At New House we have always loved Scandinavian design and know we are not alone!
Since the beginning of the 80’s New House's main business has been designing fabrics for window blinds and many of these have been produced in Sweden at specialised mills. Due to this, we have become very familiar with Scandinavian design and enjoyed getting to know the Nordic countries well over the years.
Swedish design flourished in the 50’s and 60’s and is often characterized by simplicity, minimalism and functionality, always using good quality materials produced in traditional ways. Scandinavian designers often draw inspiration from folk, cottage art or nature, and are not afraid of using simple colours to good effect.
We especially love Scandi design from this period, which is why we have so many great kitchen and dining homeware fabrics, prints, trivets and trays created then. Most of them have been in continuous production ever since.
Marianne Nilson is a particular favourite who designed Sil (or Herring) in the 50's. Her strikingly stylised blue fish design on a white background with black lines for structure, has always been hugely popular.
An other designer we love from this period is Marianne Westman, who was highly prolific and very influencial.
Belle Amie (above) was her first commercial design and the story goes that one weekend all Marianne's friends were on dates, but not her. So she went off into the woods alone with her sketch book and drew the simple flowers she saw to create Belle Amie. This design was first used by a Swedish porcelain company and was then turned into a successful textile print.
Marianne Westman created many of the classic 1950's Swedish designs such as Pomoma or Picknick. Still highly popular designs today with many a Nordic kitchen still having much-loved originals in use today.
Pomona is a colourful print of stylised Swedish apples :
Picknik shows a spread of a typical Scandinavian picnic with fish, various vegetables and dill and has been colourfully reproduced on many aprons, fabric, chinaware, trays, trivets, chopping boards and other items :
Is blue Scandinavia's favourite colour? Here is another of Marianne Westman's popular household designs, Frisco. Frisco is a simple white fish design printed on a vibrant blue background to great effect :
Of course one of the fastest, cheapest and easiest ways to freshen up a kitchen is to have a bright new tea towel drapped over the cooker or sink and our retro Swedish tea towels are perfect for this!
Back in the 50's, Marianne Westman wanted to encourage men to do more in the kitchen but thought they might be put off by wearing aprons. So she made her tea towels wider than what was the standard then, allowing men to tuck one of her tea towels into their waistbands instead.
Perhaps no kitchen is complete without a charming colourful Swedish retro tea towel!
The quality of Scandinavian design is always high, especially in interior design products such as textiles or wood-based items such as trays, chopping boards or trivets which are traditionally made from thin layers of bonded pine :