What is Scandinavian minimalism?
Posted on March 15 2020
For many people, when asked to visualize a Nordic house designed in the traditional Scandinavian style, a quiet image emerges.
Perhaps what they envision is a log cabin on the edge of a fjord, containing some beautifully designed pieces of Scandinavian furniture.
It refers to a minimalist place in the sense that each piece would be included for a reason, but also to create a comfortable space. Cozy. Fun With an innate feeling of warmth, but avoiding clutter. That is Scandinavian minimalism.
While Scandinavian design still features clean lines, calm and clarity epitomized by traditional 60s American minimalism, this one has a softer focus. So it is Scandinavian minimalism, not American or Japanese.
In the example of color, monochrome schemes strictly adhered to by Japanese minimalists have been added in the Nordic home. Subtle pastel shades are key. Blues, creams, and grays help provide hygiene, soften edges, and invite visitors to feel comfortable, not just admire.
This is because the traditional Nordic house is a product of its environment. The Scandinavian design is inspired by functionality, the result of the harsh climate of Northern Europe. Temperatures and rugged terrain have made quality and durability central to Scandinavian minimalist styling, but without sacrificing comfort.
Minimalism comes from necessity, not aesthetics. It has substance. Scandinavian design offers efficiency, which creates beauty in its simplicity.
Minimalism for the masses?
The introduction of a major Scandinavian furniture brand in cities around the world meant that many thought they had direct access to a Nordic home.
However, there is no easy minimalism to achieve. There is no way to achieve the characteristic 'scandi style ' through flatpack single.
Scandinavian minimalism is about buying quality, buy little and make each object create an impact. Not to say that you can't find quality in mass market stores, quite the contrary, but a true Nordic home is not about choosing between shelves and shelves of the same item in different colors. It's about spending time and effort to find the perfect piece for you and your home. Commodifying this is ideologically opposed to the principles that many are trying to emulate.
Nothing should fill the space in the Nordic house. It's about letting objects speak by placing them on clean, high-quality, unadorned surfaces. Built to last, be appreciated, and tough.
Light is also essential. Huge windows and a bright palette allow the Nordic home to make the most of warm summer days and try to attract and maintain as much light as possible before the long polar nights.
Scandinavian minimalism is all about simplicity, purity, and calm. About buying less and buying better. Let objects speak while staying functional and comfortable.
It sounds very simple. But if you don't have it in your blood, this may be impossible for some to copy.