Simply Scandinavian

Based around fives themes – minimalism and practical beauty, inside and outside, nature as inspiration, craftsmanship and industry, and playful living – ‘Simply Scandinavian’ sets out to answer the question of what makes Scandinavian design so enduring. The exhibition features furniture, textiles and interior products from Sweden, Denmark and Finland from 1945 to the present: iconic designs and undiscovered gems. Also on display is a 3D-printed seat and a series of eight textiles, created exclusively for the museum collection by Scholten & Baijings. In accordance with Scandinavian tradition, the designers took their inspiration from nature.

Scandinavian design is characterised by elegant simplicity, comfort, craftsmanship and a fascination with nature. The organically shaped Egg™ lounge chair by Arne Jacobsen and the subtle lines of Hans J. Wegner’s seating embody these qualities. Scandinavian design first attracted global attention in the 1950s after winning awards at the Milan Triennale. It went on to feature in a travelling exhibition and became popular in homes across Europe and the United States soon after.

In the ‘Swinging Sixties’, the playful interiors by Verner Panton (Denmark) and Eero Aarnio (Finland), and the colourful fabrics by the Finnish company Marimekko, reflected the spirit of pop culture. In 1970, Panton designed Visiona 2, a spectacular interior landscape that visitors to this exhibition can step inside. In the 1960s, IKEA began its triumphal march across Europe, offering well-designed and practical furniture for all.

Today, both the design classics from the 1950 and ’60s and contemporary Scandinavian design remain popular. Textile companies such as Denmark’s Kvadrat and Sweden’s Bolon also are highly regarded internationally.

Video Credits

Inga Powilleit, Mark Weemen