When one thinks of Swedish design, it is tempting to be simplistic and think only in terms of Ikea!
Without a doubt the brand has revolutionized the world of design and its accessibility for the man in the street. But what is it about the design elements that reflect the very recognizable Swedish hallmark? Certainly, there is a minimalistic approach that runs throughout the modern design, be it in styles of architecture or furniture. Swedish designers have led the way in producing beautiful buildings and objects that show an understanding of form and function and succeed in developing beauty in a seemingly effortless way. The Nordic environment breeds an appreciation for the beauty of natural elements and the importance of light as it interacts with the surroundings. The use of natural materials is very key in much of the design that we see from this region and that has translated to the style of furniture and interiors around the world.
Materials in the Modern Age
Swedish design and lifestyle very much reflects the quality of life established there with an emphasis on clean lines and natural materials. The use of sustainable wood to produce elegant and functional design is a trademark of many native designers as is the attention of functionality and comfort combined to produce some of the most enduring styles of furniture seen worldwide. Swedish design has long demonstrated how things of beauty do not have to be represented in excess and this has resonated with many designers and movements in design around the world. Relative isolation in a geographical sense created a discipline in early craftsmen that helped the evolution of the typical simplicity of style we associate with the region. Their equally fastidious and efficient use of naturally sourced materials led to design models that could be accessed by all. In the beginning of the 20th century the effect of these design concepts could be seen throughout a number of disciplines none more so then architecture. The Söndra Ängby residential neighborhood in Sweden was an innovation of design and construction that completely reflected the move in social reform that aimed to give quality functional housing to all. Today that neighborhood stands as a national heritage site and set the way for a continued determination to bring enrichment to people through the everyday things of their lives.
The history of design and construction of buildings and artifacts has been ever changing. The simple yet relentless attention to detail and intent has been an over-riding feature of Swedish design and construction be it in the world of interior design or architecture. Worldwide we see the influence of this with the clean and functional furniture and beautiful use of natural materials. We have also been enlightened as to the less is more philosophy when it comes to design and even something as simple as the use of color or lack thereof! From buildings and furniture to fashion the Swedish aesthetic is a force that extends around the globe.