France Chair 1958 by Finn Juhl

France chair designed by Finn Juhl. 1956

In the world of contemporary interiors a lot is going on from bringing to life the creations of old, old times up to the design of pieces that seem to challenge the mere concept of present bringing what seems to be the future to today’s realm and everything in between.

The point I want to talk today is about the strong presence of that in between in the shaping of our taste, specifically the very important part of that period that is called modernism and its contemporary interpretations.

Currently, considering that frame of time, there is a deep appreciation for the products designed and made by two specific cultures: The Scandinavian and the Italian. Both of them rooted in the heritage of modernity which started and was developed around the middle of the XX Century.

Both approaches paved the way to simplicity, clarity, the importance of proportions, the austerity in the use of materials and the expression of a way of life more democratic, equalitarian and dynamic without the products losing beauty or elegance.

CH24 Wishobone chair by Carl Hansen & Son

CH24 Wishobone chair designed by Hans J. Wagner. 1949

The Scandinavian design developed it using natural products, mastering the use of wood, making the design talk about a more gentle and harmonious world: wood, natural fibers and modernity were one. Hence the beautiful appreciation of organic forms, stretched, elongated and made real thanks to the deep interest in simplicity of expression and complexity of making.

By Poiat 2017

Lavitta chair designed by Poiat. 2017

In the case of the Italians the focus has been in the detailing and the acceptance of the Bauhaus legacy for creating pieces that undoubtedly follow the precepts of modernism   and express it without fear but with discretion.

Rubelli Casa, 2017

Canevin chair designed by Rubelli Casa. 2017

Chairs are a good example of that.

The way metals are used and the reference to primary solids in the design of the body of the chairs talk about a different aesthetic concern: One that gives relevance to scale, proportion and the expressive qualities of materials and form: How less can be more without being too much: The drive for balance?

Paolo Castelli, 2017

Parabolica chair designed by Vittorio Paradiso for Paolo Castelli. 2017

I have chosen five chairs that I feel express these ideas.

In a contemporary world where qualities like “cool” or “fun” seem to be more appreciated in the making of furniture than proportion, scale, harmony, elegance and beauty it is not strange that Scandinavian design and Italian modernism are so desired nowadays as a way of bringing back those values associated with modernity, craftsmanship and an austere elegance given by the genuine concern in the use of materials, proportions and scale.

So, what is your favorite?

Note: Please take into account for the title of my post I have chosen the adjective Scandinavian due to its popularity in design terms although geographically I should have used the term Nordic considering the provenance of many of those designs.