It is fascinating to think how Scandinavia – such a small geographic region – has had such a strong influence on design, starting in the middle of the 20th century and continuing into the present day, globally. Scandinavian design is known for combining simplicity, craftsmanship, elegant functionality and quality materials. Sophistication is present in its details and its furniture is characterized by well-studied dimensions, economy of materials and the lack of information overload. In fact, there is even a Danish and Swedish term that defines this philosophy: “hygge” refers to the coziness that provides a feeling of well being and contentment. But how can we incorporate some lessons from Scandinavian design so that our interior projects can become more cozy and comfortable?
If we think that “less is more”, then ideally our objects can fulfill as many functions as possible. This is very present in Scandinavian design. Whether it’s simple armchairs that rotate, facilitating different types of interactions, mobile lamps that create multiple atmospheres or even modular sofas that provide different possibilities of use, with one piece allowing people to look in different directions while sitting. Modularity and functionality play a key role in making environments more flexible and capable of receiving different functions and uses. For example, the Chiva coffee table offers a hidden storage solution along with a lifting mechanism for the thin table tops to provide a better height for use.
Light Matters, whether Natural or Artificial
In Scandinavia, the angle of inclination of the sun is low due to its high latitude. This gives the region, especially in summer, a soft, washed light, more white, often copied in filters for photographs and videos. Buildings, in turn, are known for making the best use of this natural lighting, with large window openings and skylights. It is impossible to replace the warmth and brightness that an environment with good natural lighting has, and the way it interacts with objects and materials. Taking advantage of natural lighting whenever possible will improve your interiors, but for the nighttime, artificial lighting also plays a fundamental role, providing coziness and calm to interiors. For the result to be as satisfactory as possible, it is essential that the lighting is well thought out and calculated. Warmer lights, indirect lighting and luminaires scattered throughout the environment are useful in creating a pleasant atmosphere in interiors.
Natural Materials are Unique
Although there are several existing technologies used to replicate the aesthetics and even the texture of natural materials, it is very difficult to compete with the particularities of a piece of solid wood or even an oxidized steel sheet. Incorporating natural or exposed materials whenever possible gives the space personality and more complex textures.
The Power of Colors
Sober colors often dominate Scandinavian design color palettes. But that’s not to say there isn’t room for more open and fun color contrasts. Balance is the key to a good result. Another striking component is the bold use of dark colors. By absorbing more light, black or other dark tones bring warmth and, at the same time, sophistication to a space. Sobriety of finishes and texture contrasts Anyone who thinks Scandinavian design is synonymous with coldness is wrong. The careful treatment of each of the surfaces present in a project makes a significant difference in how people will feel in the environment. Blending natural textures like leather and cotton with metal, for example, can create sophistication and a pleasant contrast. Rugs and rough textures can bring more warmth and comfort to homes but even to public interiors, such as shops or airports.
Any Style as long as it is Yours
Versatility defines what Scandinavian-inspired interiors are all about. It is possible to use the same pieces of furniture to create countless possibilities of interiors, changing finishes and combining other surfaces and furniture arrangements. The sobriety of most of the pieces allows the designer to play around, also including other items with bolder designs or different textures.
Ibstac Architects & Planners