Beyond the myth of Scandinavian design

 Date:19/06/2005 - 28/08/2005
 Type:Culture, Design
 Location:Scotland, Glasgow

The exhibition 'Beyond the Myth' will confirm the Scandinavian design movement as a crucial element in design history, but will also debate the myths and stereotypes that have flourished around this topic

Despite the mock funeral service held in 1980 for the term Scandinavian design by a group of Oslo designers, Scandinavian design ideals that emerged in the 1950s have survived in the Nordic countries. This must be seen, in part, as the result of an international interest in this period's design on a world basis. A number of international designers have found a source of inspiration in this "golden age" as well as in our contemporary Nordic design where the demand for minimalism, stylisation and a new interpretation has been dominant. Indeed, many Scandinavian designers have felt this earlier tradition to be a burden, but to an even greater number it has brought inspiration and self-assurance. In the course of half a century, Scandinavian design has become an established phenomenon, retaining its positive resonance. During the flowering of postmodernism in the 1970s and 1980s, there was less focus on the concept, but by the early 1990s however, it had made a comeback. Now the time has come for a serious reassessment of Scandinavian design, including all the countries in the Nordic community that have contributed to the formation of this identity: Denmark, Iceland, Finland, Norway and Sweden.

Traditionally, Scandinavian design has been associated with simple, uncomplicated designs, functionality and a democratic approach. These are the characteristics that must be reassessed in the light of recent research on modernism. In any case, Scandinavian design provides us with a paradigm in order to understand the making of the modern world, and we see that it still has meaning for people the world over. The concept has been a substantial theme for scholarly debates, enlightening exhibitions and marketing agendas for the last fifty years.

This exhibition will confirm the Scandinavian design movement as a crucial element in design history, but will also debate the myths and stereotypes that have flourished around this topic. In order to obtain a fresh view the exhibition has been structured on Italo Calvino’s Six Memos for the Next Millennium as a point of departure. Calvino emphasizes some values that will be important for creative people in the new millennium: Lightness, Quickness, Exactitude, Visibility, Multiplicity and Consistency. Such vital qualities are concepts that are easily associated with many aspects of Scandinavian design, and they have been used to determine the object groups in the main section of the exhibition. The two introductory parts of the exhibition show the early period of Scandinavian design. The final part, Stereotypes Galore, presents a parade of objects paraphrasing articles associated with Scandinavian design and the Nordic image.

(Prof. Dr. Widar Halèn).

The exhibition is being financed by the cultural committee of the Nordic Council of Ministers.

For more information about the exhibition, please click here.

Date: 19th June - 28th August 2005
Place: The Lighthouse, Mitchell Lane, Glasgow

Opening Hours:
Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday & Saturday 10:30 am - 5:00pm
Tuesday 11:00 am - 5:00pm
Sunday 12:00 pm - 5:00pm

Entrance Prices:
Adult - £3.00
Child under 5 - free
Child/youth up to 16 - £1.00  
Student with Identification - £1.50
Unwaged - £1.50
Pensioner - £1.50




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