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Northern LIGHTS

The latest pieces from Denmark, Sweden, Norway and Finland reveal the Nordic design DNA is as strong as ever WORDS AND RESEARCH • MORAG BRUCE

Douglas fir floorboards, from £103.20 per sq m, Dinesen.

CLOCKWISE FROM LEFT James lamp/coat stand, £998, Ruben Lighting at Chaplins. CH33 chair in Black, £495, Hans J Wegner for Carl Hansen at Aram Store. Allas candelabra, £58.95, Iittala at Hus & Hem. Barboy trolley, £995, Verpan at Ivor Innes. Häggå 988 rug, from £328.80 per sq m, Kasthall at Sinclair Till. On The Move side table, £284, Cane-line.

It’s functional



he brilliant thing about Nordic design is that it all works – beautifully. Products just quietly get on with doing what they should do in your home. As Christian Rasmussen, head of design at Fritz Hansen, explains, ‘Our whole approach is about well-argued design solutions and a respect for the user and the materials.’ But this dedication to the cause of functionality doesn’t mean the mood is austere. Piece are created with everyday homes and regular people in mind, so they tend to have warmth, personality and adaptability. Take Swedish company Ruben Lighting’s James lamp (above right). With its slim profile, and somewhere to hang your coat and throw your keys, it’s an ideal hallway companion. Danish brand Cane-line’s indoor/outdoor On The Move table (right), meanwhile, can be picked up and carried where needed by its handle; the top then lifts off to become a tray. Fellow Dane Verpan’s Barboy (far right) – a 1963 classic by Verner Panton recently released from the archives – is like a mini butler for your living room. Its neat, moulded wood structure swings open to reveal two tables and two storage spaces. M AY 2 0 1 2


AgendaDESIGN Storage units in Burma, £6,100 for configuration shown, Peter J Lassen for Montana at Aram Store.

It’s playful


right colour, creative shapes and an upbeat mood – Nordic designers have a knack of making furniture and accessories that make us smile. That’s because enriching people’s lives is just another aspect of a product working well. Take Montana’s storage (above) and Fritz Hansen’s reinvention of the classic Series 7 chair in bolder shades (far right), which are a little bit unexpected and quirky, but still practical. There’s a narrative, too: as Finnish illustrator Klaus Haapaniemi says, ‘The soul of our design in the 21st century is in storytelling. It’s about human interaction.’ With this mix of fun and function, seemingly workaday products can become design classics. As Erik Magnussen, creator of the iconic Vacuum jug for Stelton (opposite), says, ‘Hopefully, playing is always part of the process, but it has to be serious, too. Perhaps we have a particular eye for this balance in Nordic countries.’


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DARK FAIRY TALES As well as cheery, playful brights, there’s a darker trend in Nordic design creeping in. Putte The Cat candle holder, £1,200, Klaus Haapaniemi for Monna Glass. 522 cabinet, from £7,474, Svenskt Tenn. Green Crane cushion, from £75, Klaus Haapaniemi.

CLOCKWISE FROM ABOVE Series 7 chair, £310, Arne Jacobsen at Republic Of Fritz Hansen. Omaggio bowl, £33.74, Kähler. Colour rug, £756, Scholten & Baijings for Hay; Spin stools, £243 each, Swedese; both at The Lollipop Shoppe. Vacuum jug in Aqua, £54.95, Erik Magnussen for Stelton at Ivor Innes. Gram LED desk lamp, £545, Jonas Forsman for Zero Interiors at Heal’s. Ottawa room divider/cabinet, £1,695, Karim Rashid for BoConcept at Harrods.

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AgendaDESIGN CLOCKWISE FROM LEFT HV1-04 mixer tap, £434.40, Vola. Rut wallpaper, £65 per 10m roll, Villa Harmonica by Sandberg. Pedrera PD-4 ABC table lamp, £169, Gubi. CH24 Wishbone chair, £565, Hans J Wegner for Carl Hansen at Aram Store. Cottage throw, £159, Lexington at Occa-Home. Mormor bowl, £47.75, Normann Copenhagen.


ith such a focus on clean-lined spaces, Nordic interiors have classically been about a light palette. After all, spring-bright, crisp blues and whites are just the thing to contend with long, dark winters, and uplifting, modern checks (as in Swedish brands Sandberg and Lexington, and Danish company Normann Copenhagen) are an easy-does-it pattern for everyday homes. Checks are also synonymous with historic Swedish bed-maker Hästens. As Jan Ryde, owner and director, says, ‘My father, Jack, designed the check in 1976. At the time there was a trend in Sweden for yellows and browns, so it was a brave move, but it made our beds stand out. Due to the intricate measurements used, we were able to patent the design so no other companies could copy it.’ It may be calm and cool, but pale blue created a bit of a stir when Carl Hansen revealed the new pastel versions of Hans J Wegner’s iconic Wishbone chair – an instant Livingetc favourite. Similarly iconic, Vola’s single-lever mixer now comes in pale blue – who knew a tap could be so pretty? The key is that these pared-back pieces sit very comfortably with brighter colours and quirkier designs – the overall look is informal and relaxed.

Auroria bed, from £6,970; Original pillowcases, from £34 each; Original double duvet cover, from £169; all Hästens.


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Our favourite Nordic bloggers Annaleenas Hem (annaleenas hem.blogspot. com); Emmas Designblogg (; Darling Clementine (; Design Shimmer (; Dos Family (dosfamily. com); Helt Enkelt (helt enkelthosmig.blogspot. com); Mackapär (; Rum För Två (rumfortva.

CONTACTS Aram Store (; BoConcept ( uk); Cane-line (cane-line. com); Carl Hansen & Son (; Chaplins (; Dinesen (; Gubi (gubi. com); Harrods (harrods. com); Hästens (hastens. com); Hay (hayshop. dk);Heal’s (; Hus & Hem (husandhem.; Iittala (; Ivor Innes ( uk); Kähler (kahlerdesign. com/en); Kasthall at Sinclair Till (sinclairtill.; Klaus Haapaniemi (; Lexington (; The Lollipop Shoppe (; Monna Glass (monnaglass. com); Montana (; Normann Copenhagen (; OccaHome (; Republic Of Fritz Hansen (; Ruben Lighting (rubenlighting. com); Sandberg (; Stelton (; Svenskt Tenn (; Verpan (; Vola ( For stockist details, see page 172


It’s fresh



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