1st21 2013 - 1stDibs: Antique and Modern Furniture, Jewelry, Fashion & Art



The clean, organic shapes, comfortable furnishings and neutral colors that define Scandinavian Modern design bring an ease, functionality and warmth to the spaces they inhabit. No wonder the broad collection available on 1stDibs, including a strong showing of Danish and Swedish pieces, remains so popular. The serenity and humanity evoked by this aesthetic seems perfectly suited to our lives today.

Interior by Neal Beckstedt Studio

Born in Finland, Paavo Tynell would go on to create design that epitomizes the functional minimalist aesthetic of Scandinavian Modern. He became a master craftsman in metalwork and eventually turned to lighting design, collaborating with leading figure including Alvar Aalto and Kaj Franck.


Born in Finland, Paavo Tynell would go on to create design that epitomizes the functional minimalist aesthetic of Scandinavian Modern. He became a master craftsman in metalwork and eventually turned to lighting design, collaborating with leading figure including Alvar Aalto and Kaj Franck.


This subtle decorating style is all about achieving the perfect balance of old and new, spareness and layers. Here are four techniques for achieving the lagom look at home.


Creator Spotlight

5 Names to Know in Scandinavian Design

Scandinavian modern designers adhered to centuries-old beliefs of both quality craftsmanship and the ideal that beauty should enhance even the humblest aspects of daily life. The contributions of five of this movement's most renowned creators still reverberate decades later.

5 Names to Know
in Scandinavian Design

This Danish architect and designer was among the first to extol the virtues of grace, craftsmanship and utility of Scandinavian modernism to a global audience. A stylistic maverick, Juhl embraced expressive, free-flowing shapes in chair and sofa designs much earlier than his colleagues, yet even his quietest pieces incorporate supple, curving forms that are elegant and ergonomic.

A leading figure in Swedish textile design in the early 20th century, Märta Måås-Fjetterström introduced a more cosmopolitan spirit to the tradition-bound craft of rug weaving, creating some of the era’s most divine carpets — works that are elegant yet have a handmade warmth and honesty.

Best known for his chairs and seating pieces — though a master of many furniture types like sofas and tables — Hans J. Wegner was a prolific designer whose elegant, often ebullient, forms and devotion to the finest methods in joinery made "Danish Modern" a popular byword for stylish, well-made furniture in the mid-20th century.

With their fluid lines and sculptural presence, Arne Jacobsen’s signature pieces — the elegant Swan chair and the cozy-yet-cutting edge Egg chair — were immediate hits upon their debut in 1958. They remain iconic representations of the singular aesthetic of the designers of the era and their shared study of practicality and comfort.

Among the great mid-20th century Danish furniture designers, Børge Mogensen distinguished himself with his abiding faith in traditional values of craftsmanship and honesty of materials. He focused on making pieces that were simple, durable and comfortable — and in the long run, perhaps more useful and better loved.

Märta Blomstedt
Sheepskin Wing Chair, 1930s

Axel Einar Hjorth
Sandhamn Table, 1929

Ib Kofod-Larsen
Seal Chair, 1950s

Kai Kristiansen
Chest of Drawers, 1960

Seller Spotlight

"I have always been fascinated by Scandinavian design from the post-war period — it's usually very playful and colorful. We help customers all over the world find Scandinavian modern pieces. Recently, a customer found original wall lamps that had been sold, but we were able to help her by sourcing them on 1stDibs."

Warm Modernist Wishes

These five designers took an aspirational (and intentional) approach to their client's spaces. Visionaries in every sense, they infused their room with a Scandinavian-like sense of purpose and extraordinary graciousness.

SoHo Penthouse
by Neal Beckstedt Studio

"With the clients’ love of rare and historic collectibles as a springboard, I chose pieces with a soothing palette and a subtle contrast. It brought a curated, yet relaxed, sense of order to the sizeable space — which is perfect for a festive gathering or an evening for two."

— Neal Beckstedt


Beverly Hills Home
by Madeline Stuart

"I love creating rooms filled with vintage furniture that exudes a ‘modern’ sensibility. For me, that means establishing a through-line for the individual pieces and objects, so there’s a dialogue between them — I feel that helps to establish a sense of calm and quiet. Not everything needs to be from the same period or possess a similar style—it’s more about balancing shapes and scale with comfort."

— Madeline Stuart


New York Apartment
by Kerry Joyce Associates, Inc.

“My goal was to create an oasis of calm and tranquility high above the hum of New York City. The warm, lush envelope punctuated with touches of intense cobalt frames an exquisite view of Central Park. I like my interiors to feel at rest. I care about every detail — no matter how small — to create the intangible feeling of well-being.”

— Kerry Joyce


Brooklyn Townhouse
by Elizabeth Roberts Architects

"Even in the basement of a 150-year-old 11-foot wide house and even with vintage furniture I believe it's possible to create a space that captures the light and has a warm modernist feel. In this space, it might be tempting to paint everything white in order to lighten it up but instead, we chose to expose original joists in the ceiling above to add warmth and texture. We treated the fireplace as a sculpture with a plaster finish that captures the light at different angles and creates a glow even without a wood-burning fire."

— Elizabeth Roberts


Dallas Residence
by Damon Liss Design

"For this Great Room in Dallas, the rustic beams and limestone fireplace created a great backdrop for a warm and modern room. With an abundance of natural light, we added sheer draperies to soften and filter the light. Stained wood built-in cabinetry echoes the warm wood of the beams. Vintage furniture with patina is upholstered in textural, natural fabrics and metals in the chandelier and decorative pieces add a rich, earthy layer that reflects the soft light."

— Damon Liss


Baltimore Loft
by Laura Hodges Studio

"I love to combine wood tones with black and white for a minimal neutral palette that feels modern and inviting. I wanted the light and airy stairs to almost float in the space so we designed them with minimal materials that highlight the structure. To balance the stairs, we created a gallery of sepia-toned photography under the stairs. When all of the photography is a similar color, varying the size and frames creates a more dynamic gallery wall."

— Laura Hodges


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