How Scandinavian Design Took Over the World

, , , By Catherine

Praised for its timelessness, functionality and quality, design from the Nordic countries captures the heart of people around the world.

We just came across a very interesting article written by Sarah Hucal for Curbed, ‘Scandi Crush Saga‘, which we highly recommend! Find out more about this popular design movement; its history, its instigators, its essence.

“From her new home in Åre, a Swedish ski village of roughly 1,400 inhabitants, 24-year-old Elise Kubicki hatches her plan to bring contemporary Scandinavian design to the world. Born in Cincinnati, Kubicki traded a hectic career as an investment banker to join her Swedish partner and make a living out of her passion for design. In only six months she has seen success as the founder of Norsebox, a quarterly subscription-based design box that brings a curated selection of works by Nordic designers straight to subscribers’ doorsteps in the U.S. and Canada.

“There are really great things happening in design out of this region,” says Kubicki, exuding the palpable excitement of a Scandinavian design convert. She hopes the smaller items in curated packages will entice subscribers to dig deeper into the design treasures of a region she has fallen for (hint: you won’t find them in IKEA).

Founded in September, the service has 45 subscribers and also accepts individual monthly orders, which have already doubled with each shipment. Norsebox filled the void left by Scandicrush, a Nordic design box service that folded last spring after it became unable to keep up with demand.

The early success of packaging the region’s aesthetic is yet another indicator of the world’s renewed fascination with design from Denmark, Sweden, Finland, Norway, and Iceland, referred to in the design world as ‘Scandinavian’ or, more accurately, ‘Nordic’ design. (Scandinavia includes Norway, Sweden, and Denmark, but the term “Scandinavian design” is often used to describe design from Finland and Iceland as well.) While familiar works, like the chairs of Arne Jacobsen, Eero Arnio, and Alvar Aalto made popular in 1950s and 1960s, are experiencing a renaissance, a new generation of Nordic design firms are also making their way into the hearts and living rooms of design lovers all over the world.

The term “Scandinavian design” first appeared outside of the region in 1951, in the title of the Scandinavian Design for Living exhibition in Heal’s department store in London. Since then, it has often been accompanied by adjectives such as “democratic,” “functional,” “natural,” and “minimal,” in attempts to fuse a diverse potpourri of influences and tastes. In the catalogue for an exhibition of Scandinavian ceramics and glass at London’s Victoria & Albert Museum in 1989, curator Jan Opie writes that Scandinavian works typically share “craftsmanship, quality, humanity and restraint combined with a sympathetic respect for the natural materials and a concern for their ‘proper’ use by the designer and their consumer.” While myriad definitions of the style have surfaced over the years—many more ambiguous than Opie’s—the precise description is likely to vary depending on who is asked.”

Read the entire article here.


Editor: Sara Polsky
Illustration: Kaye Blegvad 



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