#42 - IMM Special

The New Minimalism in Home Living

Courtesy of IMM

Ever wonder what the big deal is with minimalism in designing spaces? Scandinavian designers and brands offer insight at this year’s IMM Cologne


With everything instant and connected, our minds are constantly filled with the next step and our actions are nonstop. We are literally occupied in every sense, which is why minimalist spaces are à la mode.

To be minimalist today implies a sense of simplicity or bareness, and Scandinavian design responds to this with spaciousness and openness. The use of organic and handmade materials, combined with color and placed throughout spaces that celebrate natural sunlight or candlelight which generate a sense of calm, earn Scandinavian design its global appreciation.

The Scandinavian design movement based on the Danish word hygge (pronounced hew ga) that exploded over the last few years took the concept of coziness and ran with it. It derives from a sixteenth-century Norwegian term, hugga, meaning “to comfort” or “to console,” which is related to the English word “hug.” Hygge exemplifies a lifestyle of contentment and cuddles.

Comforting and full of feeling, Hygge may be a response to an overloaded schedule or even a worn-out, overstressed spirit. Scandinavian minimalism answers the need for order and calm in a hyper-connected society.

Image from an interview with author Charlotte Abrahams on SelfBuild: https://selfbuild.ie/advice/home-is-where-the-hygge-is/

Image from an interview with author Charlotte Abrahams on SelfBuild: https://selfbuild.ie/advice/home-is-where-the-hygge-is/


Nicholas Koed, the marketing manager from the Danish company Woud told ArchiExpo e-Magazine:

I think hygge became known because of the Scandinavian minimalist trend. To me hygge is close to the opposite of minimalist living. Hygge is warmer, more decorated, with more feelings, less attention to material things and more attention to love. When I read about new/modern Scandinavian minimalism, it makes me wish that we would live more cozy and personal.

“I think both trends are popular because they are contrasts to each other, but both are very spacious in their own way. The minimalist lifestyle being very spacious in the way of decorating and the hygge lifestyle in terms of being spacious for feelings, time and personalities.”

Woud's Nakki two-seat sofa made of tan leather

Woud’s Nakki two-seat sofa made of tan leather


Lagom Balances Hygge and Minimalism


“Remember to add your favorite personal artifacts to your space instead of storing them in a box.”

However, the two don’t have to be in conflict. The new, new Scandinavian minimalism, lagom, offers the perfect marriage of the two. This Swedish word, which fittingly means ‘a little bit of this, a little bit of that’ or ‘just enough,’ is all about balance. Think of Goldilocks as a practitioner of lagom. Utilizing moderation and placing value on sustainability, this design approach also adds a hint, not a pile, of personal details to the mix. Giving defining pieces their place and not cluttering the surrounding areas will allow for stylish calm.

“For me, it’s more a feeling than a trend,” Koed continued. “So how do we live or decorate with a feeling? I listen to myself and live by that. This means using warmer materials such as solid oak wood, fluffy textiles, warm colors on the walls. Remember to add your favorite personal artifacts to your space instead of storing them in a box.”


Here’s a sprinkling of IMM Scandinavian exhibitors and how they demonstrate the new, new Scandinavian Minimalism:

WOUD will launch a brand new shelving system named ELEVATE. Made of solid wood and veneer oak, ELEVATE is customizable so users can build to meet their own needs. Woud’s Koed added, “The shelving system corresponds to the Scandinavian minimalist feeling by allowing the user to decorate with clean lines and genuine material.”

Elevate by Woud. Courtesy of Woud. imm interior design scandinavia archiexpo

Elevate by Woud. Courtesy of Woud. Find all new products here.


&Tradition’s current furniture and lighting collection adds pizzazz to a space, but not the kind that screams, Look at me! The company works with renown designers such as Luca Nichetto, Jaime Hayon, Sebastian Herkner and more. Find the latest here.

Courtesy of &Tradition


Softline’s sleek furniture steps up with a bit of funk, creating noteworthy shapes that bring color to a space, adding just the right amount of flair. The company presented its latest products including the Kollur, Noomi and Sisters seating options.

Noomi seating (left) and Sisters (right) by Softline. Find all new products here.


Muuto, meaning ‘new perspectives’ in Finnish, presents fiber-based chairs that reveal the unique texture of a material that is 25% wood. The company is known for its fun wall Dots and has just released the latest: The Dots Extra Small by Lars Tornøe. Its Mimic Mirror by Normal Studio depicts the company’s relationship to wood.

Fiber stool, dots, ply rug, folded shelves, mimic mirror, E27 pendant by Muuto

Fiber stool, dots, ply rug, folded shelves, mimic mirror, E27 pendant by Muuto. Find all new products here.

The Finnish company Woodnotes began as an artistic textile company that made products with yarn spun from paper. This hand-crafting backbone enables the company to offer the organic elements needed for a cozy atmosphere. Its latest products include the two-toned San Francisco carpets, Cloud blind fabrics, Cloud table textiles, Saimaa outdoor upholstery fabric and Twiggy table in black. It earned the German Design Award winner 2018 for its Siro + Bar Stool.

Woodnotes Siro+ bar stools

Woodnotes Siro+ bar stools. It’s made of oak and finished with a polished wax or stained black.

About the Author

Erin Gigl is a freelance design and travel writer, editor and artist.

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