Scandinavian Design Small Group Tour: Denmark, Sweden and Finland
Denmark, Sweden and Finland realised that the only way to remain competitive on the world stage was through the value of superior design. Travelling with like-minded people on our small group tour you will explore the cities and towns where those high quality products, appreciated around the world, are created including hygge.
From A$14,450 AUD
- 1. Joined by our expert leader, visit Stroget in Copenhagen, where the country's finest brands have flagship stores.
- 2. Understand why famous interiors like the L.A. Walt Disney Concert Hall and the Reichstag in Berlin sourced Danish Textiles.
- 3. Experience how progressive design always played a central part in the history of Volvo cars in Gothenburg.
- 4. In Finland, discover the success stories of Iittala glassware and Marimekko.
|02 September 2022 |
Ends 22 September 2022 • 21 nights
|08 September 2023 |
Ends 28 September 2023 • nights
Scandinavian Design Small Group Tour
Odyssey offers easy, convenient, and relaxed escorted small group tours across Western Europe and beyond including Scandinavia. We explore Scandinavia's design beauty, its heritage, its World Heritage Sites, and world famous cities, all with some truly spectacular scenery along the way. This and more is all waiting to be explored on one of Odyssey’s small group tours of Scandinavia, designed for the senior traveller, and led by experienced, and enthusiastic like minded people.
Our small group tours focuses on Scandinavian design and architecture in Denmark, Sweden and Finland. Our specialised, escorted Scandinavia tour takes in the major design houses and museums of the Nordic region. We will also explore many out-of-the-way masterpieces beyond the traditional tourist routes, accompanied at all times by a Program Leader and local tour guides.
Small group tours Scandinavian Design itinerary
The Scandinavian design tour begins in Copenhagen, the home of Nordic design. We commence our journey with a guided walking tour, looking at the pops of color in this spectacular city, spending time in Stroget. Here we will be introduced to Denmark's premier high street labels in the area of interior design.
While in Copenhagen, we also visit Paustian House, a large furniture showroom located on the waterfront in Copenhagen. Completed in 1987, it is one of the most notable works in Denmark. Paustian House was designed by prize-winning architect Jørn Utzon, the designer of the Sydney Opera House. We visit the Paustian Showroom and enjoy lunch at the Paustian Cafeteria followed by a visit to the Danform Showroom designed by Jørn Utzon in 1985. Here we will enjoy a presentation by the Marketing & Sales Director on the importance of design in export markets for Scandinavia.
In Aarhus, we enjoy a tour of the Fredensborg Houses. These houses comprise one of Jørn Utzon’s largest projects in Denmark from 1959-1962. Continuing our excursions in Elsingor, we will be provided a guided tour of the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art. Here, we experience one of the finest collections of international modern art as well as a world-famous sculpture park.
After exploring Denmark, the Scandinavian tour design departs for Sweden. Here we visit the Gothenburg University School of Design & Craft (HDK). This school is a significant influence on Scandinavian style and Nordic design. Afterwards, we visit the Volvo Museum to immerse ourselves in the history and universe of everything Volvo, the automobile company.
Finally, the tour on Scandinavian design concludes in Finland where we discover the success stories of Iittala glassware and Marimekko.
On this trip, we will also learn why famous interiors like the L.A. Walt Disney Concert Hall and the Reichstag in Berlin sourced Danish textiles. We also learn how progressive design always played a central part in the history of the car industry in Gothenburg.
Small group tours Scandinavian Design Program Leader
Our expert Program Leader will explain other key features of Scandinavian design and architecture along the way.
Here is an introduction from our Program Leader, Stephan De Roeck, in his own words:
How I developed a passion for Scandinavian design
My introduction to Scandinavian design started in the early 80's. The Brussels International Trade Mart sent me on a mission to create a section for Scandinavian and Finnish manufacturers related to interior design and architecture.
First I had to research and come up with a representative sample of products, followed by talking to the makers and creators and convince them to be part of that industry showcase in the heart of Europe.
While here, I was very lucky to be able to discover the latest and greatest in lighting, glassware, furniture, accessories, tableware and fabrics from that inventive part of the world.
Since then I continued to follow the trends, the artists and designers from the Nordics, where simple but stylish living is elevated to an art form. From 2003 to 2005 I worked for a large Australian company importing and distributing European design in Australia, New Zealand and Singapore. It was for me a revelation at the time that the products from the "cold" countries fitted so well in the subtropical lifestyle of Australians.
This year I visited again Sweden and Denmark, and I was happy to see that the design scene there is continuing unabated. Not just related to the mass market like the Ikea phenomenon, but also in the more confidential, arts and craft sections of the market. This time I took the opportunity to update myself on the interesting new, redeveloped areas of Copenhagen and Stockholm. I was particularly impressed with recent contemporary public buildings like the opera houses, museums, and city parks.
I have to conclude that I can't wait to go back and find out more.
For more details about Scandinavian Design tour to Denmark, Sweden and Finland, please click the ‘Top 5’ or ‘Itinerary’ buttons above! If you’re keen to experience this tour, please call or send an email. Or, to book, simply fill in the form on the right hand side of this page.
Please click through to see our other tours to these countries:
Day 1: Copenhagen
Upon arrival in Copenhagen we check into our hotel. There will be some free time to relax before our tour commences with our welcome dinner.
Day 2: Copenhagen
Today we enjoy a sightseeing tour of Copenhagen followed by lunch. In the afternoon we begin our guided stroll through Strøget, one of Europe’s longest pedestrian streets. Here we will be introduced to Denmark’s premier high street labels in the area of interior design.
Day 3: Copenhagen
Today we take a short stroll to Danish Architecture Centre, the main exhibition space for architecture and urban development in Denmark. We then walk to Christiansborg Palace, located on the tiny island of Slotsholmen and contains the Danish Parliament , the Supreme Court and Ministry of State. The remainder of the day is at leisure.
Day 4: Copenhagen
In the morning we travel to Allerød, approximately 1hr drive, where we visit the Fritz Hansen Company that was established in 1872 and is the maker of the iconic “Ant” and “Egg” chairs designed by Arne Jacobsen. We return to Copenhagen for lunch at Restaurant Paustian before visiting Paustians Hus, a large furniture showroom located on the waterfront completed in 1987. It is one of the most notable works in Denmark by prize-winning architect Jørn Utzon, who also designed the Sydney Opera House.
On our way back to the hotel we’ll pause to visit Superkilen Park, a public park in the Nørrebro district that was designed by the arts group Superflex with the collaboration of Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG Architects) and Topotek1. The Nørrebro district is considered one of the most ethnically diverse areas in the capital as it’s home to over 60 nationalities.
Day 5: Copenhagen
After breakfast we visit Danform Showroom, also designed by Jørn Utzon (1985). Here we will enjoy a presentation by the Marketing & Sales Director on the importance of design in export markets. We then visit Kvadrat Mills showroom, a famous Danish textile manufacturer. The Reichstag in Berlin and the L.A. Walt Disney Concert Hall both feature Kvadrat bespoke textiles.
Before returning to our hotel we stop to visit the Danish Museum of Art & Design, it is one of Scandinavia’s central exhibition forums for Danish and international industrial design, decorative and applied arts.
Day 6: Copenhagen
Today we travel to Fredensborg (approximately 1hr drive) and enjoy a tour of the Fredensborg Houses, one of Jørn Utzon’s largest projects in Denmark from 1959-1962. This cluster of individual houses was created to cater for Danes who have spent a long time outside of Denmark like diplomatic corps, engineers, etc.
We then travel to Helsingor (approximately 1hr drive) to visit the Louisiana Museum of Modern art. This is an extraordinary museum, showcasing landscape, architecture and art. Dinner this evening is at the hotel.
Day 7: Aarhus
After breakfast we transfer to the train station and catch a train to Aarhus, on arrival we’ll be met and transferred to our hotel for check-in then take a short stroll to the Viking Museum, located underground beneath the Nordea Bank building.
Day 8: Gothenburg
In the morning we head to the ARoS Modern Art Museum in Aarhus, featuring many renowned local and international artists. After the visit, we travel to Frederikshavn, where we board our ferry to Gothenburg in Sweden. On arrival we’ll be met and transferred to our hotel in time for dinner.
Day 9: Gothenburg
Today we have a free day in Gothenburg. Several of the city’s museums are within walking 10-15 minutes distance from our hotel, such as:
- Göteborgs konstmuseum – Gothenburg Museum of Art has one of the finest collections in Northern Europe with significant Nordic and international art work. (http://goteborgskonstmuseum.se/en/ )
- National Museums of World Culture is housed in an award-winning building designed by London based architects Cécile Brisac and Edgar Gonzales. Here you can experience a mixture of international architecture, contemporary art and much more. (http://www.varldskulturmuseerna.se/en/the-government/the-national-museum-of-world-cultures/)
- Röhsska Museum, focused on design, fashion and applied arts with a collection of over 55,000 objects. (http://rohsska.se/ )
- Göteborgs Konsthall, the centre for contemporary art in Göteborg, Sweden. Free admission. (http://www.konsthallen.goteborg.se/ )
If you like to venture out a little bit further you can make your way to the city centre where the Gothenburg City Museum is located. There you can explore the fascinating pre-history, the 19th century life, the development of the modern industrial Gothenburg and the only exhibited Viking ship in Sweden, Äskekärrsskeppet. While in the city centre you may also wish to explore the surrounding area to Magasinsgatan street, where you will find a variety of furniture and interior design stores like Artilleriet and Vallgatan excusive shopping area for fashion, arts and plants.
Day 10: Gothenburg
Today we have a visit to the Volvo Museum to immerse ourselves in the history and universe of everything Volvo. The museum displays 8000 square metres of cars, buses, machines, engines and unique concepts. The afternoon is at leisure to continue exploring this vibrant city.
Day 11: Gothenburg
We drive to Boras (approximately 1.5hrs drive) for a visit to the famous Swedish School of Textiles. This school is one of the top European textile education and research arenas. Dinner this evening is at the hotel.
Day 12: Växjö
After breakfast we depart by train to Växjö, our journey takes approximately 3 hours. On arrival we’ll be transferred to our hotel and after checking-in we’ll walk to the Swedish Glass Museum (Kulturparken Småland), Sweden’s oldest provincial museum with collections dating back to 1792. The glass collection is the source of the museum’s international reputation.
Day 13: Växjö
After breakfast, we travel to Kosta (approximately 1hr drive) for a tour of the Kosta Boda glassworks workshops. Kosta Boda was founded in 1742, and is still at the cutting edge of contemporary glassware designed by international artists. Upon our return to Växjö the remainder of the day is at leisure. Växjö Art Galley (Konsthall) is within walking distance, and displays local and international contemporary art, with free admission.
Day 14: Stockholm
Today we travel by train to Stockholm, the journey takes approximately 3.5hrs. On arrival we’ll be transferred to our hotel and the remainder of the day is at leisure. Our hotel is very close to a metro station and only one stop away from the city central station, alternatively, it’s possible to walk to the city centre as well (20-25min).
Day 15: Stockholm
Today we enjoy a morning guided sightseeing tour of Stockholm. We focus on new Thomas Sandell architecture; visit the Moderna Museet and the Swedish Museum of Architecture and Design, both located in the island of Skeppsholmen, which was traditionally a base for many military buildings due to the islands strategic position at the entrance of the Baltic Sea. After our visit we’ll return to our hotel using the metro.
Day 16: Helsinki
Our morning is free to explore the city at your own pace. Mid-afternoon we will be transferred to the dock and board our overnight ferry to Helsinki. Dinner will be served aboard.
Tallink Silja Line
Departing Stockholm at 4:30pm
Arriving Helsinki at 9:50am on 23 September
Day 17: Helsinki
Breakfast will be served aboard the ferry. On arrival in Helsinki we’ll be met by our local guide and taken for a tour to view the main sights of the city with a focus on the architecture of Eero Saarinen. Later we will visit Alvar Aalto House and Studio.
Helsinki boasts many museums as well local design shops. During your free time you may wish to visit:
- Kiasma – Museum of Contemporary Art: Part of the Finnish National Gallery, the Museum challenges and breaks the boundaries of a traditional art museum. As one the country’s leading contemporary art museums, its exhibitions are world-class, showcasing a range of national and international artists in a range of media. (https://kiasma.fi )
- Helsinki Art Museum (HAM) looks after an art collection that belongs to the people of Helsinki, which includes over 9,000 works of art including the statues in Helsinki. Some of its galleries are also dedicated to an exhibition of Swedish-Finnish writer and artist Tove Janssons (1914-2001) life and works; she’s the creator of the beloved Moomins characters. (https://www.hamhelsinki.fi/en/ )
- Ateneum Art Museum: Finland’s best-known art museum and the home of Finnish art. The collections date from the 19th century to the modern age. (https://ateneum.fi/?lang=en/ )
- Design Museum, devoted to the exhibition of both Finnish and foreign design, including industrial design, fashion, and graphic design (http://www.designmuseum.fi/en/visitors-info/ )
- The National Museum of Finland – Kansallismuseo, here you can learn about Finnish history from the Stone Age to the present day through objects and cultural history. One of the current special exhibitions is called 10,000 years of design – Man, Matter, Metamorphosis, focusing on the unique development of Finnish material culture and design as a result of a specific dialogue between society and ecosystem. (https://www.kansallismuseo.fi/en/kansallismuseo )
Day 18: Helsinki
We start our day with a walk to the city centre to visit Artek showroom where we meet the marketing manager for a talk. Later we visit the Marimekko flagship store located only a few minutes down the road from Artek. The remainder of the day is at leisure to continue exploring the city at your own pace.
Day 19: Helsinki
Today we travel to Iittala, located approximately 1.5hrs away from Helsinki where we have a guided tour of Iittala Design Museum and Glass Factory followed by some free time at their outlet store. We return to Helsinki early afternoon.
Day 20: Helsinki
Today the day is at leisure. We meet in the evening at the hotel lobby and walk to a nearby restaurant for our farewell dinner.
Day 21: Helsinki
After breakfast, the tour comes to an end.
- Group size is limited to a maximum of 15 participants.
Includes / Excludes
What’s included in our Tour
- 20 nights of hotel accommodation.
- 20 breakfasts, 2 lunches, 6 dinners.
- Transport in comfortable and modern coaches.
- Ferry services.
- Services of Tour Leader for the duration of tour.
- All excursions, entrance fees and local guides.
- Service charges and gratuities.
What’s not included in our Tour
- International airfares and departure taxes.
- Comprehensive travel insurance.
- Items of a personal nature such as telephone calls and laundry.
Participants must be able to carry their own luggage, climb and descend stairs, moderate walking on uneven surfaces between 3 - 5 kilometers per day. Suitable for most fitness levels
Make it a private tour
Book With Confidence
If less than 30 days before your tour starts you are unable to travel as a result of Government travel restrictions, Odyssey Traveller will assist you with a date change, provide you with a credit or process a refund for your booking less any non-recoverable costs.
See Terms and conditions for details.
Peace of Mind Travel
The safety of our travellers, tour leader, local guide and support staff has always been our top priority and with the new guidelines for public health and safety for keeping safe for destinations around the world, we’ve developed our plan to give you peace of mind when travelling with us.
See Peace of Mind Travel for details.
The tour provided a great insight into Denmark, Sweden and Finland, their designers, lifestyle and culture. The tour was a great balance of some free time and many visits to showrooms, workshops, galleries, museums, shops etc. To have so many activities pre-arranged was wonderful - the tour was good value and so interesting. Jennie R. Sep '18
How exciting it was to see glass being blown, go into one of the houses designed by Jorn Utson, and experience Scandinavian culture, sustainability and living - provided one escaped being run down by cyclists! John & Janice K. Sep '18
Reading List Download PDF
Directory of World Cinema: Sweden
Boasting landmark classics like Ingmar Bergman’s The Seventh Seal and screen legends such as Greta Garbo, Sweden is home today to a rich and exciting contemporary national cinema that comprises the works of a diverse group of cinematographers, including Tomas Alfredson, Roy Andersson, and Nils Arden Oplev, director of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.
In Directory of World Cinema: Sweden, Marcelline Block has assembled a team of leading international experts to situate Sweden’s film industry in a global context. Among the topics discussed in this volume are the characteristic genres of Swedish cinema—among them silent films, erotica, animation, and crime noir—and the great impact Swedish films have had on filmmakers internationally, especially in America and France for whose audiences Swedish films have often been adapted. Additional essays examine the significance of Swedish directors and actors—among them Ingrid Bergman—who have made a lasting contribution to global cinema. Completing this volume are reviews of classic and contemporary Swedish films and recommendations for further reading.
By Marcelline BlockAmazon
The Almost Nearly Perfect People: Behind the Myth of the Scandinavian Utopia
The Danes are the happiest people in the world, and pay the highest taxes.
'Neutral' Sweden is one of the biggest arms manufacturers in the world.
Finns have the largest per capita gun ownership after the US and Yemen.
54 per cent of Icelanders believe in elves.
Norway is the richest country on earth.
Michael Booth has lived among the Scandinavians, on and off, for over ten years, perplexed by their many strange paradoxes and character traits and equally bemused by the unquestioning enthusiasm for all things Nordic and hygge that has engulfed the rest of the world.
He leaves his adopted home of Denmark and embarks on a journey through all five of the Nordic countries to discover who these curious tribes are, the secrets of their success and, most intriguing of all, what they think of each other. Along the way a more nuanced, often darker picture emerges of a region plagued by taboos, characterised by suffocating parochialism and populated by extremists of various shades.
By Michael BoothAmazon
How to be Danish: A journey to the cultural heart of Denmark
What links Sarah Lund and Lars von Trier? Or Carlsberg and Kierkegaard? Or even Shakespeare and Metallica? The answer lies in Denmark, the country that has gripped the British imagination more than any other in recent memory. But though we watch their TV series, wear their jumpers, and play with their toys, how much do we really know about the Danes themselves? From Lego to lava lamps - via Borgen, The Killing, and the Muhammed cartoons - Patrick Kingsley takes us on a journey into the mysterious heart of Denmark.
By Patrick Kingsley
Nordicana: 100 Icons of Nordic Cool & Scandi Style
Over the last decade, the Nordic nations have quietly and unassumingly come to hold us in their thrall; but what is it, exactly, that we covet about their culture?
Nordicana celebrates the objects, aesthetics and traditions that have inspired our obsession, with a quick introduction to 100 icons of Scandi style and Nordic cool, accompanied by beautiful illustrations.
Whether it is the inimitable Faroe Isles jumper, made famous by TV detective Sarah Lund; the unusual-tasting delicacy salted liquorice; the ubiquitous Swedish Dala horse; the concept of 'hygge' (a feeling evoked by being in candlelit warmth with friends during winter); Midsomer seasonal celebrations; practical but breathtakingly stylish interiors; or an enduring love of noir literature and dramas, you'll find the key to attaining the Nordic way of life in these pages.
By Kajsa Kinsella
Design of the 20th Century
This is the bible of breakthroughs and inspiration in the design of the 20th century. Poised at the start of the 21st century, we can see clearly that the previous century was marked by momentous changes in the field of design. Aesthetics entered into everyday life with often staggering results. Our homes and workplaces turned into veritable galleries of style and innovation. From furniture to graphics, it's all here - the work of artists who have shaped and recreated the modern world with a dizzying variety of materials. From the organic to the geometric, from Art Deco, through to Pop and High-Tech, this book contains all the great names - Bernhard Bertoia, De Stijl, Dieter Rams, Philippe Starck, Charles and Ray Eames, to name only a very few. This essential book is a comprehensive journey through the shapes and colors, forms and functions of design history in the 20th century. This title offers an A-Z of designers and design schools, which builds into a complete picture of contemporary living. Lavishly illustrated, this is design in the fullest sense.
Scandtastic! Scandinavians are exceptionally gifted in design. They are world-famous for their inimitable, democratic designs which bridge the gap between crafts and industrial production. The marriage of beautiful, organic forms with everyday functionality is one of the primary strengths of Scandinavian design and one of the reasons why Scandinavian creations are so cherished and sought after. This all-you-need guide includes a detailed look at Scandinavian furniture, glass, ceramics, textiles, jewelry, metalware and industrial design from 1900 to the present day, with in-depth entries on over 200 designers and design-led companies, plus essays on the similarities and differences in approach between Norway, Sweden, Finland, Iceland, and Denmark. Also included is a list of important design-related places to visit for readers planning to travel to Scandinavia. It includes: designers- Verner Panton, Arne Jacobsen, Alvar Aalto, Timo Sarpaneva, Hans Wegner, Tapio Wirkkala, Sigvard Bernadotte, Stig Lindberg, Ingeborg Lundin, Finn Juhl...It also includes: companies - Fritz Hansen, Artek, Le Klint, Gustavsberg, Iittala, Fiskars, Volvo, Saab, Orrefors, Royal Copenhagen, Holmegaard, Arabia, Marimekko, George Jensen. ..
By Charlotte & Peter Fiell
Scandinavian Home: A Comprehensive Guide to Mid-Century Modern Scandinavian Designers
Scandinavian Modern was the most influential and enduring design movement of the 20th century, dominating the international scene in the 1950s and continuing to shape the way we live today. Architects and designers from Denmark, Sweden, Norway, and Finland, were responsible for a range of contemporary homes, furniture, textiles, ceramics, glassware, and other products that defined an entire approach to modern post-war living. What characterizes Scandinavian Modern is its approachability; the use of natural materials and organic forms combined with clean lines and attention to basic practicality and comfort. Scandinavian Home demonstrates this elegant, yet informal design at its best and most accessible.
By Elizabeth Wilhide
The Modern House in Denmark
The human being was at the center of Danish Modernism. Traditional craftsmanship and a high degree of quality influenced both design and architecture. Besides numerous groundbreaking public buildings, the fifties and sixties saw the design of many nearly ideal single-family homes based on an aesthetic that focused on being true to the materials, honesty in construction, and the reduction of form. Built of wood and brick and with practical, informal floor plans and large glass surfaces that opened up the interior of the house to nature, the best of these homes still fulfill their tasks to this day. This is a compendium of selected buildings in detail, including icons such as Utzon House by Jørn Utzon, Arne Jacobsen s Siesby House, or the Bøgh Andersen House by Jørgen Bo and Vilhelm Wohlert. It includes new, four-color photographs that document the buildings as well as discussions on the history of each one s design and construction. Biographies of the architects round out the volume.
By Michael Sheridan
Finn Juhl and His House
The Danish design scholar Birgit Lyngbye Pedersen discovered the work of Finn Juhl (1912-1989) when she was looking for a suitable sofa for her 1950s home. Juhl's furniture is undergoing a renaissance at present, and when his house in Charlottenlund--which he designed and decorated in 1941-42--came up for sale, Pedersen purchased the building and all of its furnishings, presenting it immediately afterward to the adjacent Ordrupgaard Museum. This monograph takes a look at Finn Juhl--who, alongside Hans J. Wegner and Arne Jacobsen, is one of the most important Danish modernists--in an agreeable, unpretentious fashion. Per H. Hansen, a renowned expert in Scandinavian furniture design, provides a humorous, extremely informative description of Juhl's unconventional character and his classic furniture--the Chieftain Chair, the Pelican Chair, the Poet Sofa. Drawings, photographs, images of the newly curated house (2008) and an amusing final chapter about his patrons round off this unusual and atmospherically illustrated tribute to the brilliant Danish designer and his own home, an icon of good taste.
By Per H. Hansen
Hans J. Wegner: Just One Good Chair
The name Hans J. Wegner (1914 2007) is inseparable from his unrivalled chairs, which helped Danish design to achieve its international breakthrough. Every design fan has his or her favorite from among Wegner s approximately five hundred creations. Today, there is a hardly a glossy interior design magazine that does not include an illustration of the elegant China Chair (1943) or the Y Chair (1950), and even John F. Kennedy sat on his Round Chair, which is now simply called The Chair (1949). Trained as a furniture maker, Wegner usually made his prototypes himself by hand, using traditional joinery techniques such as tongue-and-groove or finger joints. In the process he pushed the limitations of wood, giving his designs an unmatched elegance. His sense of humor did not fall by the wayside, either, as evidenced by his splendid Peacock Chair (1947) or the masculine Ox Chair (1960), that latter of which is available with or without horns.
By Christian Holmstedt Olesen
Do Design: Why Beauty is Key to Everything
So much passes us by, unnoticed. We multi-task, switch between screens, work faster. When was the last time you paused to consider a beautifully made object or stunning natural landscape? Yet this is when our spirits lift, our soul is restored. Designer Alan Moore invites us to rethink not only what we produce whether it s a website, a handmade chair, or a business but how and why. With examples including Pixar, Apple, Yeo Valley and Blitz Motorcycles, we are encouraged to ask: Is it useful and considered. Is it a thing of beauty? Do Design will inspire you to: Improve your creative process Raise the quality and craft of your work Consider the experience as much as the product Adopt simplicity, utility and honesty as guiding principles We are creative beings. We love to make things. This book will inspire you to create better things for better reasons. Things that people will love for a long time to come. Some say beauty is a luxury. But what if it is key to creating a better world for us all?
By Alan Moore
Swedish Design: An Ethnography (Expertise: Cultures and Technologies of Knowledge)
Swedish designers are noted for producing distinctive and elegant forms; their furniture and household goods have an especially loyal following around the world. Design in Sweden has more than just an aesthetic component, however. Since at least the late nineteenth century, Swedish politicians and social planners have viewed design as a means for advocating and enacting social change and pushing for a more egalitarian social organization. In this book, Keith M. Murphy examines the special relationship between politics and design in Sweden, revealing in particular the cultural meanings this relationship holds for Swedish society.
Over the course of fourteen months of research in Stockholm and at other sites, Murphy conducted in-depth interviews with various players involved in the Swedish design industry—designers, design instructors, government officials, artists, and curators—and observed several different design collectives in action. He found that for Swedes design is never socially or politically neutral. Even for common objects like furniture and other household goods, design can be labeled "responsible," "democratic," or "ethical"— descriptors that all neatly resonate with the traditional moral tones of Swedish social democracy. Murphy also considers the example of Ikea and its power to politicize perceptions of the everyday world. More broadly, his book serves as a model for an anthropological approach to the study of design practice, one that accounts for the various ways in which order is purposefully and meaningfully imposed by designers on the domains of human life, and the consequences those impositions have on the social worlds in which they are embedded.
By Keith M. Murphy