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Design history -

Scandinavian design: porcelain or the white gold of the Scandinavian style


Northern Europe is a region highly reputed for its porcelain and ceramics, and this plays a major role in the development of scandinavian design.

Scandinavian design: porcelain or the "white gold"

One of the oldest porcelain manufacturers is a Danish company that was a supplier by appointment to the country's royal family. This status lifted Royal Copenhagen to the forefront of Denmark's cultural life, thanks to its production of high-quality porcelain, then known as "white gold", and to be a major player in Scandinavian design. This rise to fame took place in 1780, and the models proposed are real artistic coloured pieces in rococo style. The patterns used are an eulogy to the profuse nature in the region, with motifs we find in abundance in scandinavian design.

Starting in the 19th Century, the company began to produce in neo-classical style, and took on the services of a major Danish sculptor who proposed a new contemporary and refined collection. The company subsequently passed into private hands, which led to greater profitability and renown. Royal Copenhagen's flourishing porcelain business was given a more modern look as the company forged partnership with designers, to the great delight of lovers of Scandinavian design.As is the case for many enterprises involved in Scandinavian design, the company was concerned about making its pieces available to everyone, while maintaining a high quality of design. It was thus logical that in the 20th Century, all sorts of pieces were displayed on the shelves; their grand specialised works of art sat cheek by jowl with the top-selling porcelain fruit juicer.

Ella glass vase

A key figure in Scandinavian design

Tapio Wirkkala from Finland was one of the major designers working on Scandinavian design with savoir faire and talent. An all-round artist, he had a close bond with the materials he worked with, gently, and which he turned into beautiful works. Tapio Wirkkala worked with glass, ceramics, metal and even wood, with a strong artistic identity, endeavouring above all to understand the material before him. The Scandinavian design he offers is characterised by simple and poetic lines , with a respect for the material used and the culture of his nation. The colours were also pure - plain black, white or translucid blue, all of which linked to tones found in nature. He attached particular importance to being involved in the production of the pieces he designed; vases, tea or coffee sets, plates or lights. His Scandinavian design is extremely innovative, despite a clear attachment to the principles of yesteryear, to the point of being timeless.

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