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I have been intrigued by the Nordic region since arriving here in 2001. 

There is something about Scandinavian lifestyle that is magnetic. The extreme contrasts of cold and cosy, white and colour, scale and subtlety, endless night and midnight sun, and a wise priority on the small moments in life.

It's an approach that people outside the region should know about, but more often than not the inhabitants don't recognise the harmony of their region and the potential it has to enrich the rest of the world.

I worked for years in American multinationals trying to convince big Nordic customers to work together. I started blogging about the Nordic region in early 2010 at beingnordic.com - "an outsiders view of a complex and quirky littlebig region" - but ran out of steam after 18 months for lack of readership. I wrote a reality TV show about the Nordics that was put into development by a leading regional broadcaster but rejected at commission stage because it was considered too complicated and not interesting enough. I drafted the outline for a book calling for a Nordic opportunity on the global stage in a similar vein to Al Gore’s ‘An Inconvenient Truth’ to be co-authored with a leading local social anthropologist but she quickly lost interest. I tried to get work as a motivational speaker to Nordic organisations sharing my wisdom about the region. Nobody booked me. 

 

That was when I decided to sell candles. 

 

Now our small company has begun to create an international audience. At the last count our collection can be found in over 400 stores in more than 20 countries, and our little stories of Scandinavia have been bought by more than 150.000 people, of which more than half live outside the Nordic region.

Did they buy a Skandinavisk candle or diffuser because they liked the smell? The colour? Because they needed a quick, portable and relatively affordable gift on the go?

Or because they understand what a candle can do? That there is nothing on earth that can create a moment of intimacy, fellowship and cosiness like a flickering candle flame? That candlelight is a catalyst of hygge? That hygge is happiness found in everyday small moments?

I’d like to believe it’s the latter, and we will continue to celebrate the story of Scandinavia – of the balance between landscape and living – even if no one is listening.

Shaun 

March 2016

January 24 2015

NorthModern Copenhagen

After the success of our collaboration with Design Bloggers United, led by Denmark's Bungalow 5 and Sweden's Emma's Design Blogg, we are extending the collection together. Now in addition to the original 4-wick, 600gr version of gentle amber, mandarin and vanilla notes, we are introducing KOTO in our standard 190gr size as well as as part of our inaugural reed diffuser collection. At shows now, and in stores from Easter. 

January 15 2015

Now at Formex - Stand B620

Come experience our new fragrances at Formex Stockholm until Saturday - stand B620.

New backdrop for our stands at Stockholm's Formex and Oslo's Gave & Interiør January shows. 

December 30 2014

København - Urban Bliss

Where bicycles, cobblestones and seafaring history mix in perfect symbiosis with contemporary city living. This cosily scented candle is inspired by the urban bliss of the Danish capital.

Made from our special blend of subtle perfume, vegetable and mineral wax with a 100% cotton wick. Hand-poured into a painted glass votive, it will burn for 45 hours. Available now

 

December 18 2014

SS15 Teaser

Liquid RO coming soon as part of our new reed diffuser collection. Watch this space.

Our 2 seasonal fragrances are inspired by 6 years in a wooden house by the lake in Stockholm and our attempt to capture the balance of extremes of a Scandinavian winter – from that -20 moment outside the door where the air literally crackles, to the enveloping physical and emotional warmth of people, gløgg and gingerbread inside. So JUL is a very warm spicy scent while SNÖ is a very light crisp scent with a hint of winter berries.

Order them here.

Our postcard collection is now available to pick up at stores stocking our Scents of Scandinavia.

November 29 2014

HAV reused

Our handblown glass makes for a perfect storage piece long after the scent of Scandinavian seas has vanished.

November 18 2014

Playtype X Skandinavisk

Earlier this month innovative Danish type brand Playtype revealed their first scented candle collection - a collaboration project where we blended the fragranced wax and worked with them on the glass votive. The result is 2 beautiful scents in black votives typed in their own Nationale Black typeface. 

 

October 10 2014

Wear & Where

I was asked my thoughts about Scandinavia and happiness this week by UK style blog Wear & Where. Read the interview here.
September 20 2014

Beeldsteil and fika

Beeldsteil are running a giveaway from today with our fika cup and plate here. Just share your favourite fika moment!

September 17 2014

Decor8

We received a request from Holly Becker of the prestigious Decor8 blog the other day - please send me Hygge, København and Koto - this is what happened.

Our new XL 600gr Scents of Scandinavia - each with 4 wicks and poured into hand-blown glass - are available now.

August 25 2014

The Scent Bar

Our first scent bar and scent cube revealed - a dramatic new way to display our Scents of Scandinavia. 

August 22 2014

DesignTrade starts Sunday

Come to DesignTrade in Copenhagen from Sunday, and see this empty space transform itself into our first scent bar.

 

August 15 2014

The KOTO interview

Scandinavian design draws from many elements. Nature is one important influence, where long winters and fewer hours of sunlight inspire bright spaces with clean lines. Interiors often appear effortless, with a clear expression of form. Design has an emphasis on simplicity, elegance and practicality and is rarely ostentatious. A candle, just one example of a more unobtrusive style of design, can create a perfect everyday intimate moment, where the simple gesture of lighting a wick engenders a feeling of calm and tranquility.

On behalf of Design Bloggers United (DBU), Walnut Grey Design asked Shaun Russell (SR), the founder of SKANDINAVISK, to talk about KOTO, his company and living in Scandinavia.

DBU: Why did you decide to collaborate with the bloggers collective to create a candle?

SR: I have always followed and admired what ‘Bungalow5’ and ‘Emmas Designblogg’ have done for celebrating Scandinavian lifestyle and design in the world – they are truly magnets for design inspiration. Then when I met other members of the collective at DesignTrade in Copenhagen in 2013, I heard about your common principles and design aesthetic, and learned of your innovative thinking about working together across Northern Europe. It seemed a perfect match for our brand and ambitions.

DBU: As a collective we agreed on the concept of ‘home’ and so KOTO was born. What are your thoughts on the concept?

SR: In launching our scents we always try to identify and reflect an aspect of the region that carries great importance to its inhabitants: the value of a moment (HYGGE, RO); their symbiosis with the sea (HAV); the length of the summers (SOMMAR); or the overwhelming scale of the forests (SKOV).

I think with KOTO you have taken our concept and evolved it naturally. Prioritising small moments together at home is, we believe, what makes Scandinavia so happy and successful. In turn, KOTO makes perfect sense. The use of a traditional Finnish word for ‘home’ gives it something special too. Finland may not be truly Scandinavian, however it is Nordic and the country’s way of life very much reflects its Scandinavian neighbours.

DBU: Can you describe the fragrance those burning KOTO will enjoy?

SR: This time we decided to find a fragrance that was less native Scandinavian but similar in its subtlety. With KOTO one can find notes of jasmine, vanilla and amber. It is a lovely soft fragrance.

DBU: How did SKANDINAVISK evolve? What was the inspiration behind the brand?

SR: Gerry and I are two Englishmen who fell in love with two blonde Scandinavian girls fifteen years ago and never left [Gerry Kingham also established SKANDINAVISK]. We have spent most of our time here, living and travelling across the region; during this time we gradually fell in love with the Scandinavian way of life. There’s the endless summer days, cold dark winters, unique landscapes and scents, all mixed with the people’s active embrace of the outdoors. Then there’s the inhabitants approach to life – the priority of family over career, going home at 4pm and the sanctity of everyday moments (hygge). So we launched SKANDINAVISK early last year (2013), essentially as an homage to the Scandinavia we have observed, participate in and admire. The inspiration behind the brand is, in essence, Scandinavia. Candlelight – whether scented or simply plain – was the obvious starting point.

DBU: In what way does SKANDINAVISK reflect the wider virtues of Scandinavian living?

SR: We want people to savour the moment, any moment. It might be a moment shared or a moment to oneself, because we believe this is one of the secrets to the success of the lifestyle here. So our fragrances, our ceramics, our candles, are designed to reflect this unique region and encourage people to relax and focus on the now. As John Lennon once said, “life is what happens while you’re busy making other plans.” As an Englishman I feel almost drilled into that future way of thinking, whereas Scandinavians make life happen now.

DBU: As a self-proclaimed Englishman living in Copenhagen, how have you experienced hygge?

SR: It takes a while to really understand and appreciate hygge because it is as much a mental state as a specific moment. Danes can think almost any situation can be hyggelig, but that’s more because of their approach to that moment. Simplistically though, it’s a moment shared with people you love, often over coffee and candlelight, without thinking about what you are doing next.

DBU: What do you love most about the Scandinavia mindset and way of living?

SR: I love the way Scandinavians actively embrace the nature and the seasons surrounding them, and the way they find happiness in daily life rather than distant dreams. The cup is often half full here; there is a constant subtle optimism that is refreshing, and there is a community attitude that makes people see the future improving for everyone, not just the elite.

August 13 2014

Formex starts today

Stockholm's Formex fair starts today and you can find our micro-sized stand in Hall B 04:52. Drop by to experience our 3 new winter scents - SNÖ, JUL and, of course KOTO, our exciting collaboration with Design Bloggers United.

 

August 12 2014

Bluemindboy

Love this image of our Urban Bliss scent! http://instagram.com/bluemindboy

August 08 2014

Design Bloggers United

Today we announce our collaboration with Design Bloggers United - a collective of leading northern European design bloggers lead by Allan Torp of Bungalow5 and Emma Fexeus of Emma's Design Blogg. KOTO is our first 4-wick, 75 hour scented candle poured into hand-blown glass, and heralds the launch of our winter collection including 4-wick versions of our best-selling HYGGE, RO and HAV scents. 

August 04 2014

Dropping in to London

Orbiting sunny London with a case of Scandinavian winter in the hold - our winter collection starts to be revealed from today!

July 31 2014

Winter Teaser

In the coming days we will introduce our winter collection in London, Stockholm and Copenhagen. Our new items are designed to celebrate the cosiness of hibernation and the adjustment of Scandinavian life to the long dark winter ahead. Starting with KOTO - the traditional Finnish word for home - and a design collaboration with a very interesting group of people...

July 29 2014

Now in Switzerland

Our entire collection can now be found at Scandinavian design sanctuary Nordish Living in the beautiful city of St. Gallen, north-eastern Switzerland. 

July 23 2014

Scandi heatwave

Its been such a heatwave in Scandinavia we just left our desks and hit the water - from the Stockholm archipelago to Copenhagen harbour, from the island of Gotland to the clear green waters of Kullaberg. Vackert!

 

 

 

Hidden away in tiny Lunenburg, Nova Scotia and curated by Scott Smith The Pentper General Shop is our second Canadian location.

 

Coming soon - our 3 most popular scented candles will be available in 75 hour, 4-wick versions poured into handmade glass.

June 21 2014

Midsummer giveaway

 

On the longest night of the year our favourite Dutch blog Beeldsteil launched a midsummer competition for our Swedish scented candles. Go win!

June 20 2014

Happy Midsummer

 

Its raining outside so it must be midsummer!

June 17 2014

Testing prototypes

 

Our new blanket decorating some of Scandinavia's finest creations. 

June 16 2014

Fjord og Ferie

 

Lounge Trondheim in Norway, our most northerly store, is looking forward to a fjord summer holiday.

 

For the third year running Copenhagen has won Monocle magazine's prestigious World's Most Liveable City survey - see their rationale in a short film here. Couldn't be more appropriate for our new Urban Bliss scent!

June 13 2014

DesignTorget

Starting next week our Scents of Scandinavia will be found in DesignTorget stores in Stockholm, Göteborg, Malmö and Uppsala. Vad mysigt!

June 07 2014

Huff Post loves Sweden

The Huffington Post gets into the Swedish spirit with this collection of reasons to live in Sweden - concluding with the inevitable fika! 

June 06 2014

National Day in Sweden

 

And here's 10 reasons why Sweden leads the world.

Map of coffee consumption by country - go Nordics!
June 03 2014

Petals and hearts

 

Calming small moments with our new fika cups.

 

 

 

In recent publication - The Swedish Kitchen - by the Swedish Institute we liked their own little interpretation of their inhabitants' obsession with fika.

May 02 2014

Our little fika film

Enjoy a short film about Swedish fika and the process of developing our new handmade porcelain collection with Jeanette Hiiri. 

 

 

Our complete Spring/Summer 2014 collection with fika porcelain shaped by Jeanette Hiiri is now shipping worldwide. 

April 21 2014

Why we are here

April 16 2014

God Påske

While Copenhagen airport wasn't our first airport - that honour fell to Iceland's Keflavik thanks to our friends at Epal - it is with a sense of great pride that we present our first displays at Illums Bolighus in an airport we have both travelled through for over 12 years.

April 09 2014

New Danish Design

We love this new interpretation of our brand by Danish photographer Gyrithe Lemche and British stylist Kate Wood for a forthcoming feature on New Danish Design. Story to follow.

April 04 2014

Singapore in bloesem

Fabulous Dutch design blog Bloesem relocated to Singapore, opened a beautiful concept store and now offers our scents of Scandinavia amongst her hand-picked collection.

March 31 2014

IN April 2014

We are so pleased to see our HAV scented candle in the April issue of Danish magazine IN.

March 30 2014

First day of spring

Its the first day of spring and the old Scandinavian proverb couldn't ring more true on this sunny morning.

Delighted to announce that from this weekend you can find our candle collection at temple of Scandinavian design, Illums Bolighus.