Søren Rose

Curator for Scandinavia

Nanna Ditzel once said that ‘if a design is timeless, it is never relevant’. But after 48 years of continuous success for her bestselling design for Kvadrat, Hallingdal, she would have disproved her own theory.

The Scandinavian design tradition is built on a particular combination of functionality and aesthetics. Simple forms and high-quality crafts-manship have defined the style since the Thirties and created the foundation for a long line of timeless design classics. Nanna Ditzel joins the same tradition with Hallingdal 65; a significant representative of the Scandinavian legacy. 

The high quality, heavy structure and extensive colour palette have made Hallingdal an ever relevant subject in design contexts. Used in so many public institutions and corporate spaces as well as in homes, it is an integrated part of everyday life in Scandinavia – to us it is associated with feelings such as safety, homeliness and warmth.

The six young designers chosen for this project each contribute in their own way to the story of the Hallingdal textile in new contexts. Though all quite different in expression, together the projects paint a picture of how a classic textile can be part of contemporary Scandinavian design.

Some of the projects show off the artistic possibilities within a space, like designer Sofie Brünner (Denmark) who has created Chroma. The sculpture in wood and braided fabric, with its square blocs of colours, refers to the weave in the dual-coloured Hallingdal textiles. Meanwhile Mads Hjort (Denmark) is a graphic designer who is marked by a humorous and caricatured universe. He contributes with a homage to Nanna Ditzel and Percy von Halling-Koch in the shape of two pixelated portraits of the two designers. 

Another playful product comes from Katrin Greiling (Sweden), who has designed a simple daybed-tent hybrid. David Taylor (Sweden) balances a heavy yet fragile expression with his freestanding mirrors. A mix between a beanbag, a monolith and a reflective surface gives a strong visual expression where Hallingdal carries and supports the heavy body. 

Front (Sweden) fell in love with an old patchwork technique and have created a unique story telling piece; a quilt that also illustrates three-dimensional potential. And finally Henrik Tjærby (Denmark) has come up with a collection of colourful footwear. With this he demonstrates the potential to use Hallingdal on a human scale.

All six designs from our young Nordic colleagues show that Hallingdal, both in large and small scale, is an infinitely adaptable textile that works in all settings, thereby walking hand-in-hand with Scandinavian design tradition both now and in the past.