With Volvo’s Scandinavian pop-up in Dundrum Town Centre in full swing, we caught up with Demot Bannon to talk design.
Scandinavian design has become almost ubiquitous. Did you see that coming?
As an architect, as soon as you start training, you start learning about past masters like Alvar Aalto. A lot of past masters come from Scandinavia and their approach to design has always been a huge influence, so to me, it’s not a trend. It’s something I’ve always been advocating for. It’s been a huge influence on my life as a designer. It’s not elitist, it’s democratic. It’s design that doesn’t have to cost a lot of money. It’s about how you think about things.
How does it have such global appeal?
Design can be fashionable and faddy, but after the ostentatiousness of the eighties and nineties, Scandinavian design was a real relief and it’s stuck. It’s not a trend, it’s not new, but it is a refreshing change from opulence and brashness. Now it’s simple, clean lines and hopefully that’s here to stay.
What are the hallmarks of Scandi design?
It’s about stripping back everything to what it needs to be, and then looking at how things go together. As it’s dark and snowy for much of the year in Scandinavian countries, the use of natural materials brings that warmth in. It’s clean, minimalistic design with simple lines. But there’s fun and humour with it too, which you can see in Marimekko’s prints. It’s using colour very well.
How can people introduce Scandi sensibilities into their home?
A lot of Scandinavian homes are quite small, as they live in cities with collective heating systems, while houses in the countryside are not 5,000 sq foot houses. They just don’t see the need for that. It’s about stripping out what you don’t need and getting light in. It’s about only buying things that you love and that are meaningful to you.
What does luxury mean in a pared back aesthetic?
Luxury means space and light. To me, luxury is not an expensive rug. It’s a beautiful view, it’s a connection to nature and it’s natural materials. It’s spending as much as you can afford on the everyday things like worktops, flooring and windows, or an iconic, well-crafted chair or a piece of art that you love. Luxury is the things that touch your senses.
The idea of elevating the everyday is a reoccurring theme. Have you noticed a shift in how Irish people are thinking?
I think Irish people are getting there. There is a shift in how we’re thinking. People used to come to me and say ‘I’d love a new conservatory’ or ‘I’d love a walk in wardrobe’, but now they’re saying ‘I’d love move light in my home’ or ‘I’d like more connectivity between rooms’. They’re thinking about design in a different way. They’re not looking at the end product first.
To celebrate the launch of the new Volvo XC60, the Scandinavian-inspired Volvo pop-up will be open in Dundrum Town Centre from Thursday June 1 to Sunday July 2. Find it on the second floor, opposite Fields Jewellers and Karen Millen.