2016 was Hygge, 2017 was Lagom…the influence of Nordic trends has made a massive impact on consumers and social media users and their ways of life – what they buy, where they buy it and in fact if they decide to buy it at all.
The theory behind the Danish trend of Hygge – in the Oxford dictionary as “a quality of cosiness and comfortable conviviality that engenders a feeling of contentment or well-being (regarded a a defining characteristic of Danish culture)” is a warming sentiment. The Danish are considered to be some of the happiest people in the world and to be hyggeligt is to recognise and enjoy the present. Whether this is alone or with friends (or strangers if that makes you happy!), it is imperative that at that moment in time you feel contented and comfortable. The appreciation of this can be as simple as lighting a favourite candle to create ambience, or enjoying a social event – involving simple rituals in your life that take you away from the dullness of the everyday slog and give you a ready brek type internal glow.
Hygge was a huge influence in 2016, but then in 2017 the Swedes took over the English obsession with Nordic phrases with Lagom. In contrast to Hygge which involves adding elements to your life to make you comfortable, Lagom is about concentrating on the essentials and paring back your life – putting balance and moderation into everything that you do. “Not too little, not too much, just enough” is one of the best ways to apply Lagom; and it is about life as a whole. Unfussy, sustainable and confident; living the Lagom way of life means having only what you need and appreciating what you have.
There seems to be a belief that you can have a Hygge life, or you can have a Lagom life, but you can’t have both. Surely though, with these lifestyle trends, both of which advocate feelings of happiness in your surroundings, appreciation and contentedness, why not take the best elements of both and apply them to your lifestyle in a way that makes you happy?
If Lagom is a way of life – using sustainable products and being frugal – then let us live this functional way of life and pepper it with Hygge moments to maintain a feeling of satisfaction when the minimalist living is getting too much (or not as the minimalist case may be)! Being very British and definitely not Scandinavian (apart from our website guru who is part Nordic and helps us pronounce “Hygge”), at IronFire we think that the best approach is to embrace your favourite principles of each to help you live a contented life that benefits both your happiness, and that of the people and planet around you.
But what is next? With 2018 fast approaching, is another Nordic lifestyle trend on the pared back but cosy horizon? A feeling that you have no intentions of going out but are instead going to stay at home and get drunk in your underwear anyone? This is the definition of the Finnish word “Kalsarikännit”. We’re hoping that as we indulge more in it, it gets easier to say. Sounds to us like a great lifestyle trend and one that will be very popular (just make sure you recycle your bottles, wear underwear that is made of natural fibres and light a candle to make sure that you maintain Hygge and Lagom while doing it).
So at IronFire, how do we use these trends – all of which we admire – in the production of our furniture? We use sustainable sources and local products in the manufacture of our tables and chairs, and guarantee longevity so that constant replacement is not an issue. Wood warm finishes in natural colours; tables that people just want to gather around, and our great prices and customer service that give you a feeling of comfort while purchasing and using our furniture. And our staff? We’re just over here indulging in Kalsarikännit while you decide which of our tabletops you want…..
What is “fast furniture”?
Recent research shows that millenials prefer to spend their money on experiences rather than investing it back into anything but essentials for their homes; and other constraints can often mean that the money to invest in furniture is just not available.
Due to this, people are looking to mass-produced furniture that is first and foremost cheap and functional. If you are looking for a quick fix, fundamentally there is no problem with this. However, the furniture is not built to last. Cracking when being put together, and not withstanding day to day life (especially when there are children involved!) can mean replacing the furniture within two or three years – so altogether a false economy.
To produce furniture at this low cost, wood used is generally not from a sustainable source. Cheap imports from Russian and Eastern European forests are illegally logged meaning the devastation of natural fish and wildlife habitats, and the decline of many varieties of trees including oak, ash and birch. The demand for cheap, Chinese made furniture has started a cycle which is destroying the worlds forests and wildlife at an alarming rate. And surprisingly, a lot of furnitures big players are not impartial to this.
Another way of producing cheap furniture is to get it made by a cheap workforce. Vietnamese and Indian children are often employed on a mass scale to produce the parts for the desks and tables, while earning an absolute pittance. Cheap furniture equals child labour: a good reason to buy British.
Flatpacking the furniture also keeps the price down – it all allows for more economical logistics both from manufacturer to retailer, then from retailer to consumer. Ergo, it’s down to the consumer to put it together; loose dowells, missing screws (or the extra one at the end which causes panic over the one that you forgot) and maybe even divorce, flatpack furniture is by no means a happy experience.
I’m sure you think that the point of this blog post is me telling you to buy expensive furniture. It’s really not. The advice here is to find British made, sustainable goods that can be delivered to your door fully assembled if possible. And this doesn’t always have to be an expensive option. Just well made, good value and environmentally guilt free.
IronFire. Affordable, aspirational and non-divorce causing.
Described by Dulux as a “warm neutral with a hint of heather”, Heartwood – Dulux’s colour of the year 2018 – has surprised many people with it’s warm dusky hues that are a huge contrast to last years Denim Blue.
It is described by the Deluxe colour and design expert, Rebecca Williamson, as “sitting between a smoky taupe and a warm mauve”, and we really like the shade, seeing it’s understated versatility as something that would suit many environments and complement the IronFire range.
The Dulux team say that people are currently “longing to shut out the outside world, press pause on their lives and spend time relaxing in a soothing space that is uniquely theirs.” The colour is “easy to live with, unfussy in style and depicts that welcome feeling” – this colour sits under their theme of “A welcome home” and makes a home “channel a real sense of calm and warmth”.
We think that this fits in perfectly with the ongoing trends of hygge and Lagom, Danish ideals for a happy life that have really taken off over the past few years. Translator ToveMaren Stakkestad says that “Hygge was never meant to be translated. It was meant to be felt.” and the feeling of Hygge is that of warmth, relaxation and to feel as cosy and as at home as possible, while Lagom is to have just the right amount and a good balance in life.
We think that Heart Wood does all of this; creating a warm and inviting environment in any room to shut yourself away from the cold and hectic outside world.
Complement Heart Wood walls with natural wood and light accessories…and, (shameless plug!), we think Heart Wood in a hallway would look great with one of our Shou Sugi-Ban console tables.
Try these accessories with a Heart Wood wall on a console table in your hallway, all from Avalon Interiors.
Main image from Dulux
- Crib Sheet
- Be flexible
- There’s no I in team
7. We believe in supporting local businesses (see our other blog posts for examples of these) so find that they are more than happy to let us use their locations to shoot our products in return for mentions on our website and social media accounts. This is a great way of networking and providing leads back for others as well as getting great shots in environments that you may not easily have access to!
- Learn from Each Shoot
Industrial Yakisugi Burnt Wood Coffee TableAnother week for IronFire sees another collaboration with a local firm. This time our Industrial Yakisugi Coffee Table went on an outing to Avalon Interiors in Frome. Yakisugi is an old Japanese tradition of burning wood to protect against boring insects. Of course, Avalon is the home of Sarah Hayford and an Aladdin’s Cave of gorgeous clocks, mirrors and all things interior.
We wanted to get it right. Also it was was the first time we had tried out this finish. So, we took a Coffee Table in it’s standard size (1400×900). The table top was crafted in our works in Wiltshire using the Yakisugi method and our own style of hand finish.
We think that we’re one of the only UK furniture makers using burning on Douglas Fir to decorate tables. Yakisugi is a tradition used to preserve wood from rot and bugs. It also increases the life of wood and, amazingly, it’s fire resistance. At the same time Douglas timber is just about the most rot resistant wood around. Also, our Industrial style rust treated metal frames are weather proof and good for use both indoors and out. And that’s what Ironfire is all about – making things so they can be kept for a very long time and are easily repaired and refreshed.
Avalon Interiors add a special touchSarah took our industrial Yakisugi Coffee table with it’s mix of Japan and Wiltshire, and made it something even more beautiful. It really stood out when she placed it amongst the other room settings in her shop.
You’ll find all of the products shown in these photos at Avalon Interiors in the Westway Precinct in Frome, Somerset. Alternatively you can find Sarah via her website.
Our Yakisugi industrial coffee table can be found on our products page. The Yakisugi burnt wood example shown in this pages images can be finished in lots of ways. Please email us or call for more info. We are always pleased to chat
Our Console Table is the IronFire furniture equivalent of the middle child; not always a necessity for a home like the oldest child and our Dining Table, and not the centre of attention like the youngest child and the Ironfire Coffee Table. It does, however, play an important part in the Ironfire furniture family and would be missed if not there.
A Console Table is versatile and can be put into any situation and win – transforming a bleak, blank hallway into an interesting and useful space, or housing your media centre to juxtapose our industrial style with your modern day living.
Slim enough to stand proudly in a narrow hallway or behind a sofa, the extra shelving that it provides can be used not just for storage but also to display attractive and useful ‘things’ to bring the Ironfire Console Table into play as a real eye-catching piece of IronFire furniture.
We are experts in crafting tables, but to really show our Console Table off to it’s full potential, we brought an interiors expert in to showcase it to it’s best. Sarah-Jane Wright runs a full interior design consultancy in Warminster, Wiltshire and it’s from her shop, About The House, that the beautiful items she has dressed our console table with have come from.
For more information about About The House and the interior services that Sarah-Jane offers, please visit aboutthe.house on Instagram, @Aboutthehouse.warminster on Facebook, or call Sarah-Jane on 01985 218882.
We know it’s a bit of a cliché and rolled out regularly, but at IronFire we really do believe in caring for the environment and leaving as small a carbon footprint as we possibly can. Many factors come into play when staying on the right side of the environment, and while all of our products are all designed and built in the United Kingdom thus reducing our carbon emissions, one of the most important things to us is the use of sustainable wood in our table tops.
We produce these using Douglas Fir; a strong, British grown tree that has come from a well-managed plantation. The growth of the trees is controlled to ensure minimal disruption to wildlife, and buying from a source like this means that many of the forests in the EU are growing as fast as they are being cut down.
Buying sustainable wood not only helps the environment for generations to come, but also means that you are not aiding the disruption of the forests abroad in places like Brazil. The logging in these countries can not only destroy the forest itself but also the habitats of the wildlife and the indigenous people who make it their home. Illegal wood trading can encourage human rights abuse and leave trees on the endangered list such as certain teaks and mahoganies.
Moving on from trees to something less green and woody, planned obsolescence is the manipulation of the production of an item to give it a limited lifespan. It therefore becomes broken or useless after a short period of time; the idea being that sales will be regenerated when purchasing the said item’s replacement.
The consumer trend for planned obsolescence has caused a rise in the dumping of unwanted, broken products as they break quickly so are replaced due to necessity, or upgraded to the latest model. How many people have a drawer full of old mobile phones or see fly-tipping increasing? I know in the rural area where I live it’s certainly causing a problem with old mattresses, chairs and other unwanted household items piling up on the roadside and in the woods.
While planned obsolescence has it’s place as a consumer model, it is also responsible for global warming and waste as products are mass produced and replaced. Therefore, the longevity of a product is also very relevant to it’s impact on the global environment as a whole.
So what should you look for if you want your furniture to be environmentally friendly? Sustainable wood from FSC approved sources; something that is made and distributed from the country that you live in; and a product that has been made with quality workmanship and materials to ensure that you will not be replacing it on a regular basis are all factors to be taking into consideration.
We like fresh air and we like trees. And we make our products with a craftsmanship that means that they will definitely last longer than your mobile phone! That’s how we strive to be more IronFire.