Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Lagom design a la Sverige

Interesting article in Newsweek about Swedish design ('That Practical Magic') and how it strives for:

"Sweden's penchant for practical innovation stems in part from its geography. "Resources and materials are hard to come by in the woods of rural Sweden," says Janice Simonsen, IKEA's design spokesperson for the U.S. So Swedes are careful to make full and efficient use of the materials they've got: birch, pine, cotton, and felt."

"The high-concept design culture is also rooted in the country's socialist ideology. Swedes have an overarching belief in equality, and deep sympathy for the underdog. Minimalism and practicality are virtues, and there is no shame in having the same couch as everyone else on the block."

What do you think, blog readers?


EH said...

I read the article and I don´t understand it at all. She must mean that resources and material WERE hard to come by. It´s certainly not that way today. And most people I know go for the minimalistic white and open area. But it soon looks untidy, anything left draws attention. I´m not anything like that, I like wood and old dark furniture and colors. I´m not the average swede.. :)

RosaMilton said...

And I find the common swedish interpretation of minimalism boring! Nothing happens, nothing personal, it's more like a hotelroom, anyone or can live an appartement furnished like that.

LS said...

I think EH and RosaMilton are thinking about the all-white kitchens and bathrooms, etc. that are very popular now. I am not sure that is what the author meant. Compare instead to overly ornate and flowery American-style living rooms with big flower-patterned sofas and an overload of shapes, colors, patterns, and textures. I much rather have simpler lines and a more 'country Sweden' look. IKEA is a huge phenomenom here and very different from the regular American furniture store.

But EH is right - there is no lack of resources in Sweden today, and I am not sure if the Swedish simplicity and utility in design is from lack of resources or from tradition. RosaMilton, yes, sterile homes scare me too! It has to look like a real person with feelings live there.