The exhibition Scandinavian Design of Everyday Life showcases selected items from connoisseur and author Thomas Lindblad’s unique collection of everyday items designed in Scandinavia.
In the decades between the 1930s and 1970s, a host of Scandinavia’s best designers began creating housewares that have since gone on to become sought-after classics. As new ideas and new materials stoked the fires of progress, the post-war era saw businesses begin to compete to provide consumers with the best possible products – housewares with a long lifespan that combined good form and function with affordability.
Beginning in the 1910s, Svenska Slöjdföreningen (the Swedish Society of Crafts and Design) ran a successful campaign aimed at engaging artists as designers in Sweden’s crafts industry. One forum where this pioneering approach was promoted was renowned Swedish art historian Gregor Paulsson’s book Vackrare Vardagsvara (Beautifying everyday items) (1919).
New materials such as aluminium, plastic and stainless steel made low-cost mass production possible. Glass-pressing technology was also refined, making pressed glass goods both durable and affordable. Following the Second World War, Danish, Finnish, Norwegian and Swedish designers were given free rein to create everyday items, and dedicated themselves to this new task with great earnestness. This era of design-influenced production reached its peak between 1960 and 1970.
Consumer organisations provided the driving force behind the development of functional utility items and their manufacture was reviewed by housewives’ associations, among others. It is no exaggeration to say that never have so many well-made saucepans and other household items seen the light of day as they did in Scandinavia during the 1960s. Scandinavian advancements in houseware manufacturing went on to attract interest and win awards at international exhibitions and trade shows.
Thomas Lindblad’s collection has been 25 years in the making, and is currently the only collection of its kind. As display pieces for this exhibition, Lindblad has selected both classics manufactured in the millions as well as more obscure items that nonetheless embody important leaps in modern thinking. Discover − or perhaps rediscover − Thebe utensils, the Party saucepan, the Piruett spork, the Röda Clara tin opener, the Kaffemoster vacuum flask, the Bernadottepannan coffee kettle and the Zoom tableware set in melamine. Many of these items are still in daily use, making them prime examples of sustainable design.
The exhibition is complemented by Thomas Lindblad’s book Design till vardags (Design for everyday life) (2021), which will be available to browse as part of the exhibition and to purchase in the museum’s gift shop.
Scandinavian Design of Everyday Life is a travelling exhibition created by Thomas Lindblad and Tove Alderin Studio. Kulturen in Lund is the first museum to host the exhibition.
On view from 24 September 2022 to 27 August 2023.