The hygge factor! Unfortunately, there is no exact translation for this term because it equates to a state of mind. Hygge is feeling good about oneself and others, in total relaxation and intimacy, at home. Imagine sipping a glass of wine, reading a book in front of an open fire, enjoy a homemade cake with your loved ones, or sprawled on a soft sheepskin rug. All this is hygge: that feeling of comfort and warmth that envelops your senses.
We could say that hygge is a way of living at home; that dimension of comfort and hospitality to which most people, each with their own style, aspire. Design has always tried to capture this feeling, transforming it into an aesthetic trend and creating furniture and objects capable of creating that sense of ease and well-being that we all seek
What could be warmer and more hospitable than the womb or a maternal hug? Up5, the armchair designed in 1969 by Gaetano Pesce, digs deep into the human soul, evoking primitive and unconscious needs in order to create an object capable of enveloping and modelling itself around the body. Playing on curvilinear geometries and marked by a hypnotic presence and a pop personality, this chair conveys a sense of security, comfort and warmth. Sitting and being lulled in a soft embrace epitomises an existential attitude to be self-indulgent and not to deny oneself the small pleasures in life. What could be more hygge than that?
Perhaps only Bocca, the red sofa in the shape of a giant pair of lips, created by Studio 65 for Gufram in 1970. Deeply fascinating and provocative, with a femininely elegant aesthetic, Bocca sets out to surprise and seduce, like the lips of Mae West and Marilyn Monroe, which provided the inspiration for the sofa. This symbolic object is unconcerned with form; it is a poetic object that embodies our imagination of love. Upon lying back on this sofa, you cannot help but smile and ward off stress and negative feelings, savouring a perfect moment of intimacy yourself and with others.
The home intended as a place for the soul; a living, pulsating universe in which design functions for well-being: this is the concept behind the most comfortable, relaxed and easy-going seats of all time, capable of accommodating the desire for self-indulgence, whether on your own or with good company.
One example is Sacco, the bean bag designed by Piero Gatti, Cesare Paolini and Franco Teodoro for Zanotta in 1968. Modern and revolutionary, Sacco made history of Italian design in the world, becoming the emblem of an unstructured and self-managed seat that responds to the needs of free spirits. Devoid of any rigid structure, this armchair is colourful, light and unconventional; an extremely ergonomic bean bag that adapts to the body of the user, enveloping it and accompany its every movement.
Relaxation is also the keyword of Aqualibrium: a comfortable and equally colourful ottoman on which to sit, lie down and rest. Conceived in 2006 by Matteo Bazzicalupo and Raffaella Mangiarotti, this ottoman can be used both at home and in the garden, and is also ideal in the pool as it floats and lights up the night with bright flashes of colour. Aqualibrium is an aesthetically versatile, modern and timeless object. It aspires to become the emblem of informal and unconventional relaxation; a hymn to modern-day comfort and a must-have for those millennials who are used to overturning rules and customs – including in the design field.
Hygge self-indulgence is also made of pleasant surprises, conviviality and fun. So why not keep at least three bottles of good champagne chilled in order to turn a dull evening into a cheerful impromptu party with friends? This is what the designer Glen Baghurst must have had in mind when he conceived Champagne, an opulent brass and marble table which, due to its special shape and features, keeps even the finest bottles at the optimal temperature ready to serve. The visual effect is guaranteed: the table is a blend of provocation, design and ornament that arouses instant curiosity and amusement.
Feeling good about oneself and with others involves a tendency towards authenticity, spontaneity, and the desire to be surrounded by sentimental things such as those that shaped our childhood. 90° Minuto by Adriano Design for Blab Italia reinterprets the most popular table-top game in the world. Who has never played foosball at least once in their life? Who has never rejoiced with friends over a well-aimed goal? Fun, friendly and festive, it is probably the hygge-est game ever. But forget about dusty tables, plastic knobs and red and blue foosmen. Today, the old table football – a cult object for many generations – promises a rewarding gaming experience without neglecting beauty of form. A slim and stylish wooden structure outlines and supports the new playing field, transformed into a magical crystal stadium in which to measure up against friends right up until the 90th minute!
This is the true meaning of hygge: conceiving one's domestic environment as an ideal place where “lives can unfold, children grow up, and dogs run wild”. And may Tyler Brûlé forgive us for quoting him.