“I grew up using beautiful design as everyday items at home,” says Anna Rissanen, owner of ScandiDesign, who is originally from Finland.
Along with Denmark, Norway, and Sweden, Finland is home to Scandinavian design, which is characterized by simplicity, minimalism, and functionality. “Scandinavians are used to buying more design than mass produced items,” says Rissanen.
Risssanen says she never thought much about it before moving to St John’s 11 years ago, when she came to the province as a PhD exchange student. She stayed and started working in Memorial’s Department of Biology, where she currently teaches. However, Scandinavian design was never far from her Nordic heart.
“I missed the beautiful and functional Scandinavian home decor for my home here in St. John’s,” says Rissanen. In 2013, Rissanen opened ScandiDesign as an online store, which caters to clients across Canada and internationally. It’s popularity led her to open her Water Street location.
The central idea of the Scandinavian aesthetic is this: beautiful and functional everyday objects should not only be affordable to the wealthy, but available for everyone. The ideology grew throughout the mid-20th century, as did access to new low-cost materials and methods for mass production, like form-pressed wood, plastics, enameled aluminum and pressed steel.
Along with durability and functionality, Scandinavian design also represents values such as simplicity, joy, and daily pleasure. This is often seen in the mixture of abstraction and shapes inspired by nature.
It’s coincidental that ScandiDesign has made its home in what was the storefront of Post Espresso, with its austere white walls and minimalist design.
Since opening her Water Street location, Anna has been helping customers discover new designers and brands to outfit every room in their homes. “Iittala from Finland offers fabulous dinnerware designed by famous European designers and unique mouth-blown glass home decor,” says Rissanen.
Normann Copenhagen is another well-known brand available at ScandiDesign, which offers designs for home, from furniture to flower vases “The beautiful textiles I carry are from Finland, from Vallila Interior,” says Rissanen, “Their designs are bold and colourful and I have curtains, totes, and mugs from Vallila.”
“I really hope St John’s will get excited about the unique opportunity to buy Scandinavian design from here in Water Street!”
ScandiDesign is open at 168 Water Street and scandidesign.ca