Berlin & Los Angeles


Why we're still in love with Scandinavian furniture.

Furniture is important in a lot of places especially homes and offices, unless of course you do not believe in a comfortable chair after a long tiresome day. Although furniture is made all around the world Scandinavian furniture has produced some of the most iconic pieces which have remained stylish throughout the decades. When something is good, there is no need to market it, it will do all the work for you.

Let’s forget about the furniture for a second, Scandinavia is mostly cold and this might be the reason why most interiors are well done, because people spend a lot of time indoors. But is the time designers have spent indoors related to the quality of furniture they chuck from their workshops?

Aldric Speer, a Scandinavian Furniture collector, believes that there is more to the masterpieces than mediocre knowledge of design. He states that the designers in Scandinavia had a different approach; they did not, like most designers, create products they aim to sell, they made furniture aimed at a certain function, and this is how they connect with the consumers. In their efforts to make functional items, they made beautiful pieces which are in style today and are not about to go anywhere.

Scandinavian designers adopted an elegant yet minimalistic style that is unfussy and characterized with smooth sumptuous curves. The Bauhaus school is behind this style as it preached that function should forever be put above form. The designers believed that a piece of furniture should solve a number of problems and this would reduce the number of chairs you need. It is funny how most people need a wine glass, water glass and tea glass while there can be a single glass that can handle all these liquids without compromising the user’s experience. Too much about liquids, let us get back to the furniture.

Consumers are still interested and others intrigued by the level of artistic craftsmanship in Scandinavian furniture. The classic pieces have been making a major come back such as Arne Jacobsen’s Drop Chair. Records are being broken by the more rare exemplary pieces. Some of these pieces have been sold at $85,000 which is a Paavo Tynell chandelier sold in the Wright auction house in Chicago and a record £422,500 for a Finn Juhl Chieftain chair sold in 2012 in Phillips London.

It is said that between 1930 and late 1960s some of the most iconic pieces were created. Some time in 1932, Social Democrats of Sweden ascended to power and promised to better the living conditions of the people, which were quite poor back then. This resulted in building projects where new designs were invented including double glazed windows and bathrooms. The construction and the design were aimed at making everyday living better.

The struggle to better the lives of the people became a goal for everyone including designers in the region. They started designing furniture that not only portrayed how they wanted to live, but also their prowess and identity.  In short, we can say that the pieces have some politics in them and it is quite difficult to separate the two.      

Collectors indulge in high quality classic furniture pieces from Finland, Sweden and Denmark. Due to their increase in demand and their elegance, collectors and auctioneers have started dedicating special sales that feature Scandinavian furniture only.  This just shows that the prices from Scandinavia are not only fetching fat checks, but they are also becoming items of adoration to people around the world especially those with an eye and a touch for classic antiques constructed to perfection.

The most important thing that pop up when the topic about Scandinavian furniture is in discussion are the year the piece was made and the designer behind it. Just like in art and in the automobile industry, there are many designers behind classic masterpieces but only a few have names large enough to through an auction into an unexpected frenzy. This is because there is a level of craftsmanship and uniqueness in very designer’s items and while all Scandinavian furniture can pass as great, some pieces are worth the thousands of dollars they fetch in auctions. 

Different Scandinavian countries have unique items but the best designers from 1950s and 1960s are from Denmark. Ceramics from Sweden are stronger and better in quality when compared to Danish ceramics, while Finland takes the day when it comes to glass work artists. Just like there are countries that are better in vehicle manufacturing and others in producing athletes, Scandinavian countries have their own specialisms and they mostly lie in the field of designing furniture and items that are used at home.

The designers behind these pieces believed that they were not made to be adored or worshipped but to serve their purposes in a simple way. Simple items are beautiful, will not fill up spaces or be too complex to be troublesome. Scandinavian furniture might have been made for their simple use but their popularity in auctions is a sign that these masterpieces are not going out of style any time soon. They say simplicity is the ultimate sophistication and with handful of elegance the recipe only makes a furniture masterpiece. 

Written for: Divya & Victoria Group

Justin Merino