Scandinavian Design – Materials Matter
Scandinavian design has always been popular, but its design language is very compelling and timely. Every country has its own design language and in the Scandinavian countries’ sensitive approach to materials, nature – in spirit or materials – is prized. They take a serious, rigorous approach to the functionality, practicality and longevity of their products. Hence the overall style is often a pared-down, reductive aesthetic for both the materials and forms. These characteristics are what make this design style appealing.
“Design is not just what it looks like and feels like,” Steve Jobs once said. “Design is how it works.”
But great design does more than simply function well. As the British furniture designer, John Reeves stated, “Now, form follows poetry.” It is this mix of the practical and poetic that makes the design world so exciting today. Scandinavian design exemplifies the marriage of all these concepts; especially the poetic.
At the Stockholm Furniture Fair, there was an exhibit entitled, “Inside Scandinavian Design.” One of the designers had a new Fiber Chair that looked like a typical injection molded plastic chair but was actually made of a bio composite with 25% wood fibers. The result was a warm texture versus a hard plastic one. Another new chair was the December Chair, which was part of twelve designs for nature that married saddle leather – rustic, everyday practical leather – with oak. It elevated humble materials, nuanced with the elegance of simplicity, to create a poetic piece of furniture. For both of these designs, materials, or a sensitive approach to materials, mattered.