In the Nordic countries, we have a particular interest towards the interior. In recent years, the Danish concept of hygge has become an internationally recognized phenomenon that is closely related to the feeling of home. But how do we create hygge — this sense of relaxation and informal togetherness between people? Is it something specifically Nordic?
Certainly, our climate plays a role; the contrast of dark winters and bright summers, the long winter season when life mostly happens indoors. Naturally, there is an emphasis on the interior and its atmosphere, as created by the furniture and objects that inhabit our rooms.
There is also an emotional element. A house is physical, but home is a feeling. The role of the home as a private retreat has increased while the boundaries between private and public have become more porous and society has become more connected. The need for privacy, combined with the desire for a space conducive to togetherness, immersion and concentration feeds the need for spaces with hygge.
The everyday space, where people live, unfold their lives and gather together for meaningful moments highlights the importance of furniture design. We could say that life unfolds between furniture — the functional objects that integrate into a space where our human presence is paramount. We furnish and create spaces and always think in terms of the bigger picture and the relationships between objects and humans.
The needs and routines of everyday life have driven the development of furniture and object design in the Nordic countries. In response, many designers idealise the ordinary: a chair is just a chair, no frills or ostentatious forms, one that simply works as a chair. The result is a spatial interior palpable and unpretentious; one that leaves space for presence and identity.
There is no sure recipe for creating the perfect home, but a careful equilibrium between the design of furniture and objects and the dialogue between those pieces is crucial in achieving this particular Nordic sense of human presence. There must always be a spatial hierarchy in which objects find their natural place and contribute to the harmony of the holistic experience in an environment.