Swedish Modern – Scandinavian respect for design

In the 1930s, when modern Swedish design was becoming more well-known in Europe and the United States, this term became popular. However, it peaked in the 1950s. It combined many of Modernism’s characteristics with natural materials like wood and Scandinavian respect for craftsmanship.

The ‘beauty for all’ philosophy, which had inspired Ellen Key’s 1899 book Skรถnheit fรถr Alla, was the backbone of modern Swedish design, sustained by Gregor Paulsson’s 1919 publication Vackrare Vardagsvara (More Beautiful Everyday Things), and promoted by the Svenska Slรถjdfรถreningen (Swedish Society of Industrial Design) for the majority of the twentieth century.

Like its Danish counterpart (Danish Modern), the Swedish Modern style featured light coloured woods, organic shapes, and colour schemes with a predominance of white offset by colour accents in textiles, rugs, and ceramics. Josef Frank and Svenskt Tenn’s products were closely associated with the Swedish Modern promotion, as seen at international exhibitions in the 1930s, most notably the New York World’s Fair of 1939โ€“40.


Woodham, J. M. (2006). A dictionary of modern design. Oxford University Press.

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