Scandinavia..the world's hothouse of furniture design..
It often fascinates me as to why different countries have different characteristics, e.g. Ireland is known as a land of poets, songwriters, saints and scholars, dreamy, imaginative, (and curiously orange-tanned teenage girls) people....This got me thinking....How come the best of iconic 20th century design comes from (in my opinion) the Nordic countries? How come these countries were and are such a hothouse of beautiful furniture design? After all, the UK and Italy had great designers and a long tradition in both countries of immense creativity, but the amount of prolific iconic designs to come out of Scandinavia always fascinated me. On trips to Sweden and Denmark, it struck me that design is viewed as part of everyday life and that there is an attitude of respect for the integrity of an object rather than just viewing it as being "in or out" of fashion. Furniture is bought to be used everyday, not to be viewed as precious and I think that Scandinavians recognise the value in paying for quality and not merely buying a piece to follow the fashion of the day. Hence, it's furniture designers stamped their iconic 20th Century designs with a timeless quality that is easy to live with and was an antidote to the hard-edged modern severity of the Bauhaus school.
Simplicity, natural materials and soft curves are key characteristics of what is known as 'Scandinavian Modern'. Scandinavia came late to industrialization and with its strong craft tradition, it married machine production and craftwork together and combined the best features of both. Put this alongside innovative manufacturers and astute marketeers and a winning formulation was born.
Famous pioneers of Scandinavian Modern Design: Hans Wegner who designed the instantly recognisable Wishbone Chair and Elbow Chair(CH20). Other Wegner design classics include the Wingback Chair, The Teddybear Chair, and The Ox Chair.
- Verner Panton, designer of the Cone Chair and the Panton Chair
- Eero Saarinen, designer of the Tulip Chair and the Womb Chair