The 2014 Christmas Rooms at the American Swedish Institute celebrate “Christmas By Design” with a look at how design plays a role in creating holiday traditions, and how these traditions influence modern design.
Danish designers emphasize the qualities of the materials they use. They do not use overly ornament nor do they disguise the materials. Wood warms a room. Natural materials, like rush woven seats, are homey. These evoke hyggelig (coziness), which is associated with holiday traditions in Denmark.
In many homes the tree is decorated with traditional Danish flags and woven heart baskets, and on Christmas Eve is pulled out to the middle of the room so everyone could dance around it singing songs.
The Danish American Center selected Arne Jacobsen as the featured designer for this year’s ASI Christmas room exhibit.
Arne Jacobsen (1902-1971) was an architect and designer. He was educated at the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts and, in addition to his private practice, was a professor at the Academy from 1956-65. He had great influence over the generation that followed him.
As a designer, Jacobsen made prototypes for furniture, textiles, wallpaper, and silverware among other things. Among his most famous designs are The Ant™ (designed for Novo Nordisk canteen) (1952), Series 7™ (1955), The Egg™ and The Swan™ (1958), and the tableware Cylinda-Line (1967).
The Swan™ as well as the Egg™ were designed for the lobby and lounge areas at the SAS Royal Hotel in Copenhagen. The commission to design every element of the hotel building as well as the furniture was Jacobsen’s grand opportunity to put his theories of integrated design and architecture into practice. In 1958 the Swan was a technologically innovative chair: No straight lines – only curves.
Jacobsen personifies Danish Modern style. His work is classic and has stood the test of time still looking elegant 60 years later. He employed innovative construction techniques like steamed bent wood in his series 7 chair, and seamless stainless steel cylinders in his Cylinda line of tableware for Stelton. Stanley Kubrick chose his flatware to use in his futuristic film 2001, A Space Odyssey.
The Christmas Rooms Exhibit at ASI runs through January 11, 2015.
ASI is located at 2600 Park Avenue in Minneapolis. Call 612-871-4907 for hours and admission.