Soft and gentle colours, clear shapes, natural materials – these are probably the most important stylistic elements of Nordic design that have won the hearts of design enthusiasts all over the world. The trend towards subtly understated furniture that is as close to nature as possible remains unbroken – so it comes as no surprise that in addition to brands like Fritz Hansen, Muuto and String Furniture, the imm cologne international interiors show will also serve as a platform for first-time exhibitors such as the design labels Normann Copenhagen, Swedese and Northern.
Even before IKEA, Swedish furniture had already found its way into German living rooms. In the 1950s, a very unique modernist design language had emerged in Scandanivia. The idea was to make simply designed functional furniture that everyone could afford. The Swedese furniture company founded in Vaggeryd in southern Sweden in 1945 is rooted in this tradition. Yngve Ekström, one of the company’s founders, together with the Finn Alvar Aalto and the Dane Arne Jacobsen, was among those designers who made the Scandinavian aesthetic famous all over the world. Introduced internationally as an innovation in 1956, the Lamino easy chair from Swedese wrote design history and is still produced in Sweden today.
Besides Arne Jacobsen, other furniture designers that come to mind when thinking about Danish design are Hans Wegner or Børge Mogensen, to name just a couple.
Danish furniture and home accessories are simple and flexible all-rounders with high design and material standards. This is precisely what Jan Andersen and Poul Madsen set out to do when they founded the Normann Copenhagen brand eleven years ago. The product range includes a wide and continuously growing collection of furniture, lighting, textiles and home accessories, which have been awarded multiple design prizes. The Danes celebrated their first big success shortly after starting the company with a new edition of the “Norm 69” pendant lamp designed by Simon Karkov. Since then, there have been many successful cooperations, which also include the project business such as the new lounge area located in Terminal 2 of Copenhagen Airport.
Even though Norway has not had as many prominent representatives of design in the past compared to its neighbours, the contemporary Norwegian design scene should by no means be neglected. The Stressless chair by Jens Ekornes is one example, but it is much more than that as shown by the young Northern brand. Starting out as a producer of designer luminaires, the label expanded its collection in 2018 to include furniture and home accessories. Northern stands for Norwegian design that blends tradition and creativity. The predominantly natural materials represent closeness to nature, concern for the environment, sustainability and social commitment. One example is the “Heat” lamp produced in partnership with Swedish designer Johanna Forsberg and a Norwegian development agency. The aim of the social project is to give asylum seekers and migrants the opportunity to work and receive training.
The October 2018 study “Living in Germany” by the Association of German Furniture Industry clearly showed that Scandinavian furniture is especially popular among Germans. For almost one-fifth of Germans, beautiful furniture is automatically synonymous with Scandinavia. A love that will be around for a long time.