ASKO - Scandinavian design ethos in household appliances

The appliance of the Scandinavian design ethos in household appliances

Australian homeowners have been obsessed with ‘Scandi’ styling in recent years, and the popularity of minimalist interiors punctuated by blanched woods and textiles has soared. But there is a vast difference between the pale colours and natural materials that denote the Scandi design sensibility and true Scandinavian design, which is so much more sophisticated than colour palettes and materials, prizing functionality, practicality and affordability.

Modern Scandinavian design from the Nordic countries Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, and Norway, was a design movement of the 1950s that captured the attention of the rest of the world, as we all embraced the simplicity of mid-century design.

But this design revolution actually started at the turn of the 20th Century as the Swedish government sought solutions to help lift the country out of severe poverty and the economic doldrums. The government was  keen to free both parents from domestic chores (in times when women weren’t encouraged to work) so that they could start work, return to work, or work longer hours to earn more money.

Considerable investment was plowed into the development of appliances, surfaces and the functionality that tackled time poverty, making it quicker and easier for people to cook and clean, and freeing them up to focus on helping turn the economy around. The result was Scandinavian design, the essence of which is refined function. In the eyes of true Scandinavian design, if an item doesn’t have a defined purpose, and simple functionality, it doesn’t count as ‘design’.

In the Nordic countries the Scandinavian design philosophy is ingrained from a very early age. Houses aren’t vast, and apartment living predominates, so out of necessity Items must be stored purposefully… furniture is designed conservatively… every element within a home has to justify its existence and be accountable for the footprint it takes up. Even ‘Scandi’s’ hallmark pale palette has a function; the bright, white colours and blonde timbers reflecting natural light, and offsetting the darkness, during the region’s long winter days and months. Scandinavian design is quite simply ‘A way of life’.

The keys to Scandinavian design are functionality, efficiency, simplicity, and design.


Scandinavian appliances will never dominate their surrounds; they are the shy, retiring heroes – and the hardest-workers – in any room. Can’t cook? ASKO ovens include a selection of automated programs that will coach you through a wide variety of dishes. Hate cleaning the oven? ASKO ovens’ self-cleaning functionality incinerates stubborn cooking detritus for you! Don’t want your cakes or soufflés to sag? Lock the door of your ASKO oven to prevent sabotage. Worried about little ones putting their hands where they shouldn’t? The exterior of ASKO glass is designed to remain at a low temperature no matter how hot the interior of your oven gets. Worried about blowing up your kitchen? ASKO’s gas cooktops offer ‘Flame Failure Protection’ that cuts off the gas supply to a burner within seconds if a flame is accidentally extinguished. (I told you the Swedish are practical!)


The rising popularity of induction cooking is where ASKO’s Scandinavian design really comes to the fore. With the emphasis on practicality, ASKO cooktops are modular so kitchen owners can choose a combination of induction, gas, or ceramic cooktops to suit their individual needs. While they are designed to blend seamlessly with their surroundings, ASKO’s cooktops are functionality-packed. Induction styles offer six pre-set temperatures to help maintain the correct heat no matter what’s cooking. And, ASKO’s ceramic cooktops offer fast heat through four halogen adjustable cooking zones. True to Scandinavian form, all are easy to wipe clean in seconds. I have a combination induction/gas gas module in my kitchen at Borough of Hawthorn and I love that the burners are one-piece so you don’t have to spend ages trying to piece them back together after cleaning. 


ASKO’s user interface keeps apace with the wider world of technology, allowing one-touch operation of kitchen and laundry appliances, and most frequently used functionality at our fingertips, just like we expect from our smart phones and tablets. In another nod to Scandivanians’ prized practicality, ASKO is the only appliance manufacturer in Australia that offers a breakdown repair service seven days a week. Ain’t nobody got time to take half a day off work to wait for someone to come and fix a washing machine, tumble dryer or oven!


Simple materials are the hero of Scandinavian design which makes it easy to incorporate ASKO’s Scandinavian-style appliances into any home interior whether it’s classic, modern, retro or eclectic. Nowhere is this more evident than in the kitchen and laundry areas where stainless steel and glass components integrate seamlessly with their surroundings. The glass, and matt black glass, of ASKO’s new induction cooktops range integrate perfectly with their surrounding bench tops and are bang on the current trend for mixing matt and gloss surface finishes.