Nordic Cool: Modernist Design

The National Gallery of Victoria is exhibiting its collection of Scandinavian designs from 1920s to 1960s. For the first time, the collection of homewares, decorative arts, furniture, glass, silver and textiles will be displayed in its entirety.

The collection encompasses works from key designers and manufacturers of the period including ceramics from Gustavsberg and Rörstrand Porslinfabrik (Sweden) and Royal Copenhagen Porcelain Manufactory (Denmark) as well as silverware from Georg Jensen and maker of tableware for the Danish royal family, A. Michelson.

Armchair 41 designed by Alvar Aalto, manufactured by Artek.

Armchair 41 designed by Alvar Aalto, manufactured by Artek.

Image: National Gallery of Victoria

Scandinavia’s strong furniture tradition will also be a key part of this exhibition. Alvar Aalto’s moulded birch plywood Armchair 41 is among more than a dozen chairs in the collection. Two new acquisitions in lighting design by Poul Henningsen will be displayed as part of interior vignettes alongside designs from Marimekko and Hans Wegner.

“Many of the works were purchased as contemporary pieces through the Felton Bequest more than sixty years ago,” said gallery director Tony Ellwood, “yet they endure as modern design classics and are frequently referenced by contemporary designers working around the world today.”

The exhibition will be accompanied by a series of public programs including free floor talks with the curator.


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National Gallery of Victoria
180 St Kilda Road,  Melbourne,  Melbourne,  Vic,  3000,  Australia
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