Scandinavian design first exploded into international consciousness in the 1950s, championing stylistic virtues of minimalism, functionality and simplicity, both inside and outside the home. It influenced the mid-century modern design movement, even extending into the industrial design of electronics and automobiles. Norway is one of the original five countries in what is often loosely labeled a “Nordic” movement, along with Sweden, Iceland, Finland and Denmark.
A natural outgrowth of the Scandinavian design elements with which it remains inextricably intertwined, Norwegian design is at once Scandinavian and its own unique, creative niche. It augments Scandinavian design’s minimalism – accentuating shapes that evoke the natural world, minimizing color and maximizing open spaces – using locally sourced materials of the highest quality, like glass, wool, wood, leather, ceramics and textiles, to bring nature indoors.
A Norwegian approach to lighting design is one that cultivates and amplifies available natural light during the fleeting daylight hours of long winters – paired with the use of elegant, simple, nonintrusive, often lamp-based lighting after dark – to target specific areas where light is needed. Norwegian design adherents tend to avoid lighting sources that fail to reflect this aesthetic – like interrogation-bright overhead fixtures, oppressive fluorescents or blinding incandescent bulbs.
Durability and Functionality
Norwegian designers prioritize both a solid build and robust functionality, pursuing superior materials quality before designing with a natural, utilitarian approach. In Norway, embracing utility and aesthetics simultaneously means affording equal priority to both, as one without the other fails to achieve a necessary and welcome balance. These powerful combinations can evoke strong, even emotional attachments to everyday items.
Together, Norwegian design’s graceful, clean lines, natural shapes and distinctive lighting achieve a practical elegance. Norwegian style relies less on luxury products or consumption, embracing instead the healthy, simple elegance that demonstrates the widely held Norwegian view that elegant design and style can be achieved practically, with minimal effort.
Norwegians believe in embracing simple, beautiful, functionally designed items that enrich their homes and daily lives. One perfect example of all these Norwegian design elements uniting harmoniously can be found in Stressless furniture.