The Newfound Popularity of Scandinavian Design

Hernesaari, Helsinki

Scandinavian design has become a standard in many modern households due to the rising popularity of the green movement as well as the simplicity it presents to a complicated world. This new trend first emerged to the world in the 1950s and has only recently become a staple of modern simplicity. It has since come to represent a new world order of a unique simplicity which combines both form and function in a new “artistic” movement.

The new Scandinavian designs have come to replicate earlier twentieth century art movements, such as the German Bauhaus movement which incorporated much of the same values. These artists reduced previous movements to the bare minimum, attempting to create a new utopian sense of harmony and order during the early twentieth century. The absence of ornamentation was the most prominent feature of this specific school of art design and the artists instead turned to functional and rational building. This entailed a denunciation of many other art forms of the time which were seen as too “cluttered” such as the previous Romanesque building styles which became a pre-WWI style, with a new post-war style evident in the Bauhaus. The new mass-produced consumerism of the time led to an era of cheap and functional consumer goods which is what the Bauhaus school strived to capture in their work, relying on the simplicity of nature. The Bauhaus school attempted to combine art, craft, and technology through their works and thus led Germany into a modern world art order. Modern Scandinavian design is similar to this earlier Bauhaus culture because of the way in which they strive to make their work solely about the form and harmonious order, rather than ornamentation and decoration.

This simplistic way of life has become ever abundant in a world where so much of our lives lack the ease with which these designs represent. The boom in Scandinavian design in the past decade is largely due to the new global world order which promotes the combination of many different international cultures and the meshing together of various traditions. This has since led to the incorporation of many foreign designs into many countries such as the United States which is forever on the lookout for new realms of simplicity. The additional popularity of stores such as IKEA has led American culture to assimilate toward this new simplistic realm of design, with almost every household containing some IKEA furniture or decorations. IKEA has particularly helped in introducing American society to the new eco-friendly movement: using cloth bags at the checkout counter or no bags at all and the use of environmentally friendly materials. These newfound designs have already become mainstream in Western society and have helped in promoting the “Green” movement across the ocean, which will inevitably help preserve our future environment.

This post was contributed by Tiffany Davis, who writes about She welcomes your feedback at TiffanyMDavis82 at

2 thoughts on “The Newfound Popularity of Scandinavian Design”

  1. It’s true, Ikea helped a lot. For example in my french shop, I can sell Marimekko’s product to french people thanks to Ikea, who used them to see and love minimalist lignes and bright colors. 10 or 15 years before, it would have been impossible.

  2. Great post! I agree that its the simplicity and function of Scandinavian designs that now appeals to so many North Americans. Not to mention the fact that Scandinavian designs have longevity in regards to both quality and style. Also, the fact that many mid-century pieces are getting reused makes Scandinavian design “green” as well.

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