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Finding Hygge in modern design

Photo by @hyggelife

Photo by @hyggelife

hygge. A Danish term defined as "a quality of cosiness and comfortable conviviality that engenders a feeling of contentment or well-being."

I recently noticed that the Danish term, "Hygge" (pronounced "hoo-guh") has made a huge resurgence and it's made me question why all the sudden interest in the idea of "coziness" and "comfort" other than that it's wintertime. To me, it aligns with ideas of intentional living related to meditation practices and the phenomenon of tidiness, advocated by Marie Kondo. In my mind, Hygge resonates with people because it asks us to practice gratitude for the joy that constantly sparks around us. Daily acts and objects ground us and remind us to stay in the present. It's like a really comforting manifestation of focusing on your breath except in this case, focusing on how I pour the tea into my beautiful ceramic Le Creuset Marseille Blue mugs gifted to us from our family, for example.

It also brings us back to a more simple time in a world inundated by multitasking and infinite technology loops. A recent New Yorker article, "The Year of Hygge, the Danish Obsession with Getting Cozy," began the article by describing it as "solace" in the midst of what feels like one of the most tumultuous periods in our collective history. As such, hygge is not just an adjective or noun but rather functions as a verb connected to our actions -- in particular, "to comfort" and "to console."  Louisa Thomsen Brits expands hygge explaining that it is "a practical way of creating sanctuary in the middle of very real life," which is a core value of my interior design process.

As they say "form follows function" -- hygee reminds us to embrace both simultaneously and intentionally. Hygge brings us together by affirming notions of simplicity, cheerfulness, reciprocity, community, and belonging, which is to say, all I want for Christmas is hygge. (Maybe I can redecorate Mariah's house one day and convince her to record this new version. If hygge is truly associated with relaxation and indulgence then I can't imagine why she wouldn't? Mariah is all about that life.)

Although many people wouldn't associate modern design and coziness, they share simplicity. There is something comforting and easy about living the simple life in a world that is not so simple. If modern is a philosophy rather than an aesthetic then hygge comes into play as more than just a way of living. It becomes a framework for why we inhabit our spaces and more importantly, how.

Christine Turknett