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New Series Focuses On Nordic Design


Written September 07, 2023

A new series of talks on Nordic design at the museum explores the influence and evolution of design in Denmark, Iceland, Finland, Norway, and Sweden. Experts from these countries and U.S. museums will discuss the evolution of a national school of design as well as the idea of pan-Nordic design.

Each session of "What Is Nordic Design?" will investigate the history of design in the country under consideration. Experts in the field from each Nordic country will be paired with a curator of design at a US museum for a stimulating conversation.

The roots of Nordic design can be traced back to the early 20th century, when a group of Scandinavian designers began to advocate for a new approach to design that was focused on simplicity, functionality, and beauty. These designers included Alvar Aalto, Arne Jacobsen, and Hans Wegner. Examples of their work can be found in the National Nordic Museum’s permanent collection.

In the 21st century, Nordic designers increasingly have focused on sustainability, social responsibility, and circular economy. Inspiring designers around the world, Nordic companies are leading the conversations on how to produce beautiful and functional products that are also good for the environment and for people.

The series kicks off on Sunday, October 1, 2023, with a talk on Finnish design. Susanna Thiel, Head of Collections at Design Museum in Helsinki, will be joined by Shelley Selim, Curator of Design and Decorative Arts at the Indianapolis Museum of Art at Newfields.

Additional talks in the series will be:

Friday, October 27, 2023, 6pm
Architect Marie-Louise Høstbo, who is Head of Design at Fritz Hansen, will be in conversation with Monica Obinski, Curator of Decorative Arts and Design, High Museum of Art, Atlanta, and co-organizer of the recent exhibition Scandinavian Design and the United States, 1890 – 1980.

Saturday, October 28, 2023, 11am
Sigríður Sigurjónsdóttir, Director, Museum of Design and Applied Art, Iceland, will be in conversation with Michelle Millar Fisher, The Ronald C. and Anita L. Wornick Curator of Contemporary Decorative Arts, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.

Sunday, October 29, 2023, 2pm
Nina Due, Director, Röhsska, Museum of Design and Craft, Gothenburg, will be in conversation with Sarah Holian, Curator, Frank Lloyd Wright Trust, Chicago.

Saturday, December 9, 2023
With Denise Hagströmer, Senior Curator of Design, Nasjonalmuseet, Oslo.

Tickets for the talks are free for Members and $5 for non-members. Tickets can be purchased online at