Thursday, September 9, 2010

Book review: Lars Bolander's Scandinavian Design


Scandinavian design has been one of the most powerful movements in modern design. From its sleek, iconic mid-century pieces, to the understated, relaxed elegance that is now copied world-wide, its popularity shows no signs of slowing down. Lars Bolander is one of Sweden's foremost authorities on Scandinavian design. He's designed homes throughout the world that have been published in Vogue, Home & Garden and World of Interiors, all in his unique and sophisticated blend of Scandinavian elegance.

Lars has provided the most thorough and comprehensive guide to Scandinavian design I've read to date. Naively I had assumed that I had a fair grasp on the fundamentals of Scandinavian design and the basic styles and elements that were incorporated, but what I found was something so much richer than I'd expected. Going through all four Scandinavian countries: Sweden, Denmark, Norway and Finland he shows the subtleties and diversity between each, all illustrated with large, colourful photography.



From clean minimalist lines to rich ornately painted walls and ceilings, Scandinavian style is a study in contrasts. What I discovered reading, is that Scandinavians captured early on, the concept of mixing several styles to create a beautiful blend. Incorporating the lavish styles that were popular in Europe during the time, we see influences of Rococo and Orientalism mixed with rather primitive rustic styles.


Part of what makes Scandinavian design so effective is its profound connection with nature. Due to its unique climatic challenges, Scandinavians are obsessed with light. No matter the season, inside Scandinavian homes it always appears to be summer. Even in the most elaborately decorated spaces, there's a light airiness that lends a calm and relaxed feeling, and prevents it from every becoming too stuffy or overwhelming. As we endeavour to live 'greener' and in more harmony with our natural environment, there's no doubt we will continue to look towards Scandinavian for inspiration and innovation to achieve this balance.


This was one of my most favourite pictures from the book, and one of the most surprising. The "Little Alhambra", the summer home of famed Norwegian violinist Ole Bull, is a fascinating combination of three styles that intersecting in this region during the late nineteenth century - Venetian, Islamic and Russian. The soaring peaks and lacy, elaborately carved woodwork form a fanciful production that looks as if it were plucked straight from a fairytale.


It's definitely one of those books that will leave you feeling inspired to incorporate some of these ideas techniques in your own home, and have you constantly referring back to it. No matter what your taste and style preferences - from modern purist to more formal traditional  to rustic country charm, this book is a must have for any design-lovers bookshelf! 



{All photos: Scandinavian Design by Lars Bolander with Heather Smith MacIsaac}
A big thank you to Vendomme Press for the opportunity to review this.


11 comments:

Anonymous said...

This looks fantastic - Scandinavians just seem to do it better!

hacollins said...

i am in total agreement about being obsessed with LIGHT! the Scandinavians have it RIGHT with those chandeliers!! LOVE them.

Anonymous said...

Completely inspiring - makes me want to pick up the book today!

The Zhush said...

Looks amazing...the first image and the last image here are really incredible! Thanks for sharing this.

escapade said...

Isn't the last home incredible - so interesting and completely not what I expected Scandinavian design to look like

Punctuation Mark said...

i added this book a few days ago to my wish list to see if i get it for my birthday

Style Attic said...

Scandinavian design has always seemed to be the trifecta of down to earth, simplistic, elegance. You feel totally satisfied, and far from gluttony after reviewing the spaces. I love it and I'm loving the book jacket!

Furniture Designer said...

Can't wait to check out Bolander's Scandinavian Design book! I think with some many famous designers from that region, we have a lot to learn from them. Can't wait to browse through all the images and get some cool ideas! Thanks for sharing!

Sarah Klassen said...

Fabulous post! I really enjoyed it, Sharalee...

xoxo

Ijeoma said...

Hi, what a brilliant book review, I'm so inspired to get it now.

Cheers for stopping by my blog, enjoy the rest of your weekend. x

Hilla Hryniszyn said...

love the painted fireplace,
my grandma used to have one like that in brown tiles. great center piece

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