Combining minimalism with all-important functionality and the use of natural materials, designers from Sweden, Denmark, Norway and Finland have consistently led the way, emerging most prominently in the 50s. Though some of these original landmark designs may now be worth many thousands of pounds, the underlying aesthetic of Scandinavian design is as much about mass-production as it is about style, melding the two effortlessly in echoes of the social democracy that was popular in 50s and 60s Scandinavia.
You only have to look at the worldwide success of the Swedish company Ikea, founded in 1943 by 17-year-old Ingvar Kamprad, to see this notion at work, a company bringing affordable style into homes across the world. But it's the endeavours of a group of designers influenced by the German Bauhaus movement that have produced some of the most striking designs of all time.
Take Arne Jacobsen’s iconic 'egg chair', made for the Radisson SAS hotel in Copenhagen in 1958, and the Model 3107 chair, designs that are instantly recognisable whether you think you know them or not. Or Poul Henningsen's 1925 PH-lamp, a visionary, innovative light fitting which as well as looking beautiful with its obscured light sources, saved energy too. These are designs that, like much of Scandinavian design, have been copied the world over.
Modern designers like Ruud Ekstrand, who won the Excellent Swedish Design award in 1993 for his Primo chair, Marie-Louise Gustafsson with her mañana lamp and Henrik Thor-Larsen with his take on the egg chair, his own Ovalia bubble chair, all ensure that Scandinavian design continues to lead and maintain the world's fascination with simple function and innovation.