Golden oldies making a comeback

PUBLISHED : Friday, 15 April, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 15 April, 2011, 12:00am


The greats of Scandinavian modern furniture design have re-released a number of pieces that have become as popular now as they were during their heyday in the 1950s.

Susan Man, of Manks, says Scandinavian design represents simplicity at its finest.

She says the longevity of the design, practical use of natural and sustainable materials and quality have added to its popularity.

'It does not clash nor offend and easily complements existing furniture,' she explains.

'The secret to creating a clean look in your home is to allow the form of the piece to dominate the room and not the trimmings.'

Scandinavian modern, also known as Swedish modern, emerged at the same time as modernism in the 1930s.

It was interrupted by the depression and the second world war and finally reached its peak in the 1950s.

With a philosophy of 'beauty for all', it took the basic concept of modernism and fused it with traditional materials.

The result is exquisitely made furniture in organic shapes chiefly fashioned from wood, which is in abundance in Scandinavia.

Furniture is often blonde wood in curvy, organic shapes often teamed with tubular steel and leather.

Manks represents legendary designers such as Arne Jacobsen, a Danish designer of the 'Ant' chair made infamous by Christine Keeler sitting astride one in the 1960s; Hans Wegner, another Danish furniture designer best known for his chairs; and Aalvar Aalto, a Finnish architect, furniture maker and designer. Other names include Verner Panton, a Danish furniture and interior designer known for his variety of materials, especially plastics in vibrant colours, and Poul Henningsen, renowned for the PH Artichoke lamp, to name a few.

Man says these designers, who boast collections in major museums worldwide, also represent good investments for the future.

She cites Wegner's Wishbone Chair from the 1950s as an example. The same manufacturer has resumed production and it has held its market value well, with the price now comparable to the original.

'Of equal importance are younger designers who have already carved names for themselves in the international design field - Louise Campbell, a Danish furniture and lighting designer; Cecilie Manz, a Danish industrial designer; and Thomas Pedersen, a Danish designer with numerous award winning designs in their portfolio,' she says.

'We only deal in genuine pieces and a gauge of popularity is the obscene copies being produced north of the border and unscrupulously sold in Hong Kong.' Man is constantly sourcing new stock from Denmark, Sweden, Norway and Finland and can help source pieces related to Scandinavian design.

The majority of Manks staff have a design background and are well-versed in advising how to create a mid-century modern ambiance.