Exhibition: Scandinavian Design in Gent
The exhibition "Scandinavian Design – Beyond the myth" is on display at the Design Museum Gent, Belgium, from July 2 until September 19, 2004: a presentation of the past 50 years as well as the current state of Scandinavian design that extends beyond the myth.
Famous designers like Alvar Aalto, Bruno Mathsson, Arne Jacobsen and Poul Kjaeholm have influenced Scandinavian design, which is considered simple, functional and elegant. Traditionally, design from Sweden, Norway, Finland, Denmark and Iceland is seen as being closely connected with the modern and democratic cultures of these countries. Hence the myth that their citizens have such a practical and social attitude that they prefer design that is functional and affordable for everybody. Another cliché states that many natural materials are used in Scandinavian design because the Scandinavians have such a close relationship with nature. These and other stereotypes are examined in the exhibition and also, perhaps, revised: today's generation of designers is not only influenced by their own nationality but also by globalization and the state of technology.
The exhibition is divided into various categories: "Scandinavian design in a global perspective" comprises those objects that established the reputation of Scandinavian design during the 1950s, for example the "Ericophone" by Gösta Thames from 1953. "Symbols of modernism" presents a selection of modern classics, among them the legendary "Panton" chair by Verner Panton from 1960 and the "Margarethe" bowls by Sigvard Bernadotte and Acton Björn from 1954. The last category, "Loss of Stereotypes", mainly includes contemporary design, whose products demonstrate irony, a playful approach to national clichés and the serious reputation of Scandinavian design – for example the "Carrot Stand" by Mats Theselius from 1996. After stops in Berlin, Milan and Gent, the exhibition will go to Prague, Budapest, Riga, Copenhagen, Glasgow, Göteborg and, last but not least, Oslo in 2006.
The Design Museum Gent is showing its own large collection of Scandinavian design, structured by countries, in connection with the exhibition; it presents world-famous and also rare objects.
Design Museum Gent
Jan Breydelstraat 5
Further information at
www.scandesign.org and at