloggers: Caroline Birk Bahrenscheer of September Edit, Frida Ramstedt of Trendenser, Elisabeth Heier, Katerina Dima of Only Deco Love, Nikki at My Scandinavian Home, and Minna Jones, to name a few.



There are many, many inspiring women out there, am I right? Don’t hesitate to give a shout-out to one of them in the comment section below :)



Photo at top: Sofie Staunsager for Brygg Magazine



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