There is more to Scandinavian design than Ikea and Lego. Known for its clean lines and innovation, Scandinavian interior design has progressed from the modernist movement, incorporating the colour pallets from the traditional folk interiors.
The fundamental style is based on a neutral colour scheme, most often white, with walls, floors, furniture and even some of the soft furnishings in this light colour. It maximises the light in these northern countries who know to make the most of the natural light when they have it. Natural wooden furniture is sometimes added, though this can also be painted white and then bright colour accents such as folksy red are added. For a more modern look you can update this look by introducing splashes of hot pink or vibrant orange instead of traditional red.
The innovative design of Scandinavian style furniture is based on function, a pared-down elegance and often an organic shape. Championed by architects turned furniture designers such as Arne Jacobson, Alvar Aalto, Poul Henningsen and interior designer Verner Panton, these pieces proved to be both fashionable and practical making them modern design classics.
“We should work for simple, good, undecorated things,” said Alvar Aalto, “but things which are in harmony with the human being and organically suited to the little man in the street.”
Some fantastic statement furniture pieces have been designed by Finnish and Danish architects turned furniture designers. Arne Jacobson’s Egg and Swan chairs are design classics but were slightly degraded when estate agents Foxton’s put copies of them in every High Street office. His Series 7 chair was made famous when Christine Keeler was photographed straddling it to hide her nakedness for photographer Lewis Morley. It is a pose that has been much copied and also made the chair itself popular in homes up and down the country.
Another innovative architect turned furniture designer was Fin Earo Aarnio. His ball chair has been used in many a photoshoot and I have a personal hankering for his acrylic bubble chair that is hung from the ceiling. Both were designed in the 1960s but are still cutting edge modern design pieces today.
Danish interior designer Verner Panton also produced futuristic furniture that has stood the test of time. The Panton S chair designed in 1960 is still hugely popular today.
After living in Denmark, one thing I had to take with me was the ubiquitous Norm 69 light fitting. An award-winning design by Simon Karkov it was conceived in 1969 and is made up of 69 pieces. As you look into flats across Copenhagen you spot one of these in around 75 per cent of rooms I found. Another lighting classic, though a lot more expensive, is the artichoke lamp by Danish designer Poul Henningsen.
So clear out that clutter and fill your space with statement pieces for a modern design look that will last a lifetime.
[picture credits: ooh_food; Banalities; Arachide; shopnines]