AT Asia: 北欧デザイン (Scandinavian Design)

AT Asia: 北欧デザイン (Scandinavian Design)

Gregory Han
Dec 6, 2007
(Image: Nordic Modernism: Design and Crafts)

This probably isn’t new to anyone who knows anything about trends in Japan, but for those who don’t, Scandinavian design—especially furniture and other household goods—is extremely popular.  I’ve heard someone refer to it as the second wave in popularity; I’m not sure when the first wave was, but this current round seems to have begun a few years ago and is still going strong... This probably isn’t new to anyone who knows anything about trends in Japan, but for those who don’t, Scandinavian design—especially furniture and other household goods—is extremely popular.  I’ve heard someone refer to it as the second wave in popularity; I’m not sure when the first wave was, but this current round seems to have begun a few years ago and is still going strong. This popularity seems to have reached a peak of sorts as of late.  Every bookstore of reasonable size seems to have at least a small section dedicated to Scandinavian design and crafts, and just the other day, I realized that three different magazines I occasionally check up on all have features on Scandinavian design in their latest issues: 1.  spoon (December 2007) (This is a bimonthly magazine and therefore December 2007 is still the latest issue.)  While the headlines on the cover only mentions Sweden in particular, the main feature is on Scandinavian handicrafts.
2.  So-en (January 2008) The section on “Scandinavian Design Today” has articles like “How much can you buy at IKEA with 10,000 yen?” (currently the equivalent of $90.16 USD) and “Scandinavian Modernism & Anti!? Scandinavian Modernism.”
3.  Lmagazine (January 2008) Lmagazine, or Eru-maga, is a Kansai-based magazine and therefore the spotlight shines on shops located in the Kansai region that sell Scandinavian design objects.  Other features include Marimekko, Moomin, and the IKEAs scheduled to open in Kobe and Osaka.
Although the traveling exhibition entitled Nordic Modernism: Design and Crafts is already on its last leg in Tokyo, with the two new (huge!) IKEAs opening soon in the Kansai region and many many other magazines and books on the subject being published one after the other, it looks like the Scandinavian design boom won’t be waning just quite yet. For those of you who are in Tokyo and are interested in catching the exhibition, it ends on January 14 (Mon./holiday). —Ellie
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