Furniture Styles

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Scandinavian Design Furniture & Decorating

Scandinavian here is a geographical term covering Sweden, Norway and Denmark, and also Finland for our purposes.

Viking Revival Chairs
Viking Revival Chairs, 1900, by Lars Kinsarvik.
Carved and painted pine.
Shown at the International Exhibition in Paris in 1900. This is in the Norwegian Viking or Dragon style. On this chair, designer Lars Kinsarvik combined motifs that he would have seen in ancient Nordic art and architecture, with the colourful decoration that was typical of more modern Norwegian peasant furnishings.


Furniture design and decorating styles in the countries of Scandinavia are renowned internationally for their innovative, contemporary, and streamlined qualities. Scandinavian design is characterised by a focus on function or utility, by a continued committment to modernist ideals and the use of modern technology and materials, the use of teak wood, naturalistic forms of pottery and glassware, and clear, simple patterns for fabrics.

Scandinavian Chairs
Scandinavian Chairs.

Furniture - Neoclassicism For The Masses

The overwhelmingly dominant theme in Scandinavian furniture design is the strength of neoclassicism, a neoclassicism in its most modern, advanced, and rigorous stage.

The Stockholm Exhibition in 1930 and the 1939 World's Fair in New York, did most to introduce the world to the characteristics of Scandinavian style furniture and its simple, clean, and light-weight designs as can be best seen in Danish furniture and also in Swedish furniture. Quality craftsmanship joined with mass production where possible and suitable are the major points of the style. Bent plywood is a frequently used material as is metal.

High Chair
High Chair and Accessories, 1972, Norway.
Stained beech, with steel fittings.
This high chair is so adjustable that a child could use it from the cradle to the grave. The manufacturer's slogan is "The chair that grows with your child". It is designed to encourage natural movement even while the child is at rest, for greater comfort. The manufacturer believes, in accordance with Scandinavian design tradition, that the form or structure an item takes should develop from its usage by people. The two vertical side pieces, each in the shape of an inverted 7, have grooved inner surfaces to accommodate various horizontal elements, such as a baby rail, back rails (the upper one with a high centre to support a baby’s head), a seat, a footrest and stretcher rods. As the child grows, the high back rail and baby rail can be removed and the depth and height of the seat and footrest changed. For a full-sized person, the lower stretcher rod and original seat are also removed, and the footrest becomes the seat.

The types of Scandinavian furniture that remain popular items in stores include Scandinavian beds, often platform beds, and other bedroom furniture, office furniture and especially office chairs, recliners made of leather, contemporary coffee tables, and Scandinavian teak furniture.

Finnish Modern Chair
Finnish Modern Chair, 1979.
Tubular steel, metal fittings, laminated birch seat, and cotton upholstery.
This is one of the Visio range of office chairs that were shown at the Milan Furniture Fair in 1980. It has four visible springs that allow the seat and back to tilt, responding to the weight and posture of the sitter. Another version was produced with a lower back rest. Castors were optional for the feet. The functional pared-down form is typical of Scandinavian design, which at this time combined modern aesthetics with a concern for human needs.

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