Sunday 4 December 2016

Nordic decor: minimalist elegance

Nathalie Marquez Courtney

Published 06/09/2015 | 02:30

Little Architect 03 cushions, €68 each, from Nordic Elements
Little Architect 03 cushions, €68 each, from Nordic Elements
Candle holder
Dining piece set
Nordic side plate
Sideboard
Concrete vase

Have we reached peak Nordic décor? If autumn/winter interiors trends are anything to go by, our obsession with all things Scandi shows no sign of letting up.

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Known for its serene, minimal aesthetic, Nordic design has flitted in and out of the interiors spotlight since the 1950s (think Arne Jacobsen's Egg and Eero Saarinen's Tulip chairs), but has definitely risen to prominence over the last few seasons, thanks in no small part to Nordic-loving interiors bloggers, trend-setting architects and interior designers, and perhaps one too many episodes of The Bridge.

Design fans love the clean lines, neutral shades and natural finishes that are the look's guiding principles. In February this year, over 40,000 people visited the Stockholm Furniture Fair, proof of the growing appetite for minimalist, uncluttered living.

Slowly but surely, however, Scandi chic is becoming less a fair-weather trend and more a timeless aesthetic in its own right - one that works in both modern and traditional homes.

Nordic Elements (nordicelements.com), an online interiors store, founded in London in 2008, has recently relocated to Dublin. Its owner, Helle Moyna, a Danish woman who married a Monaghan man, definitely sees it as a way of life.

"It's about simplicity and good quality, investing in key pieces that will last," she says. She is currently in the last stages of renovating her own home, a period property in south Co Dublin, and is pleased with how well Nordic designs work in an Irish space.

"Some people think it's all cold and monochrome, but it can be very warm and inviting," she explains. "The simplicity of the furniture works well in older spaces too - I have a 1950s sideboard in a 16th-century room."

Helle's store showcases the work of both established and emerging designers and she is also keen to feature Irish artists whose aesthetic fits in well with the Scandinavian style.

Chic scandi treats

She feels that the look can really complement Irish homes and dovetails nicely with mid-century design, which is definitely having a moment here.

Irish homeowners didn't pounce on the trend with the gusto of our European neighbours, but our interest in the look is growing. Nordic Makers, a new store dedicated to Nordic furniture and design, recently opened a permanent showroom and retail space in Dun Laoghaire and founders Louis Weyhe and Klaus Kristian Sorensen plan on organising various pop-up stores in other European cities in 2016. "The company is founded on Nordic traditions and focused on the craft, the details, the distinctive Nordic vernaculars," says Louis.

It's not just niche stores that are championing the trend either - you can find lots of Nordic-inspired pieces on the high street too, as everywhere from Harvey Norman to Marks and Spencer gets in on the act, making it easy to add a little bit of Scandi polish to your space. Maximum style, with minimum fuss.

Nathalie Marquez Courtney is editor of Image Interiors & Living magazine.

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