HOW TO:TABLESCAPE, SCANDINAVIAN-STYLE, WITH GEORG JENSEN
Line Kristensen Coleman, global visual merchandiser at Danish lifestyle company Georg Jensen, defines tablescaping as ‘the consideration you put into setting your table,’ and ‘the overall scene set around the meal’. Here, she shares her top tips on adding a touch of Scandi elegance to your festive dining table
FIRST THINGS FIRST
When it comes to tablescaping, consider the occasion and what you are serving. It doesn’t matter if you are setting the table for four or fourteen, the scheme can be the same, just as long as you find the right balance between practical and festive. Don’t let decorations get in the way of your place settings. It should be eye-catching, but not limit the eyesight or the view of the guests on the opposite side of the table. When deciding on a scheme, consider the centerpiece first, and then let the other details follow. For example, the colour of the tablecloth and napkins should pick up on a colour in the centerpiece, or be neutral. It is also possible to let each place setting be its own little centerpiece. Style the porcelain and napkins with a large flower, twig or ornament; just keep the middle of the table cleaner with simpler flowers and some striking candleholders.
Scandinavians always look to nature for decorative elements. I encourage everyone to go for a walk in the forest and look at nature with an eye for decorations. Go all in on sprigs of pine, Ilex (holly), and flowers, or keep it simple with large bold pinecones and — my favourite for this year — succulents of different sorts and sizes. We tend to keep these nature elements in their natural form without too much glitter and artificial components. Instead we use colourful ribbons, maybe little ornaments in pretty papers and nice dinnerware and serving pieces. To make a simple but impactful natural centrepiece, a sculptural branch, maybe with pinecones, is an easy go-to piece. Decorate it with small ornaments, little candle holders, succulents or add sprigs of pine or holly. The branch can be placed in a vase, but it can also lay flat on the table with candle holders surrounding it.
SETTING THE SCENE
Your tabletop is a great place to invest. Timeless design and impeccable quality make for both a sustainable and financially savvy investment. Cutlery is a good place to start. Whether it’s for everyday use or special occasion silverware, it sets the tone for a great dining experience. A personal favourite investment are steel pitchers, such as the HK Pitcher, designed by Henning Koppel. They work as little pieces of art on the table and help to elevate and set the look. I would also recommend investing in a series of serving bowls. When all your serving pieces match it makes for a neat and sophisticated tablescape. Use a matching tablecloth and napkins in either the same colour or similar tone-on-tone colours. If you don’t own napkin rings, tie a small Christmas ornament around each napkin or use a lovely silk or velvet ribbon.
LET THERE BE LIGHT
Candles are a must, they really help to add the cosy, Danish hygge to the table. At Georg Jensen, we will mix tea lights with long tapered candles to get sparkle on all levels. Always try to bring some height and drama to your table. Opting for one bold element, such as the sculptural branch or a cluster of candleholders in varying heights, rather than several little elements, is much more impactful. In Denmark, there’s an old tradition where you place a small candle at each place setting and whoever has the candle that burns down first must clear the table. Personally, right now, I’m drawn to the very sculptural lighting fixtures launching from some of my favourite brands, such as the Tense pendant by New Works and the Chiara floor lamp by Flos. Lighting is everything – especially in the north this time of year.