The Red Thread: Nordic Design, a new book published by Phaidon, is a beautifully presented survey of the Nordic region's hugely influential and enduring contribution to design, a uniquely elegant combination of function, simplicity and natural materials. 'The Red Thread', or as the Swedes say, den röda tråden, refers to the essence that links the experiences, styles and heritages of the many peoples of Norway, Denmark, Sweden and Finland. And in literal fashion, one is cleverly sewn into the grey cloth cover and binding of the book for a richer tactile experience. The first time I visited the Swedish capital of Stockholm, I was most looking forward to seeing first-hand in the city streets how their design philosophy, which really is a philosophy for living in that it encompasses all aspects of life, is reflected in the architecture, public spaces, art, fashion, food, lifestyle, systems and attitudes. Even their public mailboxes - minimalist, side by side in cornflower blue and yellow - will make you stop to appreciate the consideration that went into making such a utilitarian vessel an uplifting presence on the street. If you haven't witnessed this remarkable approach for yourself, the pages of The Red Thread will take you on a comprehensive Nordic tour in which you can explore just how optimistic, meaningfully connected and harmonious daily life can be.
The Red Thread has adeptly deconstructed this globe-spanning phenomenon into three distinct areas: Design to Improve Spaces; Design to Improve Life; and Design to Improve Relations. Each section is gloriously dense with colour photographic examples of Nordic objects - some very famous, some lesser known surprises, making it a must-have collector's title. I dare you not to feel a surge of overwhelming inspiration as you browse its pages; The Red Thread is pure joy for design fans or anyone who loves life.
The Red Thread, published by Phaidon is now available in hardback, 288 pages including 250 pages of illustrations.
Swan chair, Arne Jacobsen, Fritz Hansen, 1958
Print collection, Josef Frank, Svenskt Tend, 2015
Sideboard with Tray Unit, Finn Juhl, Bovirke, 1955 / Currently manufactured by Onecollection
Chanterelle vase, Tapio Wirkkala, Iittala, 1946
Butter mould, 1834
Corky Carafe and glasses, Andreas Engesvik, Muuto, 2011