2016 Archive: Nordic Modernist Design

Tuesday 13 September, 2016

A remarkable collection of Modernist jewellery, glassware and ceramics will go on display for the first time at the National Museum of Scotland this month, when Nordic Modernist Design opens on Friday 23 September.

Nordic Modernist Design

Friday 23 September 2016 to 12 February 2017
National Museum of Scotland, Chambers Street, Edinburgh

Admission: FREE

A remarkable collection of Modernist jewellery, glassware and ceramics will go on display for the first time at the National Museum of Scotland this month, when Nordic Modernist Design opens on Friday 23 September.

This small display will showcase highlights of a private collection recently gifted to National Museums Scotland, featuring design classics by leading Nordic designers and manufacturers of the mid-20th century. Characterised by simplicity and functionality, and inspired by the nature, landscape, and climate of northern Europe, these Modernist creations continue to influence designers and manufacturers today.

Nordic Modernism emphasised the pleasures of domesticity, and the ideal that beautiful and useful objects should be affordable for all. The display will explore homeware of the period, including a set of candlesticks designed by the renowned Timo Sarpaneva, for Finnish glass manufacturer Iittala. These striking objects were inspired by glacial ice, typical of the naturalist forms that became a signature of Iittala’s production.

In the aftermath of the Second World War, a pared-down Modernist aesthetic also became popular in Nordic jewellery. Examples on display will demonstrate the ground-breaking way Scandinavian jewellers experimented with materials and minimalist forms. These include Danish jewellery designer Henning Koppel’s innovative organic design, responsible for changing the way prominent manufacturers approached jewellery production.

Sally-Anne Huxtable, Principal Curator of Modern & Contemporary Design at National Museums Scotland, said:

“We are delighted to present this exceptional collection of Modernist design for the first time. Beautiful as well as practical, the enduring appeal of these objects is testament to the innovation of Nordic and British designers and manufacturers in such a crucial period in the history of Modernism.”

Supported by the Embassy of Denmark.

For further information and images please contact Kirsten Cowie, Press Office, National Museums Scotland, tel 0131 247 4391, k.cowie@nms.ac.uk.

Notes to Editors

  1. National Museums Scotland is one of the leading museum groups in the UK and Europe and it looks after collections of national and international importance. The organisation provides loans, partnerships, research and training in Scotland and internationally. Our individual museums are the National Museum of Scotland, the National Museum of Flight, the National Museum of Rural Life and the National War Museum. The National Museums Collection Centre in Edinburgh houses conservation and research facilities as well as collections not currently on display.
  2. The National Museum of Scotland reopened in summer 2011 following a three-year, £50m redevelopment. With over 8 million visitors since reopening, the National Museum of Scotland is the most popular museum in the country outside of London (source: Association of Leading Visitor Attractions). The National Museum of Scotland was awarded ‘Gold’ Level Green Tourism Visitor Attraction status in 2016.


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