The United States fell in love with Scandinavian design – and mid-century Scandinavian modern in particular – decades ago. With its artful combinations of form and function and trademark minimalist silhouettes, which often run counter to the more ornate, traditional American style, the Nordic approach drew the attention of the style elite and inspired North American-based designers like Ray and Charles Eames to create their own masterpieces.
In recent years, mid-century classics have been joined by a flood of new Scandinavian favourites. Whatever forces are responsible for the re-ignited trans-Atlantic love affair – globalization, a growing penchant for the smart, simple and sustainable, or even Oprah’s famous visit to Denmark – Scandinavian design is enjoying an American renaissance that extends far beyond the pages of the IKEA catalogue.
The American magazine Dwell offers immediate proof of the growing trend. Immensely popular with the modern design crowd, Dwell is something of an ode to Scandinavian style, promoting the Nordic design philosophy and aesthetic with features like “Hygge House” and “Fritz Hansen Stomps on Knockoffs” (you can read more about copycats here).
New York City’s Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) Store, always a good indicator of what’s hot in design, also offers up plenty of Scandinavian style, old and new. Kristian Vedel’s wildly versatile 1952 Child’s Chair and 1959 Wooden Birds are among the inventory – and it’s probably just a matter of time before Kay Bojesen’s popular wooden monkeys make the leap. Alongside the higher-end, MoMA also features pieces that Scandinavians can find at their local home decorating store, like Ole Jensen’s flexible 2002 Washing Up Bowl.
In Brooklyn, New York, a thriving shop called Scandinavian Grace gives Americans access to a high-end-to-everyday range that includes Hans J. Wegner’s Wishbone and CH25 Chairs, Da-nish Vipp’s Soap Dispensers, Boje Estermann’s collapsible strainer (proving Normann Copenhagen’s uni-versal appeal), and even the Scandinavian kitchen table staple: the Stelton Bread Bag. The shop also carries pieces by Danish design house MUUTO, whose modular Stacked Shelf System and “pop of colour” furniture have tapped into a clear desire for simple, fun innovations.
The youngest Americans are enjoying early exposure to Scandinavian style, too. As you read this, countless Americans babies are sitting on Norwegian Stokke’s Tripp Trapp chairs (though not eating rye bread just yet) or sleeping in Stokke cribs. The rocking chairs in their bedrooms also illustrate a shifting aesthetic. New parents want designs that can “retire” to their modern living room rather than the attic. So they are forgoing generic, old-style rockers in favour of edgier models like Thomas Pedersen’s Stingray Lounge Rocking chair and Ray and Charles Eames’ Molded Plastic RAR Rocker (an American design that showcases the couple’s Scandinavian design influences).
The trend extends to print and textiles, too. Finnish Marimekko, for one, has enjoyed an American revival since Sex and the City’s Carrie Bradshaw wore a Marimekko bikini, then dress. The store Crate & Barrell, a top US home décor destination that’s stocked Marimekko since the 1960s (when Jackie Kennedy famously bought a slew of Marimekko dresses) recently opened dedicated Marimekko shops within its stores.
The list of Scandinavian (master)pieces making a splash across the Atlantic goes on and, given the products’ sustainable, innovative nature, is likely to expand. We invite you to browse through our ever-changing, extensive inventory of Scandinavian best-sellers here.
Anastasya Partan, a Boston-based freelance writer, is a guest blogger for Lauritz.com. She was born in Moscow, raised in the US, and has lived in New York, Washington, DC, London, Paris, and Copenhagen. With both a corporate and creative background, she writes for international brands and explores topics related to lifestyle, culture and the arts.