It’s difficult to pinpoint that elusive quality that elevates a well designed object above ordinary functionality and good looks, into the status of a design icon. Since the first half of the 20th century, Nordic design brands have developed an extraordinary knack for exactly that. These companies, and the influential designers that have been so key to their success, have developed a unique vocabulary– the result of an ongoing conversation between nature and industry – that is woven into everything they do.

Together the brands created organic modernism in the early to mid-20th century, and ever since they have been exploring how functionality and an instinctive, natural approach towards craftsmanship can co-exist. The Nordic landscape, materials and way of life are an integral part of their identity and the objects they produce. Carl Hansen & Søn, Iittala, Marimekko and Fritz Hansen are some of the most iconic pioneers within the diversity of Nordic design. While their products are profoundly different – from glassware to furniture and textiles – their most influential pieces share a few common ingredients; traditional skills and craftsmanship, high quality materials, rounded forms and above all, a rich heritage. Here, we delve into the stories and craftsmanship underlying some of these iconic pieces of Nordic design, spanning more than six decades.

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