I have never been to Copenhagen but somehow I feel a connection to the city, the people, the overall way of life, and the Scandinavian aesthetic. There is an understated minimalism and high-quality craftsmanship that seems to emanate from this region of the world. The furnishings are simple, yet with a tendency toward subtle curves, a light and pale color palette, and natural materials, they command attention. And Scandinavians know just when to stop—the philosophy is always less is more! This point of view is without doubt influencing us here in America. For years and years, Camilla Vest had been answering the question “Where did you get that?” from her American friends. And often, the answer was that the goods at hand were imported from her mother city, Copenhagen. Finally, after realizing an obvious void in the American marketplace, Camilla created Goods We Love with her now-partner, Ricky Nordson. The two began repping brands previously impossible to find here in America.
I first featured Goods We Love on EyeSwoon last year as they recapped their 5 swoon-worthy things for the home. I was instantly obsessed with the form and function of their OGK daybed and yearned to learn more about the aesthetic. So this holiday season, I could not help but to want to experience the Nordic style of Christmas with Camilla and Ricky, the Danes I love so dearly. The restrained Scandinavian approach to design is even more evident at Christmas, where it is in stark contrast to the more-is-more American holiday aesthetic. No disrespect to our cherished holiday traditions in any way, but we tend to pile it on–green and red and lights all over! If there is ever a time for garish, over-the-top Americana, it is now—Christmas draws it out of us all. It’s even more reason for me to take a breather and experience the holiday the light and bright, Scandi way. Trade a bright red poinsettia for a sprig of greenery. And rather than twinkly, colorful lights, let a single candle make a statement.
As Camilla and I decided upon this Nordic holiday EyeSwoon feature, she invited me into her stunning SoHo loft to show me the Nordic holiday way. We baked and we set a stunning table together as I learned about the traditions she holds so dear. Bathed in a blanket of white, each of her classic Danish furnishings had its moment to shine and be appreciated. And stark the space was not—it felt layered in its minimalism and calming, to say the least. There was a clean, neutral palette with warm woods and touches of metal found in the brass tray table. My eyes fell upon simple items like perfectly soft kitchen linens, a single brass candle holder by Ilse Crawford, white ceramic vessels with delicate ribbed texture by Lyngby, and olive wood cutting boards and spoons by a favorite woodworker, Andrea Brugi. Upon the OGK daybed I’d long admired sat an effortless, textural wreath by talented NYC-based florist Lisa Przystup of James’s Daughter Flowers. Everything held its own. The pieces were selected for quality, not quantity. As I walked about the home from the kitchen to the bathroom to the dining room, the design thread was obvious. The furniture and tablewares were refined and pared-down at once, and they had an assertive elegance that felt like it was rooted somewhere else.
Camilla and I talked about some of the classic Nordic traditions surrounding the holidays, like making glogg, a kind of mulled wine, and baking brunkager, crisp, brown and paper-thin Danish cookies that incorporate the classic spices of cinnamon and cloves. Camilla spoke of the Advent candle and how it holds a significant presence in the home during the entire month of December. We talked a lot about the use of candlelight at this time of year, and Camilla shared that every morning before her children sit at the table and eat their breakfast before rushing off to school, she lights a single candle, just for the appreciation of candlelight. Candlelight is everything to the Scandinavian way of life, particularly in the winter. The Danish have a word for it—it is called hygge, which essentially translates to creating a cheerful, cozy atmosphere at home during the brutal, cold months. It’s a feeling, an experience—food, candlelight, warmth, family and friends, all expressing a blissful spirit of winter and of Christmas—and always, surrounded by beautiful, simple things.
In this post:
OGK Safari Daybed, designed by Ole Gjerløv-Knudsen, manufactured by Skovshoved Møbelfabrik & Co.
Georg Stool, designed by Christina Liljenberg Halstrøm for Skagerak.
Edge Pot, designed by Stilleben for Skagerak. Available in the US early spring 2017. For further information, contact goodswelove.nyc.
Edge Brass Plate, designed by Stilleben for Skagerak. Available in the US early spring 2017. For further information, contact goodswelove.nyc.
Cookie Candle Holder, designed by Ditte Buus Nielsen for Skagerak. Available in the US early spring 2017. For further information, contact goodswelove.nyc.
No 7 Chair, designed by Helge Sibast for Sibast Furniture.
Lyngby Porcelain Vase, designed by Lyngby Porcelain.
Tray Table, designed by Mette Hagedorn for BASE212.
Cutting Board, designed by Andrea Brugi.
Ilse Candle Holder – Brass, designed by Ilse Crawford for Georg Jensen.
Stackable Glass, designed by Norm Architects for Menu.
Matte White Big Spherical Lidded Container, designed by Julie Bonde.
Stainless Steel Pitcher, designed by Henning Koppel for Georg Jensen.