As part of D&WC's 20th anniversary celebration, each month we will return to early issues of the magazine to revisit interviews, advice and columns providing interesting, pertinent and fun historical perspectives on our industry.
It's both refreshing and paradoxical to note that handcrafted Scandinavian designs and products have not only survived through the centuries but also that their allure and art are at their highest levels today.
Scandinavian design is a distinctive look and lifestyle in itself. It combines flawless lines with quality workmanship. Furnishings are practical, functional, durable and stripped of anything extraneous.
This trend is especially significant in light of present day home building in which rooms are considerably smaller. The ingenious use of lighting, built-in furniture, stacked chests, chairs and tables all make for imaginative versatility in living comfort.
FURNISHINGS AND TEXTILES
Simplicity is an unmistakable characteristic of these talented designers and craftsmen. As much detail is applied to aesthetics as to comfort. The resulting effect is a sculptured look. A perfect illustration of the timelessness of true Scandinavian design is the Hans Wegner "Peacock" chair. Designed about 40 years ago, it is a magnificent work of art and is the epitome of seating comfort.
Some 20 years ago, during my days at Riverdale Fabrics, we worked with a prestigious Swedish textile company in the production of a Scandinavian collection of decorative fabrics. All the designs were modern interpretations of our natural environment. The collection was most beautiful, however, it was slightly ahead of the time. One can't help but think of just how great this collection would be in today's marketplace.
Both in textiles and area rugs, we are reaching out to Scandinavian designs for inspiration in contemporary home decoration. Theirs is a talent hard to beat throughout the world.
With eclectic home decoration so popular today, the mix of European tradition and Scandinavian design creates a modern, stylish environment. This is evident throughout the spectrum of decoration, whether residential or commercial.
With literally a world of variety to choose from, a knowledgeable decorator would be wise to keep updated on both new and old Scandinavian furniture and accessories. It would also be helpful to research the history of Scandinavian design and manufacture. We all know how important it is to "romance the product."
I would like to think that our consumer today is more responsive to excellence in the selection of things for the home. It is this kind of awareness that would make for greater enthusiasm towards products of Scandinavian designs and manufacture. This trend for quality in product and aesthetics in design should point out to all of us on just where to place our priorities in the running of our businesses.
Rudy Alperin is an authority on home decorating and fashion, He is renowned for providing the trade with profitable insights into the hows and whys of selling to the consumer.