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‘Scandinavian Dreaming’ explores the tenets of Nordic design

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What is Scandinavian design, and why is it everywhere?

Interior of a large industrial space with concrete walls and floors and a metallic ceiling.
This Swedish holiday home used to be a locomotive shed built in the 1920s. It was converted by designed by Niklas Larsen and Fanny Nelson.
Photography by Henrik Nero / Alexander White Real Estate Agency, from Scandinavia Dreaming, Copyright Gestalten 2016

What makes Scandinavian design Scandinavian, and why does everyone want in on it? We’ve explored the matter in depth here, and it comes as no surprise that the Nordic region has put together a team lead by Danish bigwig Bjarke Ingels to continue to expand its branded reach.

Yet the easiest way to understand why it seems that every perfectly appointed home and cool office features sleek yet classic, unassuming furniture, or an aesthetic that is at once mindful of natural materials and poignantly sophisticated, is to simply look.

A new book by Gestalten titled, aptly, Scandinavian Dreaming lays it all out in one delectable package. And though it may seem unfair to lump the Nordic countries of Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden into “one big, blond-wood pile,” as the introduction notes, there’s still an undeniable tie that binds them together.

There’s the fact of the harsh weather and the even more severe terrains, but also of optimism, and of entrepreneurship coexisting harmoniously within a welfare state. There’s the element of fairytale and furry animals: of elves and trolls as well as polar bears and reindeer.

Mostly, though, it’s the spirit of cooperation and harmony—whether with the environment or an object—that makes Scandinavian design work for a wide swath of people, no matter where they’re form.

Below, take a peek inside the book, which showcases interiors, architecture, objects, and people that embody that Nordic touch.

GUBI is a design house founded in Copenhagen in 1967.
Photography by GUBI, from Scandinavia Dreaming, Copyright Gestalten 2016
This holiday home is located on a secluded site in Gotland, Sweden.
Photography by Henrik Nero / Alexander White Real Estate Agency, from Scandinavia Dreaming, Copyright Gestalten 2016
This corner apartment in Stockholm was designed by Tim Scheibel and Anna-Carin Windahl.
Photography by Henrik Nero / Alexander White Real Estate Agency, from Scandinavia Dreaming, Copyright Gestalten 2016
This island home sits close to the Arctic Circle on Vega Island in the Norwegian archipelago.
Photography by Ake E:son Lindman, from Scandinavia Dreaming, Copyright Gestalten 2016
Dubbed Inner City Blue, this Stockholm residence was designed by Note Design Studio.
Photography by Note Design Studio, from Scandinavia Dreaming, Copyright Gestalten 2016
The Vipp is an all-inclusive prefabricated cabin that be delivered anywhere.
Photography by Anders Hviid, from Scandinavia Dreaming, Copyright Gestalten 2016