02 August 2007

It's cultural.

Have you ever wondered why typical Scandinavian design looks very fresh and uncluttered ? clean Lines, no extras.
While the western world and now some certain parts of Asia is constantly trying to ape the contemporary! style, I wonder why inspite of having Scandinavian furniture in their homes the place does not have the inviting and the hip retro feel that Scandinavian homes usually exhibit.

Certain cultures are very consumptious. "I have to have the new iphone and the new apple computer and a new headset." is a common thought for anybody in a consumeristic society. Five gadgets to hear the same song.!! The furniture is four years old and it is time to throw it out is another common thought. These and so many other shopping patterns are a norm. Time is spent shopping to buy that will rejuvenate their life. Though American stores sell Scandinavian furniture at a premium, I was wondering if they are doing anything to make the customers aware of how Scandinavian furniture was built. These days minimalism has become a style, not a function.

My curiosity prompted me to call a friend who now stays in Finland for some answers. How does Scandinavian homes radiate warmth, with such minimalistic and simplistic looks? She said, it is 'Lagom'. It's a norwegian word ( some say it is swedish or finnish ) and difficult to translate. At best, the english equivalent would be ENOUGH. 'Nothing showy, just enough to be comfortable.' They live by the law of jante. My next question was, don't they ever have the need to indulge, to buy something absolutely luxurious - may be a fancy mansion, or even a designer watch. In short, according to jante, to be flashy is to be considered gauche and disrespectful to others who have less.
Images from Damiel's photostream


barkfoot said...

I used to live in a small village in Denmark. When I was first there I found the starkness of the decor somewhat austere, being English I was more used to the cosy clutter of an old Georgian house. After a while I began to understand the concept of the simple style. In winter when the days were short and dark you would expect the emptiness to feel cold, but it was the space and the lightness of the decor that actually became uplifting. It's difficult to explain but it works, you have to meet it halfway to understand though.

Maryam in Marrakesh said...

I am totally with you on the problems of consumer culture. I use the most basic phone, have simple cars, and have essentially no gadgets. I am esp anti-plastic when it comes to kids stuff. it's a real problem in American culture. I once met a Mom who was going back to work because she wanted to buy a sub-zero refrigerator for $7000. I asked her if refrigerators still did the same thing that they used do...ie. chill food or were they doing other things now, like paying your taxes. lol!

Arch said...

Interesting thought..
In India we have always lived with basic amenities while growing up & recycling, re-using were part of daily life, but with 'globalisation' I guess, the things that you pointed out..like going in the for the latest is catching on :-(

I personally love simple things in life..that money can't buy :-))

Will Friday said...


So certain. So sad.


Gillian @ Indigo Blue said...

I laugh at the Bluetooth enabled people who talk into thin air while "adjusting" their earpiece. So ridiculous.
We must find value internally, because material things will never provide what we are looking for.
Scandanavian design is nice for that reason, it is definately, enough.

henry said...

that's interesting observation

Anrosh said...

barkfoot, Thank you for sharing your experience in Denmark.

Maryam, I like the story of the sub -zero refrigerator.

Arch, I agree that India epitomizes the reduce, recycycle and reuse effect.

WillFriday, Thank You for the site.

Blue, i find the bluetooth enabled people very amusing. considering the fact that the area we stay around is a pedestrian community. and it is quite funny. Lots of facial expressions. it would make some good photos.

henry, i am glad that I was able to figure it out.

Thank you all for stopping by.

kellyloveswhales said...

true true. I like the idea of cultivating contentment, being happy with what is necessary, or enough, to live and looking beyond for meaning and happiness.

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