SCANDINAVIAN DESIGN: THE DANISH ROMANCE AND THE EVOLUTION OF THE “ARTICHOKE”

The idea of Danish design revolves around the “Hygge” concept. This term doesn’t have a proper translation in other languages (unlike the “Lagom” concept, which means “just right”), but it can be described as: “the will of creating a cosy, pleasant and intimate atmosphere in which you can enjoy the pleasures of life surrounded by the people you love”. This concept reflects on the Scandinavian idea of design.



The Hygge philosophy in design is the research of a “daily happiness” and not of an ephemeral one. For this reason, the goal of Danish design is to “feel” your own life in what surrounds you. Your house has to become a kind of welcoming nest, a place where you can take refuge in. As mentioned in the introduction to Scandinavian design, the idea of finding shelter from the “external world” is what lies at the heart.



In the Swedish minimalist design, as well as in the Danish one, we find a continuous search for essentiality, brightness and contact with nature.

One of the masters of Danish design is surely Kaare Klint, who is also among the most famous architects from Denmark. During his career, he tried to focus on the functionality of objects, of furniture. His first creation dates back to 1914 and some of his works of art are: Safari Chair, Propeller Stool and Church Chair.




Poul Henningsen, better known as PH, has been one of the greatest architects from Denmark. One of his creations is the Artichoke, that was designed in the ‘50s and still is a very modern and appreciated product and design piece.

When the artist thought about this new model of lamp, he didn’t realize he was modifying the classical idea of design. Henningsen wanted a ceiling light that resembled an upside-down artichoke. The Artichoke lamp was installed for the first time in the modernist venue Langelinie Pavillonen. The lamp gave off a warm light and people were surprised by that. Rasmus Markholdt, the design director of Louis Poulsen, said: “The fact that you couldn’t see the light source was very revolutionary. At the time, people didn’t see a lamp as a nice object; they simply needed light. Henningsen was one of the first to think of both.”

From that moment on, the Artichoke gained a lot of success because, besides being a design product, it is also a functional lamp.

The interior designer Robert Couturier said: “Chandeliers can be quite difficult to use, but this one is very discreet since the light is diffused. I have always used it with great effect over small dining tables. It is a very complimentary light”.


One of the most important goals of Danish design is to create something simple that lasts forever. So, easiness becomes a synonym for timeless and, once again, the relationship between man and nature is the focal point.






















Article by

Sara Orlandini


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