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Cirque pendant lights by Clara von Zweigbergk |  image courtesy of Louis Poulsen
Cirque pendant lights by Clara von Zweigbergk | image courtesy of Louis Poulsen
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'Modern Scandinavian Design' Is The Ultimate Coffee Table Book for 2017

Picture of Amber C. Snider
Home & Design Editor
Updated: 29 September 2017
In what will undoubtedly end up becoming 2017’s best home & interiors book, authors Magus Englund, Peter Fiell, and Charlotte Fiell have created the ultimate guide to modern Scandinavian design.
Modern Scandinavian Design
Modern Scandinavian Design | Image courtesy of Laurence King

Modern Scandinavian Design, published by Laurence King Press and due to hit shelves on October 2, is a comprehensive, beautifully illustrated guide to practically everything you’d ever want to know about the Scandinavian design tradition. Covering work from 1925 to the present day – with designers from Denmark, Finland, Norway, Iceland, and Sweden – this nearly 600-page tome covers egalitarian, everyday products meant to enrich daily life.

In the book’s introduction, the authors cite Swedish artist Carl Larsson’s 1899 small book of illustrations, Ett Hem (At Home) as central to understanding the essence of Scandinavian design. “[The] Scandinavian notion of home [centers around] light-filled everyday spaces furnished simply and tastefully.” At its core, Scandinavian design is laid-back, inspirational, and democratic.

Cirque pendant lights by Clara von Zweigbergk
Cirque pendant lights by Clara von Zweigbergk | © Image courtesy of Louis Poulsen

“In Denmark, there has also long been a quest among designers for ‘ideal forms’, which has involved reworking the age-old vernacular and archetypal forms to create designs of rare aesthetic and functional refinement,” write the authors. From this, the hygge philosophy emerged, which placed significant value on the way objects make us feel and how they contribute to our happiness. “It emphasizes the importance of ‘being’ rather than ‘having’, and of living in the present.”

Ericofon telephone
Ericofon telephone | Image courtesy of Laurence King Publishing

While Modern Swedish design tends to focus on utility, with a more “industrial quality than, say, Modern Danish furniture,” both traditions are human-centric, and rooted in egalitarianism. “In comparison,” write the authors, “Finnish design has tended to have a more refined quality, often inspired by the raw beauty of nature.” It’s in this exact spirit that the book is constructed, showcasing a wide range of furniture, textiles, architecture, lighting, glassware, woodenware, graphic design, and much more, with over 1,000 illustrations.

Panton chair by Verner Panton
Panton chair by Verner Panton | Image courtesy of Quittenbaum

Modern Scandinavian Design is a must-read for any contemporary designer and architect, as well as students, academics, curators, and design novices. It’s jam-packed with history, beautifully curated sections, as well as lavish graphics, making it this year’s must-have design book.

Two stoneware vases by Berndt Friberg
Two stoneware vases by Berndt Friberg | Image courtesy of Bukowskis

Want more design book recommendations? Check out our 2016 Holiday Book Guide for Design Lovers here.