It’s hard to sum up Scandinavian design...
without resorting to words like “simple”, “minimalist” and “ergonomic”, but it can be done. Occasionally.
As you’d expect, the essence of Nordic design is as simple, minimalist and ergonomic (ahem) as the products themselves. If you pare this design tradition down to its bare bones, here’s what you’ll find.
Less really is more
Maybe it comes from centuries of carving (often literally) out a living from a sparse and sometimes unforgiving environment, but the Scandinavians are huge fans of minimalism. There’s nowhere else in the world where form and function are so closely allied. In fact, very often, you’ll find it’s form and multi-function, to make the most out of every object. Empty space is also a feature – not every room, nook and cranny has to be filled with…stuff…just…because. It’s OK to have some open spaces because in Nordic design, empty space is reframed as part of the décor and style.
Lighting and setting is as important as objects
Not only does Nordic design make the most of every piece of furniture, every object, it also makes use of the outside world and all the resources it offers for free – like light. With good lighting, a room can be transformed and in a part of the world where sunlight can sometimes be at a premium, using it cleverly is key. Big windows in south-facing walls are a must in many Scandinavian homes, but of course you may not be that far north! If you’re not, you can still inject some light into your home from the inside with lots of big lamps and candles. Be sure, though, to make each light count – it’s not just for decoration, after all.
Design for life (and use)
Anyone who’s unfamiliar with Scandinavian design and furniture might think that it’s hard, cold and unforgiving, that comfort has been sacrificed for style. This couldn’t be further from the truth as the movement developed from a need to bring comfort and happiness from everyday objects. Everything you see has been developed and designed for ease-of-use and physical, as well as emotional, comfort. No filigrees to snag your clothes on here!