Historical perspectives on Nordic design - with Tess Josefsson Bergqvist

For this new blog post, I have interviewed my dear friend Tess Josefsson Bergqvist, who works as an architect in a studio located in central Göteborg, Sweden.

If you remember reading that last name somewhere else in the blog, you are completely right. Tess is the wife of Richard, guest of the first interview for my blog (scroll down a couple of blog posts to find it). A design couple, yes!

Me and Tess share a passion for understanding historical and social trends and events.  I could not resist asking her some questions about how she sees the current trends being intertwined with design. 

If you have the historian flair, you will surely enjoy it!

1) So, Tess. White is a color widely used in Nordic design, especially in interiors. The need to brighten up the rooms in the long, dark winters is probably the main reason for this. However, the trends in wall painting and industrial design, too, have been featuring darker tones, lately. Green shades and greys are increasingly popular. Why do you think is this trend spreading?

Grey-based color palettes are getting popular - my moodboard on the theme.

Grey-based color palettes are getting popular - my moodboard on the theme.

I would say that one reason is simply that the pendulum is shifting out of favor of an all white interior, as all trends are shifting sooner or later.

Why it is shifting towards the specific shades of green and gray is harder to answer.

These are drowsy colors, creating a comforting atmosphere. Maybe a perceived hostility in the outside world is increasing the need for a home to be a safe space. A stylish and snug haven for relaxation. 


2 ) Hygge was a very popular term in 2016. Do you think the Swedish word "mysigt" carries the same meaning with it?

I think they are similar in essence, but "hygge" is including a bit more of eating and drinking than "mysigt" is, the same way as we imagine Danes are indulging in those things a bit more than Swedes do.    

3) How much influence from foreign countries is there in Swedish design? Or do you think Swedish design draws inspiration mainly from within the country´s traditions and values?

I think Swedish design is extremely influenced by the international movement.

Sweden was a very poor country for very long time, but that changed with the second wave of industrialism, modernism and socialism during the first half of the 20th century.

Maybe that is why Swedish design has embraced the modernist ideals of the international style so thoroughly.

I would say that the inspiration drawn from within the country's traditions and values is secondary to the modern influence. It adds a flavour or tint to a design mainly rooted in an international design movement, which in turn was based on pan European heritage and was drawing inspiration from all over the world - most notably from Japan.

Thank you so much, Tess!