BOOK REVIEW By Belinda Morris
MODERN SCANDINAVIAN DESIGN
By Magnus Englund, Peter Fiell and Charlotte Fiell (£60, Laurence King)
We all understand what is meant by ‘Scandinavian design’ – you probably have an image in your head now. You might define it, in a general sense, as minimal, functional, homely; you might be thinking Ikea. And if you’ve ever thrown on a cashmere sweater, lit a scented candle and snuggled up on a sofa with a steaming mug of cocoa, you might be thinking ‘hygge’.
Well, this big, fat, heavy book, tells it all as it is. For a start it defines ‘Scandinavia’ – Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Finland (design-wise since the 1950s) and, for the purposes of this comprehensive overview, Iceland. And ‘Modern’? That means 1925 to the present day in this case. Did you know that the 1925 Exposition Internationale des Arts Décoratifs et Industriels Modernes in Paris spawned the term ‘Swedish Grace’ as well as ‘Art Deco’? No, me neither. It was coined to describe a new Nordic version of Modern Neoclassicism, as seen in the event’s Swedish Pavilion.
As for ‘Design’ – that covers everything: architecture, interior design, furniture, lighting, glassware, ceramics, metalware, woodenware, plastics, textiles, jewellery and graphic design. No stone unturned, with fashion and industrial design peppered throughout. An intro sets the scene then each material is taken in turn, describing the evolution, stories of the companies and the designers, with, of course, images of the pieces that contribute to all aspects of this globally popular aesthetic.