Feature: Dorothea Gundtoft and New Nordic Design
Freelance writer for Vogue and Dazed Digital. Author and editor of the books “New Nordic Design” and “Scandinavian Fashion”. Founder and CEO of the magazine N DEGREES. Stylist and winner of the ELLE Style Award in 2013. Those are just some the accomplishments that Dorothea Gundtoft can jot down on her resumé. Oh, and by the way, she is only 28 years old.
An upbringing immersed in fashion
Obviously, Dorothea lives and breathes fashion and design. It’s hard for her not to, as it runs deep in her family.
“My grandparents mass produced popular Parisian designs in the 1950’s and 1960’s with clothing stores all over Denmark, while my mum is extremely creative and talented as a designer and idea creator. My family is immersed in fashion.”
On top of this Dorothea grew up in Marbella, Spain, a city of glamour in the 1960’s and 70’s. Standing on the shoulders of fashion icons like Grace Kelly and Audrey Hepburn, whom used to frequent Marbella on a regular basis. Many years later this scene and environment seemed to rub off on the young Dorothea. In short, her entire upbringing was ingrained in Fashion.
An international with a Scandinavian mind
From Marbella and Costa Del Sol life took Dorothea to fashion and design hotbeds Paris and London. This kicked of her career and the steps to where she is today were taken. “In Paris I worked for a stylist who was associated with Yves Saint Laurent. We became part of the Parisian fashion scene, with stars such as John Galliano – his parties were amazing. In London I attended Central Saint Martins (Acclaimed art school red.), but I had a sadistic teacher and instead I started writing for several international magazines, which led me to my first contract with Thames & Hudson (Publishers with a focus on art and architecture red.).”
One might think that a life outside Denmark and Scandinavia would have steered Dorothea away from the Nordic style of design. This has in no way been the case, as most of her work has evolved around what Scandinavia offers in regards to fashion and design. The books “Scandinavian Fashion” and “New Nordic Design” highlights her northern attachment and both are major contributions to the narrative about the traditions and the future of Scandinavian style.
The greats, the greats to be and the love of Nordic design
“New Nordic Design” outlines how Scandinavian design-greats such as Svenskt Tenn, Arne Jacobsen and Hans J. Wegner have created the pillars upon which contemporary Nordic designers stand. To Dorothea they are some of the most influential figures in the Scandinavian tradition of design, but as she says, “with so many greats it is difficult to pinpoint only a few.” Today the torch has been picked up by designers such as HAY, Hunting & Narud and Snickeriet, who in the opinion of Dorothea, are some of the current Nordic designers doing impressive work.
Dorothea’s infatuation with fashion and design of the north is in large due to the focus on minimalism, functionality and aesthetic pleasing lines that Scandinavian designers have had in the past and now. It, as she says, “calms her soul”. Furthermore, Dorothea emphasizes the democratic approach of the Nordic countries and elaborates, “The fact that everywhere from kindergartens to train stations have that edge of design and well thought-out architecture really pleases me”.
International popularity and the New Nordic style
During the past years it seems that the love that Dorothea has for the New Nordic style of design is being shared by more and more people worldwide. She has experienced this first hand when visiting international furniture fairs for instance. Here Scandinavian design is always a must-see and design connoisseurs describe it as sublime, Dorothea explains.
To her, what characterizes and makes the New Nordic style popular is the fusion between the old and the new. The new designers are inspired by their ancestral design-heritage and they manage to combine this with functionality and adapting to new technologies. Tradition melts together with the needs of the present, so to speak.
Functionality, comfort and beauty
“I hate ugliness”, Dorothea firmly states, and therefore new designers looking to emerge on the international design scene have to create pieces that are just stunningly beautiful. But beauty is not enough if you want to make the cut. Also they will have to focus on functionality, comfort and adapting to the needs of everyday life. Combine beauty, comfort and functionality and you have the new future Wegner-chair,” Dorothea says.
With that sound piece of advice fresh in my mind, we, at ENIITO, are happy that we have designers capable of combining these three elements, and Dorothea highlights the ‘Flip Tray ‘ by The Oak Men , ‘The Magazine Keeper ‘ and ‘The Botanic Storage ‘ by Kristina Dam Studio and The Pear & Coin ‘Lastu Stool’ as designs which encapsulates these three deeds and therefore having the potential of becoming Nordic design classics.
Read more about Dorothea’s favorites right here .
But beware, these are only snippets of what you can find on eniito.com. Every designer is handpicked and they all have the potential to produce the next Scandinavian design classic. That’s why we have them.