When it comes to furniture and lighting, Danish and Dutch designs are my favorites. The latter is by no means a matter of chauvinism, being a Dutchman and all, but I admire the functionality and sharp look of the creations by designers as Cees Braakman (Pastoe), Martin Visser (Spectrum) and Willem Hendrik Gispen (Gispen). Of course the ‘great Danes’ from the 50s, 60s and 70s have a wider appeal. Architects and designers like Arne Jacobsen, Verner Panton and Poul Henningsen are world-renowned.
The Danes and Dutch are the only ones who have a proper word for a feeling that is hard to describe. We say gezellig, the Danes use hygge. Cosy does not quite grasp it. It’s a feeling you may find in company, sharing dinner, but you can also experience it on your own, sitting comfortably on the couch, hearing the sound of rain. A third possibility is a well-designed space. And by well I mean inviting. In The Netherlands we have the strange habit to use diminutive grammar for such places. ‘Een leuk hotelletje’ literally means a nice little hotel, but it doesn’t necessarily mean the hotel is small. It is just description of a warm feeling. Gezellig!
After dark my living and bedroom are not gezellig, they’re hygge. Most of the lamps in those rooms are Danish made. Long autumn and winter nights inspire the Danes to create lighting that is functional and beautiful at the same time. My Danish lamps all have one thing in common: the innovative design of indirect lighting. The widely acclaimed ‘flower pots’ by Verner Panton (the orange-red ones are original from the 70s, the chrome pieces by Innovation Randers in the early 00s) use a semicircle to shield the light bulb. Panton’s VP Globe consists of a smart cylinder and scales. Poul Henningsen is the absolute master of indirect lighting. His beautiful designs (PH5 and Henningsen inspired PH80) are directing light through the different components. Norm 69 lamp by Normann Copenhagen uses the same principle, but it’s a lot more affordable. The trick is, you have to put the 69 pieces of Norm 69 together by hand. Some patience is required, but it can be a hygge activity on a cold winter’s evening.