inspiring us: Scandinavian Design
The design world has recently been abuzz with a newfound fascination for all things Scandinavian, and in no place is this being observed more than in the fashion community. I was lucky enough to spend the summer in this region and was able to glean some insight into the culture and aesthetic of Scandinavian design. Throughout my seven-week stay in Copenhagen, I visited countless design firms and museums, excitedly filling my sketchbook until it was so thick with inspiration that the binding broke. But the things I will remember most about this invaluable trip are the small details of ordinary Danish life: the blankets resting on the backs of every chair in outdoor cafes, the sun setting at 10pm and rising at 3am, the pink rose petals sprinkled on cobblestones. As a graphic design student and intern at Polychrome, Scandinavia had a huge impact on my artistic eye, and its elements will forever be embedded in my work.
A historical and cultural region of Northern Europe, Scandinavia most commonly refers to the countries of Denmark, Norway, and Sweden, while in some cases including Finland and Iceland. These Nordic countries have largely impacted the world of design through the Scandinavian design movement, which began in the 1950s. Simple, modern, minimal, and functional, their classic “less is more” concept has long been characterized by reducing design to its most basic and practical form, eliminating unnecessary and extravagant elements while still retaining effortless beauty.
View some beautiful, timeless examples of Nordic design below:
The basis of Scandinavian design is modernism, a cultural movement that began at the end of the 19th century as an opposition to Realism and a response to the invention of photography. Scandinavian design is often referred to as democratic design because of its affordability and accessibility. Its focus on functionality is rooted in the early necessity for products to be used simply for survival purposes in this historically cold and desolate area of the world. Yet as the movement evolved, a balance was formed in which products would not only be clean and basic, but also pleasing to the eye and often inspired by nature. As the birthplace of countless impactful and impressive design and fashion brands such as IKEA, BoConcept, Marimekko, ECCO, and H&M, Scandinavia has changed the world when it comes to design, and its spare and effortless style has spread globally as well.
Explore the simple charm of Copenhagen in some of the photos from my trip:
Photos copyright @ Sydney Barton