Scandinavian summer: furniture
Simplicity, minimalism, attention to detail and high quality – these are the elements that epitomise the beauty of Scandinavian design, and it is a style that effortlessly feels at home in both traditional and contemporary properties.
This Scandinavian style has been popularised recently with the success of TV detective shows and crime films like The Killing and Borgen from Denmark, Wallander and Stieg Larsson’s Girl with the Dragon Tattoo from Sweden, and Jo Nesbø’s Headhunters from Norway – all of which have provided a shop window into the stylish interiors and cool furniture featured in ‘Nordic Noir’.
Scandinavian style came into its own in the 1950s and came to be characterised by simplicity, minimisation and functionality, and many of those early designs quickly became furniture icons, beloved of interior designers across the world.
Justin Baddon, who runs contemporary furniture and lighting showroom Moleta Munro in London Street, believes that Scandinavian style is internationally successful because its classic clean lines are timeless and they provide a good long-term investment that rarely goes out of fashion. He said:
"The design stands out because of its use of clean lines, and the understated simplicity of the design helps to create a timeless look."
"Scandinavian design primarily deals with the person and how they interact with the product and their environment – that makes it both beautiful and functional at the same time."
Justin cites Arne Jacobson’s EGG chair from 1958 or Hans Wegner’s Wishbone chair from 1950. He added:
"The reason a lot of these designs stay in production is that they work in a range of environments. People may look at our showroom and think it only appeals to minimalists, but a lot of our customers live in very traditional homes as well as very contemporary ones."
In addition to classic pieces, Justin also sells contemporary designs and having just come back from the Stockholm Furniture and Lighting Fair – one of the largest in the world – is excited about some of the new lines being launched this year.
For example, Sweden’s Zero design house has a new floor lamp and a three-unit suspension light for its Silo range – the shape inspired by the classical silhouette of a grain silo – and the new Lightyears’ Volume table lamp which mimics the form of an old fashioned stereo volume dial.
Elements, in Hamilton Place, is another showroom which features the best of Scandinavian design. Owner Tom Melville, who also is a partner in graphic design agency Melville & Young, said:
"We don’t stock anything that isn’t well made or functional, so Scandinavian design ticks all those boxes. If you look at companies like Design House Stockholm and Menu from Denmark, everything is always beautifully made and of very high quality. They put the accent on materials and production and the design is always extremely slick - it looks like the design does not try very hard."
However, it’s not all restrained elegance as Tom describes some of the coloured glass ornaments from Kosta Boda – Sweden’s oldest glass works that was established in 1742 – as "quite outrageous".Tom said:
"Kosta Boda is the black sheep of Scandinavian design because it can be so showy and quite wild. However, it has quite a following and attracts international collectors when new pieces are launched."