Malmö-based vintage dealer Claes Schalling tells us why midcentury Scandinavian design will never go out of style


Forever Design

Finn Juhl, Hans Wegner, Børge Mogensen. The designers that contributed to the very definition of Scandinavian design in the 20th century remain heroes to today’s design lovers—as much or more so as when they were alive. Everyone has a theory about why this special moment in design history never goes out of style, but we decided to ask an expert to share his point of view. As a dealer specialized in this work for nearly two decades, Malmö-based Claes Schalling has witnessed the steady demand first hand.

 

Pamono: After years and years of popularity, midcentury Scandinavian design shows no sign of declining popularity. Why do you think this is?

Claes Schalling: Design from midcentury Scandinavia is very practical and simple. The furniture is generally compact and easy to fit into any space. And it was designed with the customer in mind—it’s not intended just to be beautiful to look at.

If you look at the furniture that is made today, you’ll find there are a lot of relaunches of 20th-century classics. This proves that midcentury Scandinavian designs are quite timeless and feel as modern today as when they were first made.

K-24 Lounge Chair by Poul Kjærholm with painting by Arne Heuser at Studio Schalling Photo © Studio Schalling
Pam:
When you started your business, what were the most sought-after vintage Scandinavian designs?

CS: High quality pieces by renowned designers like Finn Juhl, Hans Wegner, and Børge Mogensen.

Pam: What are the most sought-after vintage Scandianvian designs today?

CS: Rare and unusual furniture that has been made in a very limited edition by recognized designers. However, many more designers have been brought into the limelight, such as Kai Kristiansen, Niels Otto Møller, and Nanna Ditzel.

Pam: Which are the most under-appreciated vintage Scandinavian designs?

CS: The early works of Hans Bergström and Hans-Agne Jakobsson.

Pam: Which vintage Scandinavian designs hold their value the most?

CS: I would say unusual furniture by exceptional designers, like Peder Moos and Finn Juhl. The value of these pieces has gone up many percentage points over the past two decades. For example the Chieftain Chair by Finn Juhl for Niels Vodder .

Pam: Who are your favorite Scandinavian designers and why?

CS: I appreciate a lot of Scandinavian designers, but my personal favorites are Finn Juhl, Peder Moos, and Ib Kofod Larsen. These designers are very sculptural in their approach—their designs are like sculpture that is usable and often very comfortable.

Pam: What should buyers who are new to vintage look for?

CS: They should always look for craftsmanship and high quality.

 

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