Themed Book Lists

25 Books on Scandinavian Design

Georg Jensen, Marimekko, Jørn Utzon

October 28, 2014

Inspired by our post earlier this month on the Books That Inspire Five Designers from Finland and Scandinavia, here are 25 books on Scandinavian design from our contributors.

From Scandinavian Design by Charlotte and Peter Fiell, 2013 (TASCHEN)
Alvar Aalto Houses Jari Jetsonen
Sirkkaliisa Jetsonen

From the Publisher. During the course of a career spanning more than fifty years, Finnish architect and designer Alvar Aalto (1898--1976) designed nearly one hundred single-family houses. Aalto, also known for his furniture and glassware, worked in a distinctive style that blended modernism and traditional vernacular architecture. Now available in paperback, Alvar Aalto Houses presents twenty-six of Aalto's innovative residences, from small summer homes and postwar standardized housing to large housing complexes for industrial commissions built between the 1920s and the 1960s. This beautifully illustrated volume of newly commissioned photographs and archival drawings includes houses built for some of the most famous personalities of the time, including art collectors, composers, and writers.

Architecture in Northern Landscapes Todd Saunders
Jonathan Bell
Ellie Stathaki

From the Publisher. Todd Saunders (1969) is one of the most important young contemporary Canadian architects working internationally. His architecture, simple yet powerful, incorporates elements of his country's architectural identity—including the use of wood and carefully picked Modernist influences—bringing it at the same time into the 21st century with excellent execution, carefully chosen materials and a hands-on approach. Saunders (he lives and works in Bergen, Norway) has successfully executed work in both Canada, Norway, and Finland, creating architecture with a strong sense of northern identity, an individual approach that is informed by the strongness of natural landscape. The most important projects: Aurland Lookout, Long Studio, Fogo Island, Tower Studio, Fogo Island, Squish Studio, Fogo Island and Villa G. The first reference monograph on a remarkable young architect working in Scandinavia and Canada. The monograph provides interesting unpublished documents, curated by Jonathan Bell (Architecture Editor, Wallpaper magazine) and Ellie Stathaki (Deputy Architecture Editor, Wallpaper magazine) as well as three interviews by Olaf Gipser, Zita Cobb, and Brian MacKay-Lyons. The artwork of the book is by the international renowned graphic designer Henrik Nygren.

Dysthe Design Widar Halén Editor

From the Publisher. Ever since the 1960s Sven Ivar Dysthe (b. 1931) has been one of the leading proponents of Scandinavian design. The 1960s feature prominently in his creative work, a time when he founded Pop design in Norway and produced most of his emergent iconic designs. Dysthe’s career got off to a glamorous start: in 1953 this student of the Royal College of Art in London was commissioned with the creation of the school’s coronation gift, a wooden casket, for Queen Elizabeth II. Since then one cannot think of the international design scene without thinking of him. His chair and furniture designs 1001, Popcorn, Prisma, Planet and Laminette are huge successes in the export market. The latter is one of Norway’s most popular chairs, on which virtually every Norwegian has sat at least once due to its use in countless public buildings, likewise travelers all over Oslo’s Gardermoen airport with his chair Gardist. In the 1970s Sven Ivar Dysthe also significantly contributed to the development of ski equipment – and to the then success of the Norwegian athletes – by developing a revolutionary ski binding out of plastic.

Award-winning designer Sven Ivar Dysthe’s furniture designs are as popular today as the time they were designed and have secured him an exceptional place in Scandinavian design history.

The publication offers a comprehensive review spanning 60 years of the Norwegian design icon Sven Ivar Dysthe. His most prominent designs and innovations in industrial design are now being presented for the first time.

With contributions by Thomas Flor | Trine Lise Dysthe | Widar Halén | Foreword by Audun Eckhoff

Exhibition: The National Museum – The Museum of Decorative Arts and Design, Oslo/Norway, 4.5. to 22.8.2013

Georg Jensen: A Tradition of Splendid Silver Janet Drucker

A sterling study of the exquisite designs of Danish silversmith Georg Jensen (1866-1935) and company. Nearly one thousand photographs illustrate much of the stunning jewelry, hollowware, and flatware designed and produced from 1904 to the present.

One of the most talented, original, and influential silversmiths of the 20th century, Jensen’s life and the company he founded are thoroughly researched. This book explores his place within the late nineteenth century arts scene, his training as a sculptor and silversmith, the establishment of his own workshop, and its expansion into an international company. The contributions of many gifted designers who worked for the company are discussed in detail. Interpretation of the marks used on Jensen silver is provided. This is a major revision of a very important book, with over 200 new photos and new information. It is an invaluable reference work for owners of Jensen silver, artists, silversmiths, designers, curators, and art dealers.

Grete Prytz Kittelsen Karianne Bjellås Gilje Editor

From the Publisher. Grete Prytz Kittelsen (1917–2010) is regarded as "the queen of Scandinavian design." Her sphere of influence in the history of decorative art and design stretches from the Scandinavian Design period, 1945–65, to today. This book is the first comprehensive presentation of her work. In these pages the range of her oeuvre is displayed in brilliant color, with archival material and more than five hundred new photographs that document her stature as a hollowware designer, whose production—several hundred unique items, including bowls, dishes, plates, casseroles, and vases—was more extensive than that of any other Norwegian postwar designer, and as a jewelry artist, who produced a large and innovative range of pieces challenging the view of jewelry as mere decoration in the era of modernism.

From the Coolest Corner: Nordic Jewellery Widar Halén Editor

From the Publisher. From the Coolest Corner – Nordic Jewellery presents groundbreaking and fresh jewellery from Northern Europe, a comprehensive selection of current works by artists from Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Sweden and the Baltic States. The best and most innovative Scandinavian art jewelery is presented, assessing its possibilities and potential at the beginning of the twenty-first century.

The project presented in this publication, culminating in a symposium and a traveling exhibition, challenges stereotypical notions of northern European art jewelery. Do the typical Nordic trends of the nineteen-nineties still apply today? Indeed are there currently any general trends at all in Scandinavian design? Or has the orientation towards international design become so dominant that there are no longer any regional characteristics?

Renowned experts have made a selection of representative works, as a basis for researching the role of northern European jewelery in the context of international art.

Authors | jury: Liesbeth den Besten (NL) | Widar Halén (NO) | Love Jönsson (SE) | Päivi Ruutiainen (FI) | Jorunn Veiteberg (DK/NO)

With 156 works by artists from Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden, this publication considers the significance, strategies and trends of Nordic art jewelery in the early twenty-first century. Expert authors present the backgrounds, developments and characteristics of the contemporary jewelery.

Exhibition venues: The National Museum - The Museum of Decorative Arts and Design, Oslo, Norway, 19.1. to 21.4.2013; Designmuseum Danmark, Copenhagen, Denmark, 28.6. to 15.9.2013; Design Museum, Helsinki, Finland, 29.11.2013 to 12.1.2014; Estonian Museum of Applied Art and Design, Tallinn, Estonia, 7.3. to 11.5.2014; Röhsska Museum for Fashion, Design and Decorative Arts, Gothenburg, Sweden, 31.5. to 21.9.2014; Galerie Handwerk, Munich, in March 2015 during the exhibition 'Schmuck' at the Internationale Handwerksmesse München.

The Furniture of Poul Kjaerholm Michael Sheridan

Issued on the occasion of an exhibition held at R Gallery and Sean Kelly Gallery, New York, December 15, 2007–February 2, 2008. Furniture produced by the Danish designer Poul Kjaerholm (1929–80) from 1951 to 1980.

Hans J. Wegner Jens Bernsen

A look at the work of renowned mid-century Danish furniture designer Hans Wegner (1914–2007).

Jørn Utzon: Drawings and Buildings Michael Asgaard Anderson

From the Publisher. Visionary Danish architect Jørn Utzon was just 38 years old when in 1957 he was named the surprise winner of an international competition to design the Sydney Opera House in Australia. His bold design consisting of five performance halls topped by billowing concrete shells clad in ceramic tile is universally recognized as a masterpiece of 20th-century architecture. While this early triumph brought Utzon worldwide fame, it overshadowed a larger body of work of great importance for modern architecture. Utzon's highly diverse projects around the globe, from the National Assembly in Kuwait and Melli Bank in Tehran, Iran, to the Bagsværd Church and numerous houses in Denmark, are testaments to his belief that modernism need not sacrifice local character to be forward thinking. Organized into six thematic chapters—place, working method, building culture, construction, materiality, and living—Jørn Utzon presents all of his important work as well as many of his lesser-known, though equally important competition entries, furniture designs, and other built projects.

Marimekko Marianne Aav et al.

From the Publisher. Founded in 1951 by visionary textile designer Armi Ratia and her husband, Viljo, the Marimekko Corporation in Finland not only sparked a revolution in pattern making but also pioneered a new definition of fashion that embraced the entire home environment. This book presents more than one hundred examples of the exuberant Marimekko fashions and home furnishings that gave the company a definitive presence on the world design stage.

The book considers the history of the company from its founding through today and examines Marimekko’s impact on design in Finland and around the world. The company’s most important designers, including Maija Isola and Vuokko Eskolin-Nurmesniemi, their contributions, and their stylistic development are also discussed. In addition, the book examines Marimekko home and office interiors and how they reflected the lifestyle envisioned in Armi Ratia’s broad, radical definition of fashion.

Modern Swedish Design Lucy Creagh
Helena Kåberg
Barbara Miller Lane

From the Publisher. Modern Swedish design has exercised an extraordinary influence on international architecture and interior furnishings since the early 20th century, yet the generative writings on the subject have never been widely translated, leaving the movement's intellectual background less well known than its material production. This volume presents the first English translations of three seminal texts by pioneers of Swedish design. The translations, presented as near facsimiles of their original publications, are accompanied by scholarly introductions from the editors and an essay by architectural historian Kenneth Frampton on the “untimely timeliness” of Swedish modernism.

Neoclassicism in the North Håkan Groth

Shows the decoration and furnishings of 20 houses and apartments, including royal residences, manors, and mansions. Plans and original drawings are included.

Nordic Light Henry Plummer

From the Publisher. The quality of light in Scandinavia has given rise to some of the most important architecture of the modern period, the richness of which has influenced designers from California to Australia to Japan. The ethereal nature of light combined with natural resources (particularly wood) and highly refined building techniques—not to mention the stark seasonal contrast between the scarcity of light in winter and the glow of long summer days—have provided the context for architectural acts of genius.

Light highlights established icons, newly discovered gems, and contemporary masterworks: buildings that have achieved the highest expression of Scandinavian design and response to their environment. The projects are featured in detail, along with a general introduction to the history of Scandinavian architecture and a reference section with a bibliography, a directory of architects, and an index of places to visit.

Henry Plummer teaches architectural theory and design at the University of Illinois. He is the author of The Architecture of Natural Light.

Northern Delights Emma Fexeus Editor
Sven Ehmann Editor

From the Publisher. Northern Delights reveals why hardly any other interior or product design is so timeless, so functional, so aesthetic, and of such high quality as that of Sweden, Norway, Finland, and Denmark. The book’s stunning selection of Scandinavian design ranges from individual products to skillfully staged living spaces. Although it also presents iconic designs, the book focuses on the work of young talents who are consciously building upon local sustainable design traditions and further developing them in a way that is consistent, intelligent, and reflects an unerring sense of style.

Northern Delights showcases classic, minimal, rustic, and pop styles that are united by their simplicity, functionality, and love of light. The included examples show how the grains of different woods, the clarity of colored glass, the cheery colors of fabrics and patterns, and the overall quality of craftsmanship contribute to creating simple, inviting, and very comfortable spaces. Whether the featured work was created for residences, offices, or any other rooms, in a Scandinavian interior, everyone feels at home.

Planetveien 12: The Korsmo House-A Scandinavian Icon Elisabeth Tostrup

From the Publisher. The Korsmo House, 1955, is an icon of moder n Scandinavian architecture an experimental house that has been frequently published in magazines and architecture anthologies. A few years ago a jury elected the house as one of the ten most significant buildings in Norwegian twentieth century architecture. Professor Knut Hjeltnes says in the Arkitektur N 5/2012 review that Planet Road, 12, is one of the most important private houses in Norway, owing both to the qualities of the house and the significance of the inhabitants in Norwegian post-war culture. The original owner, Grete Prytz Kittelsen (earlier Korsmo) lived in the house until she passed away in 2010. The house is now listed for preservation.

Arne Korsmo (1900 1968) was a prominent Norwegian architect, best-known for a large number of functionalist buildings and interiors made in the 1930s. Also a renowned exhibition architect and product designer, Korsmo was highly-esteemed as a post-war teacher of architecture and interior design. Grete Prytz Korsmo (later Kittelsen, 1917 2010) was a goldsmith and pioneering enamel artist, a grand lady of Scandinavian design and a trusted member of the World Craft Council. Scandinavian Design is subject to increasing interest worldwide and with it so is the Korsmo House. The Korsmo couple were the incarnation of post-war Scandinavian design, winning prizes internationally for product design and exhibition architecture.

Planetveien 12 discusses the location of this architectural icon, the house s many incarnations, the biographies of the architect and the Korsmo couple s visit to America where they met Hugo Weber, Mies van der Rohe, Frank Lloyd Wright, Alexander Calder and, significantly, Ray and Charles Eames. The book also details Korsmo s other projects and his teaching careeer, alongside detailed plans from inception and a full photographic essay about the finished house. The author, Elisabeth Tostrup, is an architect and professor at the Oslo School of Architecture; previous publications include Norwegian Wood: the Thoughtful Architecture of Wenche Selmer, 2006, and Architecture and Rhetoric: Text and Design in Architectural Competitions, 1999.

Scandinavian Design Charlotte Fiell
Peter Fiell

From the Publisher. Scandinavians are exceptionally gifted in design. They are world-famous for their inimitable, democratic designs which bridge the gap between crafts and industrial production. The marriage of beautiful organic forms with everyday functionality is one of the primary strengths of Scandinavian design and one of the reasons why Scandinavian creations are so cherished and sought after.

This all-you-need guide includes a detailed look at Scandinavian furniture, glass, ceramics, textiles, jewelry, metalware and industrial design from 1900 to the present day, with in-depth entries on over 180 designers and design-led companies, plus essays on the similarities and differences in approach between Norway, Sweden, Finland, Iceland, and Denmark. Also included is a list of important design-related places to visit for readers planning to travel to Scandinavia.

DESIGNERS Verner Panton, Arne Jacobsen, Alvar Aalto, Timo Sarpaneva, Hans Wegner, Tapio Wirkkala, Sigvard Bernadotte, Stig Lindberg, Ingeborg Lundin, Finn Juhl, and many others.
COMPANIES Fritz Hansen, Artek, Le Klint, Gustavsberg, Iittala, Fiskars, Volvo, Saab, Orrefors, Royal Copenhagen, Holmegaard, Arabia, Marimekko, Georg Jensen, and many more.

Scandinavian Modern Magnus Englund
Chrystina Schmidt

From the Publisher. Modern Scandinavian homes are enviably relaxed and welcoming, filled with furniture and objects that are practical, functional, and beautiful. For many people, Scandinavian style conjures up images of pale blonde wood and pared-down,clutterfree interiors. In reality, it's far from minimal. Scandinavian Modern introduces the most important designers and their work and explores some of the most interesting homes in Scandinavia. The first section, Elements, takes a lively look at Scandinavian design in the context of materials: wood, glass, textiles, ceramics, and so on. The second section, Living, offers a visual survey of 12 outstanding homes in Denmark, Sweden and Finland, from modern country houses to sophisticated city-centre apartments.The accompanying text provides a fascinating insight into each home, describing its design and evolution. Many of the homes featured are those of celebrated twentieth-century Scandinavian designers.

Scandinavian Modern Houses 3 Vibe Udsen

With Per Nagel's photographs, features some of the most significant private houses built during the twentieth century to elucidate the distinctive character of Nordic architecture. Includes work by Helin & Co., Gehrdt Bornebusch, Lund Hagem, Terje Moe, Erik Korshagen, Knud Holscher, Olle Adrin, Alvar Aalto, Knut Knutsen and Wingardh.

Snøhetta Works Snøhetta Editor

From the Publisher. Snøhetta is a leading team of architects in Norway with offices in Oslo and New York. This first-ever publication to document their work presents and illustrates the most important current and completed projects of these architects, who have been active internationally for fifteen years, and contains texts by various authors. Projects include the Library of Alexandria (2002), the New Opera House in Oslo (2008), and the Gateway Project in Ras Al-Khaimah, Dubai.

Snøhetta’s works and projects revolve around a collaboration and interchange between various disciplines. The architects attach great importance to connecting architecture with landscape architecture and interior design. In each of their projects, fundamental aspects of site, landscape, and context are freshly observed and discussed, which enables them to discover and develop a constant stream of new and varied solutions.

As part of their effort to interweave multiple disciplines, the architects of Snøhetta always involve locally and internationally well-known artists in their important projects. For Snøhetta, working together with artists from the early conceptual phase of a project onward constitutes an important factor for later stages of the process.

Sourcebook of Scandinavian Furniture Judith Gura

From the Publisher. The five countries known collectively as Scandinavia were the source of some of the most important furniture designs of the twentieth century and the influential concept of “Scandinavian modern.” Today, a new generation of designers continues the tradition, creating pieces that are functional, comfortable, and appealing to look at. This book—the first American summary of modern design in Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden in more than two decades—updates the history of design in the Nordic nations and illustrates in full color more than five hundred of the best current furniture from over seventy producers. The Sourcebook also includes detailed product specifications and sources, biographies of important Nordic designers, and a helpful bibliography. It is an invaluable reference for everyone who loves modern furniture, and is an essential tool for interior designers, architects, collectors, and students with a special interest in Scandinavian design. CD-ROM included: easy-to-use screen resolution files of all the illustrations for use on Mac or PC.

The Swedish House Ingalill Snitt
Lars Sjöberg

From the Publisher. A celebration of the beauty of wood in bygone houses and a source of design inspiration, The Swedish House captures the special qualities of a unique building practice.

Tapio Wirkkala Tapio Wirkkala

From the Publisher. Comprehensive survey of the great Finnish designer's life and work. His accomplishments include major interior design projects, design of glass, ceramics, wood and metal objects.

A Treasury of Scandinavian Design Erik Zahle Editor The standard authority on Scandinavian designed furniture, textiles, glass, ceramics, and metal.
Utzon Richard Weston

From the Publisher. The Sydney Opera House is the most celebrated modern building in the world yet its architect always shunned publicity and remained the least well known of the major modern architects. Richard Weston’s book, subtitled "Inspiration - Vision - Architecture," opens the door to Utzon’s techniques and creative processes. Observations and anecdotes by Utzon, supplemented with a wealth of sketches and drawings from his personal archives, draws the reader into the amazing visionary world of one of the great contemporary (d. 2008) architects.

Wegner: Just One Good Chair Christian Holmsted Olesen

From the Publisher. The name of Hans J. Wegner (1914-2007) is inseparable from his unrivalled chairs, which have helped Danish design achieve international recognition. Any fan of design has his or her favorite among Wegner's approximately 500 creations, and there is hardly an interior design magazine that has not included an illustration of his elegant China Chair (1943) or Y Chair (1950). Even John F. Kennedy sat on the Round Chair, now known simply as The Chair (1949). Trained as a furniture maker, Wegner typically made his prototypes by hand, using traditional joinery techniques such as tongue-and-groove or finger joints. In the process, he often pushed the limitations of wood, giving his designs an unequaled elegance. Their beauty was matched by their practicality: he considered comfort and ergonomics to be equally as important as appearance. Despite his concern for functionality, his personality and sense of humor also shone through his works, as evidenced by his splendid Peacock Chair (1947) or the masculine Ox Chair (1960), available with or without horns.

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