The Story Behind Bolia and New Scandinavian Design

Bolia Sixtysix Magazine

Bolia’s muted collection celebrates international influence.


May 3, 2021

Clean lines, wood accents, a muted palette.

The design world has long reveled in the minimalist principles of Scandinavian design since the practice emerged in the 1930s.

Now one Danish furniture brand is inviting the rest of the world to join in, too.

Started in 2000, Bolia focuses on what it calls “New Scandinavian Design,” an approach that explores and reinterprets what Scandinavian design means in a multicultural world. Many of the company’s furniture and accessories are designed not within the confines of Scandinavia but all over the world.

“We have designers from Singapore, Germany, Spain, the US, all over who give that diverse look at what Scandinavian design looks like when you’re not Scandinavian,” says Camilla Kallehauge Møller, who works with many of the designers as part of the Bolia Creative Committee.

“We know Scandinavian design is about wood, craft, minimalism, but what is really inspiring is that when you design something outside of this bubble, you work with different materials and shapes,” Camilla says. “The designs push the boundaries of what Scandinavian design can look like. When you take these designs and put them into the creative universe, it adds that extra little something new to Scandinavian Design—and that is what truly drives us. There is this new design that’s never been done before.”

At the start of a new collection the Bolia Creative Committee—a small team of representatives from all over Bolia—comes together to determine the purpose of the next collection. “It’s a very democratic process,” Camilla says. “We look at design development from all perspectives.”

From those conversations a list of “wishes, hopes, and ambitions” is born, fashioned into a design brief, and sent to Bolia’s global network of designers.

Bolia Lamp Sixtysix Magazine

Danish designer Asger Risborg Jakobsen designed the Reflection Pendant, seen here in brass lacquered aluminum.

While the creative brief differs from collection to collection, each encourages designers to push Scandinavian design into a new era, to add to its story, and explore sustainability and what it means both to design as a whole and Bolia as a brand.

Camilla says Scandinavian design is timeless no matter its origin.

“What we try to do is create a collection that can serve as people’s safe haven. We want to promote slowness, seeking silence. The world is spinning fast so every home should be this sanctuary where you find calm.”

Bolia’s Spring 2021 Collection, designed by designers inside Scandinavia and out, explores this idea of creating curated safe havens with soft, tactile shapes and spaces that encourage stillness.

The result is furniture like inviting modular sofas and carefully crafted wood designs that provoke a sense of escape all while driving the mission of modern Scandinavian design.

It’s a long creative process. From the design brief, Bolia’s Creative Committee reviews the influx of proposals before going back and forth with selected designers to finalize visions of this new type of Scandinavian design.

Additionally every year the company hosts the Bolia Design Awards, which seeks out new designers, dreamers, and thinkers, of which the winning design may be featured in the company’s newest collection.

“We do that every year, so that brings us closer to that perspective of newness in design,” Camilla says. “That keeps us on our toes.”
But that’s not to say Bolia ignores traditional aspects of Scandinavian design. Nature, for example, plays a big role.

“It could be the colors, materials, shapes, or feelings you get from visiting nature. The collections are all about reconnecting to nature through design and physical form.”

That connection to the natural world extends to materials, of which Bolia is very selective.

“Textiles, wood, stoneware—it’s about the honesty in the materials and how they are processed, the people who work with them at factories, and how they are transported.”

Working with some of the best known quality testing organizations, every step links back to the relationship each piece of furniture has with the earth.

“Everything is hooked up with nature as the main inspiration,” Camilla says. “To us sustainability is in everything you do.”

A version of this article originally appeared in Sixtysix Issue 06 with the headline “Bridge House.” Subscribe today.


Produced by Studio Sixtysix
Photos courtesy of Bolia
Words by Sophia Conforti
Studio Sixtysix is the in-house creative agency to Sixtysix magazine. Studio Sixtysix stories are conceived, produced, and edited by Studio Sixtysix.