Art & Design

The Nordic Line

Find handsome furniture and striking lights at London’s design emporium

“There is a lot of interest in Swedish art which has not been seen so much elsewhere,” says Sebastien Holt, who is determined to bring the rigour of Nordic design to the fore. The platform is Modernity, launched in Stockholm in 1998, under Scottish-born founder Andrew Duncanson. Its reach spun far and wide, and last year, UK Director Holt opened its London outpost, currently residing in Mayfair’s sensitively restored townhouse, 14 Cavendish Square, but with a permanent showroom set to open later this year in Newson’s Yard – a newly developed design destination on the Pimlico Road in Chelsea.

“Londoners seem to love natural finishes, lighter woods, and cane, contrasted with colourful rugs,” says Holt of his clients’ tastes. Works by Harry Booström or Einar Lynge-Ahlberg are exhibited with rare pieces of furniture, such as Hans Wegner’s ‘Architect’s Desk,’ a piece first presented at the Copenhagen Cabinetmakers’ Exhibition of 1954, and a highlight of Modernity’s current collection. “We also have a number of early 1940’s Paavo Tynell lamps with unusual wooden shades. These were produced during the war when brass was rationed quite heavily in Finland. The shades are made from wooden window blinds,” Holt says of the striking design.

Provenance and curation are everything. Once a piece has been hunted down, examined and hand-selected by the team, it is showcased in situ alongside others. “We pride ourselves in creating inspiring domestic settings to showcase how you can live with 20th Century design,” says Holt. “This drew us to the striking, raw quality of 14 Cavendish – the interior has been carefully peeled back to its original features and provides a contrast to the refined cabinetmaking of mid-century design.” When considering the various vignettes, Sebastien looks to tone and design period. “I don’t know where I learnt this, but I was told you should stick to three tones per area. And it’s also fun to mix and match periods, placing a very contemporary piece alongside something from the early 40s, for example, makes a huge impact.”

Joe Armitage lamp

@oskar.proctor for @modernitystockholm // Instagram

Joe Armitage lamp and Finn Juhl for Niels Vodder chairs

@oskar.proctor for @modernitystockholm // Instagram

“The more you use these pieces, the more beautiful they become. That’s the ultimate investment."

Sebastien Holt


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