Nordic/Scandinavian Design Basics

June 07, 2021

workstation

Scandinavian design has become a worldwide sensation. This interior design approach is famous for its minimalism, functionality, and affinity to the natural world, and it provides understated elegance to both business and residential spaces. Scandinavian design arose mainly from a need for practicality, as the harsh winter climates of Northern Europe compelled those who inhabited there to prioritize utility over aesthetics.

Origin

The Scandinavian design approach developed in the early twentieth century and blossomed all through the five Nordic countries from the 1930s forward. The name Skønvirke (literally "Graceful Work") came from the Danish Selskabet for Dekorativ Kunst, who started the magazine in 1914. It became the name of a new Danish genre of arts and crafts to opposing contemporary trends like Art Nouveau – often allocated for the ruling class. In contrast, Skønvirke supported local crafts and widely available, democratic styling.

Artists like Arne Jacobsen (Denmark), Alvar Aalto (Finland), Maija Isola (Finland), and Josef Frank (Sweden) began producing their masterpieces in the 1930s, ushering in a "golden era of Scandinavian design." Their style was influenced by constructivism, functionalism, and, in some cases, surrealism. It didn't achieve international acclaim and recognition until the 1950s when they granted the Lunning Prize to great Scandinavian designers from 1951 and 1970. 

Principles

A guiding principle of Scandinavian style and design is to produce long-lasting and in tune with their surroundings. It aims to promote the art of living well by fostering a basic home setting filled with quality products and enhancing an unconstrained existence free of unnecessary consumerism.

In this aspect, it is vital for an individual because a home life that fosters a life well spent is an increasingly significant alternative to the demands of modern life and for the world because it resists excessive materialism and enhances our relationship with nature.

Scandinavian-style rooms combine textures, contrasts, and subtle hues to create a crisp, polished feel. The aesthetic also reflects the Lagom way of life. This Swedish principle focuses on the hygge idea, which comprises a comfortable, balanced sense in space. 

Hygge

The "hygge" concept is the art of making a warm, welcoming environment about you. Simple, uncomplicated design, natural textiles, earth hues nicely merge with pastels, like pink or blue, recalling sky colors. In conformance with the hygge philosophy, Scandinavian-style furnished offices are warm and cozy, influenced by soft and natural fabrics and expressive folds and accessories.

Lagom

Lagom is based on the idea of simplicity and finding satisfaction in one's things. If you'd like to add Swedish life into your routine, Lagom is an excellent starting point. The technique of "balanced living" entails examining your surroundings and determining what you genuinely require. Lagom isn't about wanting to get rid of everything in your life but rather about cutting the clutter that consumes your attention and time. Clutter isn't helpful in the office, just the same. The aim is to improve your work-life by eliminating some of the things that cause you stress and replacing them with more productivity and happiness.

Sit-stand desks are prevalent throughout Scandinavia. More than 90% of office workers use sit-stand desks in Norway, Sweden, Finland, and Denmark. Employers in Denmark are required by law to provide their workforce with the option of using a sit-stand desk. The dangers of extended sitting are becoming more widely recognized worldwide, with many smartwatches and fitness trackers now featuring built-in prompts to stand up and exercise hourly. Height-adjustable desks and chairs with fabric backrests are essential. Natural hues and elements, such as wood, influence furniture design. There is also metal, such as in the foundations of chairs or tables, but it usually is black or white; there is no place for gleaming chrome here. Monochromatic color mixtures are also becoming more popular.

Minimize

Scandinavian design adheres to the “less is more” design approach. Scandinavian residences were usually tiny in the 1950s and 1960s; thus, lavish numbers of decorative objects and embellishments were not allowed. As a result, designers eliminate decorative or unnecessary ornamentation, and storage is strategically placed.

Neutrals

When it comes to color, mimic nature's palette—think wood, earth, and stone, with splashes of brighter color. A neutral color palette is modest yet elegant and using lighter shades of wall color, and pale wood adds lightness. This background allows pieces of furniture to serve as highlights, adding interest and contrast. Choose grey blues, greenery, warm tans, neutral color versions, monochromatic color stories, and graphical and botanical prints for big blocks of accent color. Bold and bright colors are delightful infusions of enthusiasm with tiny accents.

Nature

Natural components, such as light wood, nature-inspired sculptures, indoor plants, and natural textiles and upholstery, such as linen, wool, mohair, jute, sheepskin, burlap, and more, can be used to celebrate nature as a Scandinavian design principle. In vignettes, use greenery and elements of nature. Allow natural light and sights from the outside in. Additionally, if possible, choose environmental and sustainable products.

Quality

If you don't already have high-quality, multi-purpose, or functional furniture, invest in them to maintain the Nordic history of workmanship. Scandinavian furniture, light fittings, and other functional items should be contemporary and eye-catching but not unduly excessive.

Hygge

Because Scandinavian design is influenced by the gloom and harshness of Scandinavian winters, it is critical to be cozy. Add items that remind you of warmth and comfort to boost hygge. Make your fireplace a centerpiece and gathering spot if you have one. Personalize the space with things that make you happy. Because hygge is all about comfort and ease, don't be afraid to leave throw blankets unfolded, covers scruffy, and well-loved items on display. And, while designing your space, try to incorporate relaxation areas, such as comfy chairs for reading and sipping tea.

The mix of subtle, harmonious elegance and functionality provides an environment that promotes well-being and benefits both work and rest. All of this means that, despite being stylish and widely used in interior design for many years, the Scandinavian style remains one of the leading trends, even in office space layouts.

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