Stockholm was, as expected, awesome. The weather was cold and grey, but there were plenty of lovely sights (not the least of which included thick, fuzzy frost covering everything).
The furniture fair was great, says I. I felt there was much to learn from both the exciting and non-exciting designs.
I sometimes wonder if the general 'style' of a culture has much to do with what is made culturally accessible to them. For example, I remember in the basements of all my parents' friends, everyone had at least one yellowish-orange velvet sofa or chair, with flower patterns. Was that on sale at Sears for a period of like 5 years? Everyone had one! And I think deep down, we all knew they were heinous, but people owned them anyways.
A cursory Google search provides this powerful visual reminder of the troubled design past of North America.
Here in Denmark, it seems like every single person owns at least one Arne Jacobsen or Eero Saarinen chair. I guess Scandinavia takes a lot of pride in their designers and purposely set out to make a name for themselves as a design-conscious group of people in the 50's and 60's. It would appear that the economic equalization of society due to socialism means more people were/are able to afford 'designer' chairs.
"Design is soooooooooooo sexy...."
Arne Jacobsen's 3107 Chair modelled by Christine Keeler.
I think this sense of ugly/beautiful/practical becomes a part of the collective conscious after a certain time. If people grow up seeing well-designed, aesthetic, and practical items as a part of their household and their friends' households, they are more likely to consider it normal to own such things, and expect the same when they grow up.
And vice versa, of course.
I think the issue with the Ugly-Sofa-Syndrome is not so much that people in North America don't have taste, but that there is no widespread societal awareness and appreciation of good design. There were plenty of American designers producing aesthetic furnishings, but only a select few thought that design should be accessible to everyone.
Charles and Ray Eames developed molding techniques that allowed their designs to be mass produced. So why don't we all have Eames Loungers in our homes?
Maybe North American society was so turned off by hard-nosed modernism that they immediately discounted everything brought along ponderously under that title?
I'm not really going anywhere with this, am I.
Well.... Ugly sofas. Think about it.