Getting cozy with Danish Design


By Wava Carpenter

When I think about Danish design, I always remember a term I learned in graduate school: hygge. Pronounced a bit like “hooga,” it’s an untranslatable concept (of Norwegian origin) that’s believed to be a cultural response to the low light and extreme cold of the Nordic lands. In short, if you can’t enjoy the outdoors, then it only makes sense to ensure your indoors are as inviting, comfortable, and functional as possible.

To get more insight, I reached out to my former professor of Scandinavian Design, Christopher Mount (who founded his eponymous gallery in L.A. in 2014) to see if he could tell us more. Here’s what he had to say.

Finn Juhl's house outside of Copenhagen Finn Juhl's house outside of Copenhagen © Onecollection / House of Finn Juhl
“The best description I can think of is the warm and cozy feeling you would have while lounging on a comfortable couch, reading a good book, and drinking a hot beverage, snuggled with a loved one on a wet, cold day. It means to be contentedly cozy, in a kind of simple and romantic way. All of the classic, midcentury Danish furniture—by Finn Juhl, Hans Wegner, Børge Mogensen, Arne Jacobsen, and Nanna Ditzel—has a kind of warm, soft, and 'hyggely' quality.”

All of the designers and architects named by Mount possessed a striking ability to blend sophisticated aesthetics with traditional craftsmanship; their forms always seem to welcome and embrace you while maintaining an exciting sculptural form.

In an ode to the contentedly cozy—and all the understated sophistication and over-the-top craftsmanship to come out of Denmark—click through the slideshow to see some of our favorite Danish masters of hygge

  • Text by

    • Wava Carpenter

      Wava Carpenter

      After studying Design History, Wava has worn many hats in support of design culture: teaching design studies, curating exhibitions, overseeing commissions, organizing talks, writing articles—all of which informs her work now as Pamono’s Editor-in-Chief.

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