‘Nordic Craft and Design’, Manchester Art Gallery’s new year-long exhibition showcases furniture, textiles, lighting, ceramics, glass, metalwork and jewellery from across the Nordic nations.
Themed around the principles of colour, line, shape, nature and water, the exhibition demonstrates the lasting impact Nordic designers and makers have made to global cultural history.
Covering the best of Nordic design, and those influenced by it, from the 1930s to the present day; the collection features important well known names such as Alvar Aalto, Arne Jacobson and Finn Juhl.
But what really stood out for me were a number of newer pieces. These included the exquisite ‘Letter’ crepe dress by Danish fashion designer Henrik Vibskov, Peter Jensen’s ‘Fanny’ printed plywood bag with its nod to the current ‘Japandi’ design trend, and the extraordinary ‘Ribbon Rocking Chair’ by leading British furniture designer Katie Walker.
All quintessentially Nordic, but proving just how influential and inspiring this unified and enduring style really is.
I also loved how recognisable everyday items, some of which I actually have at home, the Stelton EM Press Coffee Maker, Royal Copenhagen Fluted Contrast Mug and the Norman Copenhagen Norm 69 Lamp Shade where also exhibited alongside iconic pieces of furniture.
The gallery’s own collection is also complemented with national and international loans from institutions, private collectors, as well as some of my favourite Nordic brands, such as Marrimekko, Iittala, Georg Jensen and Louis Poulsen.
This exhibition shows that by focussing on form, functionality and quality craftsmanship, well designed everyday items can transcend generations to enhance the quality of our daily lives.
‘Nordic Craft and Design’ runs at Manchester Art Gallery from 6th July 2018 – 7th July 2019, during which the gallery will also be hosting a programme of events and activities.
For more information, click here.
All images by Nicola Capper.