Why Scandinavian design is a winner!

By Jonas Ericsson and Cecilia Skroder

You would know the concept of design is more important than ever when you can now open any daily newspaper to get a dose of ‘the latest designs’ through feature articles that are no longer confined to the poshy, pretty, glossy snooty design magazines.
So what’s with the sudden common interest in design?
Is it because it’s ‘all the rage’? A change of environment? or perhaps a simple display of individuality…
For the last 250 years, design has developed in Scandinavia for the above reasons, making it what it is today. (What is it like today? I am a common person, I am not sure what Scandinavian design status is like today)
Scandinavian design, as a phenomenon, can be traced back to the 18th century. The late French Empire designs adopted more Scandinavian styles (and budgets) by reducing ornamentation and simplifying the choice of lines and colours. Thus began the ‘minimalism appreciation’…
By the late 19th century, Swedish interior design was revolutionised by Karin and Carl Larsson, a designer/artist couple who introduced a  bold style of mixing and matching materials and colours previously unseen.  The evolution of Scandinavian design continued through the 20th century.
As globalisation trends away from being a potential state of affairs to being a decisive factor for business, the role of Scandinavian design began to increase significantly.  As the Danish designer Per Mollerup once stated:”design is a ‘language’” and has come to signify a refined minimalist style; the ‘Scandinavian’.
Those who are not Scandinavian may not know about its history, but will nonetheless make associations based on its core features; simple, clean cut yet functional.  These qualities translate to values such as honesty, reliability, openness, and creativity.  Success factors for businesses in a global market.
Anyone can supply fund management or network communication solutions but it takes something extra in order to distinguish oneself on the world market.  Companies that want to have a global impact today, wisely use all available avenues to communicate the message of their values and product quality to their customers.
According to Jonas Ericsson, Managing Director of STYLE:NORDIC in Singapore. it is important not to lose contact with one’s root as a global company. In a fiercely competitive global marketplace a company needs to demonstrate its uniqueness and heritage. 
“An ability to portray the company’s core values, interests and profile has become an important communication tool between company and clients, competitors and other stakeholders.” says Jonas, “No one wants to do business with a partner who is an unknown quantity.  We would like to know the “track-record” and have references that are hopefully in alignment with our own corporate vision and values.”
Interestingly enough, interior design can also contribute to a positive impact on business by displaying a company’s cultural heritage. By showcasing cultural responsibility, any large corporation would choose to assume abroad, act as an indirect sponsor or a promoter of its country, people and culture.
As an example, imagine walking into a bank with grey walls with a simple counter from which you can see more dull grey cubicles in an open space, lit morosely by fluorescent neon lights in the ceiling as compared to walking into a warmly lit office with light wood panelling, frosted glass and occasional details such as plants or fabrics, to brighten up the area (both examples exist in Singapore).
And the question would be, “How does it matter when an office is an merely an environment where a job is done? Nobody cares!”
The truth is, however, that it DOES matter.  Both psychologists and design experts agree; the visual environment will affect you, or anyone else, and to a greater extent than considered over 20 years ago
There are several levels in which the visual environment at a company will impact business. 
The general image your company is conveyed by being grey and fluorescent leading to a boring and institutional, unidentifiable place or bright, positive and welcoming (in this case with a Scandinavian identity).  This can also apply to websites, business cards, etc. which all create first impressions and form key elements of your corporate communication.
This illustration shows how a company’s identity can be perceived and how it may affect its business. 
Secondly, it has been proven that employees will be more productive in livelier and visually simulative environments. The dull office discourages less creativity than the bright office.  Additionally, an office with social spaces and a layout which gives people the opportunity to communicate with their colleagues will generates productivity.  The health of employees should not be overlooked; use ergonomically correct office chairs and light surroundings with functional furniture solutions promotes health benefits for employees.
The Scandinavian style has the advantage of being associated with positive values, as well as with design and style.  In today’s fast moving market it cannot be emphasised enough how important such values are for a business, when the bottom line, the one with figures, will not materialise solely because you have a good product to sell.

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