Scandinavian design is a design movement characterized by simplicity, minimalism and functionality that emerged in the early 20th century, and which flourished in the 1950s, in the five Nordic countries of Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden.
In 1914, the Danish Selskabet for Dekorativ Kunst (Company for Decorative Arts) launched its Skønvirke [da] (literally "Graceful Work") magazine. Its title became the name of a new Danish style of arts and crafts, to rival Art Nouveau and Jugendstil. From the 1930s, designers such as Alvar Aalto (furniture, textiles), Arne Jacobsen (chairs), Borge Mogensen (furniture), Hans J. Wegner (chairs), Verner Panton (plastic chairs), Poul Henningsen (lamps), and Maija Isola (printed textiles) helped to create a "golden age of Scandinavian design".
The Lunning Prize, awarded to outstanding Scandinavian designers between 1951 and 1970, was instrumental in making Scandinavian design a recognized commodity, and in defining its profile. In 1954, the Brooklyn Museum held its "Design in Scandinavia" exhibition, and a fashion for "Scandinavian Modern" furniture began in America. Scandinavian design is by no means limited to furniture and household goods. It has been applied to industrial design, such as of consumer electronics, mobile phones, and cars.
The concept of Scandinavian design has been the subject of scholarly debate, exhibitions and marketing agendas since the 1950s. Many emphasize the democratic design ideals that were a central theme of the movement and are reflected in the rhetoric surrounding contemporary Scandinavian and international design. Others, however, have analyzed the reception of Scandinavian design abroad, seeing in it a form of myth-making and racial politics.
Danish Design is a style of functionalistic design and architecture that was developed in mid-20th century. Influenced by the German Bauhaus school, many Danish designers used the new industrial technologies, combined with ideas of simplicity and functionalism to design buildings, furniture and household objects, many of which have become iconic and are still in use and production, such as Arne Jacobsen's 1958 Egg chair and Poul Henningsen's 1926 PH-lamps. After the Second World War, conditions in Denmark were ideally suited to success in design. The emphasis was on furniture but architecture, silver, ceramics, glass and textiles also benefitted from the trend. Denmark's late industrialisation combined with a tradition of high-quality craftsmanship formed the basis of gradual progress towards industrial production.
Further information: Swedish Centre for Architecture and Design. Swedish design is considered minimalist, with an emphasis on functionality and simple clean lines. This has applied especially to furniture. Sweden is known for traditional crafts including glass and Sami handicrafts. Swedish design was pioneered by Anders Beckman (graphics), Bruno Mathsson (furniture), Märta Måås-Fjetterström and Astrid Sampe (textile), and Sixten Sason (industrial). Organisations that promote design in Sweden are Svensk Form, the Swedish society of crafts and design, founded in 1845; the Swedish Industrial Design Foundation, known as SVID; the Swedish Arts Council; and the Swedish Centre for Architecture and Design (known as ArkDes) on the island of Skeppsholmen in Stockholm, beside the modern art museum.
Further information: Norwegian Design Council. Norwegian design has a strong minimalist aesthetic. Designed items include lamps and furniture. Qualities emphasised include durability, beauty, functionality, simplicity, and natural forms. The Norwegian Centre for Design and Architecture, "DogA", is housed in a former transformer station in Oslo. Norway holds an annual design exhibition called "100% Norway" at the London Design Fair. Prominent Norwegian designers include Hans Brattrud (Scandia Jr., Grorudstolen, the table Fagott, and the armchair Comet), Sven Ivar Dysthe(armchair 1001 from 1960, and the chair Laminette from 1964), Olav Eldøy (chair Peel, the chair Date & the chair Eight), Olav Haug, Fredrik A. Kayser (Chair “711”) and Ingmar Relling (Orbit and Siesta).