In the 1950s, Scandinavian design came to be dominated by a completely new style. Architects and designers such as Alvar Aalto, Arne Jacobsen and Verner Panton transmuted minimalism and functionality into value-for-money mass-produced products. Countless classics issued from the pens of these creative designers, including, for instance, the famous Aalto Vase from Iittala or the Eggchair by Fritz Hansen. Later, it was Ikea that was responsible for the complete democratisation of the Nordic style. For the next Heimtextil Swedish design will also be announced.
During the 1980s and into the 1990s there was something of a collapse in the upper segment, as the world turned away and had eyes only for Italian design. Currently, however, many young designers are once again seeking to emulate those great role models and are interpreting Nordic design in new ways. Scandinavia is very much on trend, when it comes to lively ideas outside the mainstream. “The Nordic countries are seen in a very positive light by the international community: their sustainable relationship with nature, their democracies and social systems, the child-friendly culture. That opens the door for products ‘made in Scandinavia’,” says Alexander Sanner, assessing the opportunities. A former manager at Swatch, he is a great fan of Scandinavia and his agency is involved in bringing four Swedish design labels onto the German market. In addition, he runs, in Frankfurt, the only flagship store of Design House Stockholm in the area. “The items are a bit expensive, to be sure… but the customers – particularly the German ones – are happy to spend more money for products with character. I think that the Manufactum slogan ‘The good things in life still exist’ continues to be very relevant.”
And visitors will be able to feel a fresh Nordic breeze in the air at the up-coming Heimtextil. Thus, for instance, Almedahls will be one of the companies, amongst a number of others, to display the sheer variety of what they do. The company, which was founded over 150 years ago, is now one of the most important Swedish design companies. This can be seen, not only in the ‘Home Interior Decorations’ segment and in terms of sun-protection systems, but also and, perhaps above all, in the commercial and contract field. In this area, Swedish designers exhibit particular creativity and offer holistic concepts, which include everything from the carpets and furniture to innovative acoustic solutions.
No less rich in ideas is the presentation by Eco-Borastapeter in Frankfurt. They manufacture wallpaper under four different brands: ‘Cole & Son’, ‘Eco Wallpaper’, ‘Borastapeter’ and ‘Mr. Perswall’ and are able to produce anything from highly individual wall coverings to wallpaper on demand. For the ‘Mr. Perswall’ label they have created some very personal reminiscences of New York, working in a unique collaboration with photographer Tobias Guldstrand. Spread over photo wallpaper, they make for some eye-catching displays in the home.