Saturday, December 29, 2012


You would think that Swedes who spend so much of the winter days in the dark, would crave bright colors, but instead they favor the color black to a large extent. 
  The elegant Swedish design guru Frida Ramstedt is all for black.(See her comment at the bottom of this piece)
Her blog, TRENDENSER is one of the most visited in Scandinavia and she  lectures extensively and has her own Ipad magazine.

Here is one of the many pictures from her Pinterest account - black predominates. Picture by Frida Ramstedt, 
(Would a child's brightly colored toys ruin "the perfect harmony"?)
This year, Frida converted the traditionally red electric Christmas candelabra into black.

   So what is the fascination with black and white? I like strong color and patterns as seen in these (mine) Pintarest collections here and here.
   But there is something about the black and white theme in textiles and art that is dramatically appealing to us. We think that black and white film (Film Noir) is more dramatic than color film. The drawings by Donovan O'Malley below for example, could never have been striking in the same way, had they been in color. And these black and white woodblocks are appealing for the same reason.

Janey falling
Donovan O'Malley has used the black and white expression masterfully in his nine illustrations of the American writer, Nathanael West's novels
This illustration by Donovan O'Malley, depicts a scene from Nathanael  West's novel, "The Dream Life of Balso Snell"
Donovan O'Malley has used the black and white expression masterfully in his nine illustrations of the American writer, Nathanael West's novels.  This illustration Mrs. Shrike and Miss Lonelyearts in the novel "Miss Lonelyhearts" by Nathanael West. See all nine illustrations.

For Frida of Trendenser and all others who love black and white designs, there is now a dedicated Pintarest board in black and white for you!  

There is also a SPECIAL BLACK AND WHITE Mug shop for you and  special BLACK AND WHITE shop for Posters and Cards also for you! 
Black and White Photography is generally considered "more serious" and "dramatic" than color.
In one "Pinterest" board, a woman's fondness for black and white photos has resulted in her collecting over 6.000 images. Some effort!

The White Knight!

Frida Ramstedt the design guru of her blog TRENDENSER (mentioned above) has left a comment below (in Swedish) and here it is in English:
"If you want my honest opinion-- I think we like black and white because it is so safe -- it's hard to make a mistake. Most products launched on the market these days come in one  black and one white version which are considerably more long lasting than the colored ones (which we tire of a lot sooner). This is probably one reason why the Scandinavian style so often is perceived as black and white. Who is bold enough to buy an Egg chair for ten thousand dollars in bright blue? Very few. For this very reason, i think that people who invest in such expensive furniture are afraid choose  a white, or a black or possibly one in brown leather -- the investment must stand the test of time and keep its resale value. To sum it up, it is not so much a matter of ones artistic sense (that we tend to choose black and white) but rather more a matter of cowardice." 

In August last year, Frida reported on her blog from design fair in Stockholm (Formex) and she noted how many designers had been influenced by African patterns. So finally some color you might think? No, African patterns yes, but mainly in dark colors, black and brown with white. 

When Swedish designers get inspired by Australian Aboriginal art, they stay away from the fantastic colors and stick to black and white. 
Picture from Rorstrand and

This folk art "Dala horse" is usually painted in bright colors, but here it is in a black and white version. From

1 comment:

  1. Vill du ha min ärliga teori. jag tror vi gillar svartvitt för att det är så klanderfritt. Så svårt att göra fel. Och de allra flesta produkter som tas ut på marknaden idag kommer i minst en svart och en vit variant, som ofta står sig betydligt längre än de kulörta (som vi tröttnar på mycket snabbare). Det sistnämna är nog också en anledning till att den skandinaviska stilen så ofta ses i svartvitt. Vem vågar köpa en Ägget-fåtölj för 60 000 kr i kornblått? Få. Just därför tror jag de flesta som investerar i så dyra möbler fegar och väljer en vit, svart eller möjligtvis en i brunt läder - för att investeringen ska stå sig i tid och ha ett bättre andrahandsvärde. Alltså tror jag det handlar mindre om konstnärlighet och uttryck och desto mer om feghet.