The new Nordic: Where is Scandi style today?

Scandinavian style, known for its practical and innovative designs and minimalist aesthetic, is having as powerful an impact on the world of interiors as ever, with hot young designers sustaining the movement with their contemporary ideas.

Nordic style

Sophia Groves, the photographer for Nordic Style Magazine, says although Nordic style has actually stayed very true to itself in its aesthetic, new angles are being explored by this younger generation.

Afteroom designed a series of side boards for Copenhagen-based Reform, using Ikea’s METOD cabinets as the base. Picture: Reform

“The real change is that there’s this new talent willing to take the rules of Nordic design and style, and bend and reinterpret them to provide modern solutions to modern problems,” Sophia says.

“But, it’s still about maximum style, minimum fuss and plenty of light being brought into the homes of the masses through elegant and simple craftsmanship.”

Leading the charge is Danish architect, Bjarke Ingels. Although an architect, not an interior designer, Bjarke has brought Nordic design to the big stage, creating buildings and spaces across the world that are crafted to accommodate nature, people, light and space.

Contemporary Scandinavian style

Design studio HAY is another big name in contemporary Scandinavian style.

Think modern and sustainable furniture that focuses on sophisticated, industrial manufacturing and providing beautiful design to the masses. (Sound familiar… Ikea?)

“HAY draws inspiration from fashion and architecture in a bid to design durable furniture and accessories that complement and accentuate Scandinavian homes, while also providing a feature and talking-point in the room,” Sophia says.

No fuss, clean lines. Picture: HAY Design

The new nordic

It’s these new ideas and possibilities explored by designers like HAY – the ones that get people talking – that are giving the Nordic style a fresh makeover.

Whereas before, natural materials such as wood, glass and wool were the building blocks of Nordic design, now metal, plastic and other synthetics have paved the way for new shapes and new possibilities to be thought up.

Think more textures, lots more colour and never-before-used shapes.

Nordic designers are also less exclusively Northern European in their approach than they have been in the past, Sophia says.

“New discoveries are happening everyday and designers are looking further afield for design inspiration, i.e. other cultures, science and mathematics. There are more avenues to pull pattern, colour and texture from, creating designs that simply weren’t possible many years ago,” she says.

Across Scandinavia, Nordic design has the same underlying principles – of using natural materials, bringing in light and providing a cosy atmosphere – with nuances altering slightly across the country.

While Finland is known for its glass and textile design, Norwegians excel in home furnishings. Denmark, meanwhile, nails fashion due to its willingness to be bold in presentation, Sophia says.

“Designer Alvar Aalto brought curves to Finnish design that were, at the time, unheard of, revolutionising interiors and exteriors across Finland,” Sophia says.

Yet a reverence for quality craftsmanship remains a cornerstone of Nordic design.

An all-black kitchen is modern and moody. Picture: Three Birds Renovations

In a modern Scandinavia, this tradition of appreciating materials and taking one’s time remains a foundation of Scandinavian design. It’s all about prioritising functionality without compromising on beauty.

Wood, too, remains a favoured material; it’s versatile, sustainable and readily available.

Glass comes next as large windows and mirrors let light in and reflect it around the room.

“As much as all the light is fantastic in the summer, 24 hours of daylight can become tiring and it does get cold when the sunlight goes, so upholstery is the last major component of Scandinavian design. Curtains, blankets, cushions and chairs fill the home with warmth and comfort. It’s all about structure, light and softness. Hygge defined, right?”

Article repurposed from The new Nordic: Where is Scandi style today? by Alice Bradley. Author at