Book Review: Scandinavian Modern

bookInstantly recognizable and internationally adored, modern Scandinavian design has left an indelible mark on the crafted world. But according to Magnus Englund and Chrystina Schmidt, authors of Scandinavian Modern, that wasn’t always the case. This primer on the design evolution of uppermost Europe traces how major players came to prominence. Material history is cut into seven bite-sized pieces: wood, glass, textiles, ceramics, metal, plastic, and lighting. It spotlights icons like Arne Jacobsen’s Series 7 chair and Poul Henningsen’s PH 5 pendant lamp, but lesser-known vignettes keep the text interesting—like when Jacqueline Kennedy made headlines appearing in an inexpensive cotton dress made by Finnish textile company Marimekko. This easily digestible book speaks from a slightly American perspective but still extracts the essence of Scandinavian design and its remarkable journey from backwater necessity to global masters of reduction.

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