Nordic Up North

Starting in July, Manchester Art Gallery opens a year-long display of important and influential 20th and 21st century craft and design from Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden. Showcasing furniture, fashion, lighting, ceramics, glass, metalwork and jewellery, Nordic Craft and Design highlights the superb quality and creativity inherent in design from the region and features pieces from the 1930s to the present day.

The starting point was the art gallery’s own collection, with the show developing themes and stories around the pieces the gallery already owned. They went on to source other pieces that they felt were missing, buying them at local fairs and from dealers, the collection was further complemented with national and international loans from institutions, private collectors and Nordic design companies.

Iconic pieces by Alvar Aalto, Eero Arnio, Nanna Ditzel, Saara Hoppea, Arne Jacobson, Vuokko Eskolin-Nurmesniemi and Verner Panton, will sit alongside contemporary work by Mathias Bengtsson, Peter Jensen, Anu Penttinen, Merete Rasmussen and Henrik Vibskov, amongst others.

Key pieces in the exhibition include an original chair by Alvar Aalto as part of his 1930s scheme for the revolutionary Paimio Sanatorium in Finland, Verner Panton’s iconic moulded plastic Panton Chair, Arne Jacobson’s ubiquitous Egg Chair and Eero Arnio’s era defining Pastilli chair.

Glass pieces, from Aalto’s timeless Savoy Vase, Tapio Wirkkala’s delicate Chanterelle vase and a selection of Timo Sarpaneva’s monumental Arkipeligo series, will be shown with contemporary pieces by a new generation of glassmakers.

Poul Henningson’s influential Artichoke light features alongside contemporary light- ing such as Harri Koskinen’s Block Lamp and Simon Karkov’s futuristic light from 1969, re-issued as Norm 69 by Danish company Normann Copenhagen. The exhibition will also showcase a selection of pieces by Nordic brands who promote good design such as Arabia, Iittalla, Georg Jensen, Onecollection, Louis Poulsen, Stelton and Vestre.

Works will be grouped together around colour, line, shape and nature. Within those themes, the influence of international art movements can be seen from Surrealism and Modernism to Pop Art, as well as local influences, from traditional folk imagery to native flora and fauna and the importance of the landscape.


When: 6th July 2018 -7th July 2019
Where: Manchester Art Gallery, Mosley Street, Manchester, M2 3JL
Opening hours: Daily, 10am-5pm and Thursdays 10am-9pm
Admission: Free