Quintessentially Nordic

October, 18 2012 23:00

Posted inProducts

Image: Ant by Arne Jacobsen, PK22 and PK71 by Poul Kjærholm © Republic of Fritz Hansen.


You can never have too much of a good ‘Nordic’ thing.
Nordic style is clean, without ostentation and makes use of natural materials. Good Nordic design gives the impression of being effortless, having simplicity and the absence of embellishment. Yet on close inspection, the attention to detail, precision and excellent craftsmanship is meticulous and decisive.
Unquestionably, much of Nordic furniture and product design is innovative, creative, confident yet unobtrusive, cognisant of form and function and elegant. Nordic design pieces often assume centre stage in many modern contemporary spaces, their charm and intelligent disposition enticing the user and observer to both admire and enjoy their character.

It is very easy to be consumed by Nordic design. Designers and brands of the highest calibre are numerous and include: Poul Kjærholm, Hans J. Wegner, Arne Jacobsen, Republic of Fritz Hansen, Carl Hansen & Søn, Vipp, NORM, Gubi and Søren Rose.

Each of these designers and brands champion(ed) good design that is prevailing and long-term. Quintessential design visionary’s and pioneers, their interest is not in the latest fads and trends, but rather in design that is aesthetic, restrained, honest and long-lasting.


Image: © Republic of Fritz Hansen

With Poul Kjærholm’s designs for example, there is a genuine feeling of exclusivity and pleasure. Each piece is crafted with the intention of being functional, unobtrusive and lifelong. More than this, its modern minimal aesthetic is timeless, enduring and classic. Poul Kjærholm’s vision for his furniture is far removed from today’s throwaway society – it isn’t changeable, competitive and unprincipled. Rather it is imbued with integrity, gravitas and finesse.

Poul Kjærholm designed his PK22 lounge chair in 1956. A more than worthy contender to Ludwig Mies van der Rohe’s Barcelona Chair, the PK22 is, in this writer’s opinion, the better of the two. Structurally, the PK22 exhibits exceptional simplicity and has a graceful form. It is almost sculptural in its appearance; a minimal masterpiece that is beautiful from every angle.


Image: © Republic of Fritz Hansen


Image: © Republic of Fritz Hansen

In many ways, a design such as that of the PK22 epitomises the qualities of good Nordic design. Alongside these qualities, Nordic design is distinctive, yet it is so much more than the stereotyped white sets shown in numerous design and lifestyle periodicals. Nordic design is a palette of greys, wood textures, dark blues, strong coffee, cinnamon buns, lingonberries, clear lakes, an open fire, forests, concrete and glass. It is consummate, grounded, captivating and inspiring.


Image: © Republic of Fritz Hansen