Why everyone wants to be a little bit Danish and some great new products for Christmas presents.
Read time: 5 minutes
Today I happened across the Hygge Christmas market near Kings Cross organised by City Guides. Now hygge seems to be the concept du jour at the moment with everyone from chefs to furniture makers promising us a piece of it. But what is it?
Well Wallpaper* tell me that it is a singularly Danish concept and word that unites the qualities of cosiness, calm, togetherness and the enjoyment of simple pleasures. Basically, home, whatever that means to you. Talk to any Danish person and they’ll tell you it is a vital to their daily lives and national identity.
Hygge seems to have been hi-jacked in the UK lately though as a bit of a marketing tool. You see adverts of beautiful people around fires laughing drinking mulled wine and wrapped in woollens. The kind of “If you buy this blanket and candle you’ll become the epitome of Scandi-cool and all your friends will love you more”. I’m being facetious here, I’m making no judgement except of myself, I’ve fallen for it hook line and sinker. But there’s a reason for it. And apparently many others too. It turns out we all want to be a little bit Danish.
“If you buy this blanket and candle you’ll become the epitome of Scandi-cool and all your friends will love you more”.
And who wouldn’t. They have a much better quality of life, progressive social policies and a kind of cool and calm temperament we in the UK can only dream of. Danes are consistently the happiest people in the world according to just about every happiness survey that has ever been done. They also bought us Borgen and The Killing which confirms their position of global cool superpower for me.
At this market they promised me the very best in Danish interiors, craft, fashion and food and it certainly delivered some seriously aspirational shopping. I came across a brand I’d never seen before too, Hay, which I immediately fell in love with everything they sold and wandered around their shop like a kid in a sweetshop. But it’s the kind of brand where realistically unless you chuck out everything you already own, re-buy everything Scandi and change your life wholesale, you’re still just messy imperfect you, just with a slightly nicer stapler.
I don’t think many of us have the commitment to minimalism needed for this lifestyle (I certainly don’t), but I do think perhaps hygge is why Denmark has been ahead of the curve for years when it comes to inclusive design; producing incredibly high quality, beautiful, creative craftsmanship that thinks about the experience and emotions evoked in the person using it. Perhaps it’s because that perfect sense of hygge is best achieved in the home and so the Danes have developed a bit of an obsession for interior design; objects and layouts that bring pleasure and satisfaction. I think we could all learn from their approach and benefit from being a little bit more Danish.
It appears to be the same for all the Scandinavian countries in fact. Few other places so consistently balance form and function so equally for the benefit of the user. It’s why I’m such a fan of Scandinavian Design Centre and am so frequently finding Pretty, Good products here and our testers consistently review them so positively.
Take a look at these silicone placemats for example, that turn your table into a geometric design feature, but also cleverly stop your dinner sliding around.
Tuva Cutlery is also a great product. To the outside eye it looks like any elegant flatware, but it has been specially designed with hollow handles to be perfectly weighted to fit comfortably in hands of all shapes and sizes from children to older people.
So, as well as a desire for a more hygglig life, I also found two new products at the Christmas Market I thought were Pretty, Good.
One was a 360 To Go Click cup by Stelton . Now we’ve seen something similar to these before and thought they were a pretty cool idea to help people with shaky hands. Basically it is a cup that doesn’t have a fully uncovered top so you have less surface area to spill, but the ones that currently exist are generally for children helping them move from sippy cups to bog standard uncovered ones. We tested one of these, known as Munchkin cups, a while back but our testers told us they tasted of plastic, had a weird suckling action and looked super child-like. It never made it to the site.
This one by Stelton, however, is really smart and wouldn’t look out of place in a Starbucks, if that’s your thing. It has a clever function that took away need for suckling with a click lid, which is really pleasing as well as working really nicely.
The next one was a light by Joel Hoff for Hay. It looks great, like a giant lightbulb with a very pleasing rotating action to dim and brighten the light. I thought it might be a touch lamp but actually you switch it on by turning the cuff. Great for folks who don’t want to deal with fiddly switches or wanting a bit more control over lighting levels. It’s also just really addictive to play with! A bit on the pricey side for everyday, but definitely something that we like. Having the power over the lighting level is a real bonus. No one ever wants it the same and now you can go from moody dinner party to eyebrow pluckingly bright in less than a second. We’re not surprised it was nominated for the 2015 Design of the Year by the London Design Museum and has won a plethora of other awards.
We’ll be testing both of these at our next testing cafe soon so keep an eye out for reviews and please do leave comments as always. In the meantime, wishing you all a very hygglig Christmas and New Year from The Pretty, Good Project. See you in 2017!