The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston has pulled out all the stops for its “Scandinavian Design” exhibit. Culled from the museum's collection of decorative arts, the exhibit highlights the contributions of architects, designers and manufacturers from Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden. The glass, ceramics and furniture on display also reflect the region's influence on North American and European design. What characterizes the work of such designers as Alvar Aalto, Finn Juhl, Bruno Mathsson, Orrefors and Tapio Wirkkala? Straightforward, simple lines, certainly, but also an emphasis on quality that can be extended through mass production. Take Mathsson's chaise lounge, for example. Viewed from the side, the beech jute, cotton, leather and metal lounge chair looks like it perfectly fits the simple bends and arcs of the reclining human body. The 1942 piece is still standing, a testament to the manufacturer's insistence on durability. The Scandinavian aesthetic isn't just about functionality. Ida Forss's Sugarfree necklace resembles a lace made of white Chiclets, while Kaj Franck's Kremlin Bells decanter looks more like a glass sculpture than something to hold wine. Both reveal the fanciful possibilities of clean design. 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesdays and Wednesdays, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Thursdays, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, 12:15 to 7 p.m. Sundays. Through January 27. 1001 Bissonnet. For information, call 713-639-7300 or visit www.mfah.org. Free to $10.
Tuesdays-Sundays. Starts: Aug. 26. Continues through Jan. 27, 2012
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