The design of happiness
Every year the United Nations releases its World Happiness Report, which rates countries by the happiness of their citizens. Denmark consistently ranks amongst the top three and, more often than not, takes out the number one spot. So why are Danes so happy?
Denmark is known for its strong stance on social equality and its excellent welfare system, which are undoubtedly big contributors to happiness scores. But those policies and governance structures come at a cost–Danes are taxed a minimum of 50% of their earnings to fund the system that supports them.
So with access to high quality social services being balanced by some of the highest taxes in the world, what else is happening in Denmark that makes people so happy?
Happiness by design
You’d be forgiven for thinking that long winters, short daylight hours, and sub-zero temperatures would be a recipe for depression. But to the contrary, climate is a big contributor to Denmark’s way of life and the happiness of its people.
The often-oppressive darkness outside has paved the way for the cultural staples of interior design and hygge (being cosy together) inside. The Danish response to cold, dark days is interiors that find synergy with human moods and encourage interaction.
Danish design is characterised by light and bright interiors, warm minimalism, natural finishes, muted tones and colour palette of soft neutrals. The country’s iconic designer furniture is created with intention and purpose: every object must contribute to the space as a whole, function seamlessly, and look and feel beautiful.
Design in Denmark has evolved over decades to create architecture, interiors and furniture that bring about feelings of contentment and happiness. All the better to set the mood for hygge.
Health and wellbeing
More than a design hub, Denmark is an innovator in the responsible use of environmental resources. This forward-thinking nation is home to Samsø, the world’s first 100% renewable energy-powered island. Owing predominantly to wind turbines, this small island generates more energy that it consumes. Following on from the success of Samsø, the Danish government has announced that Copenhagen will be the world’s first carbon-neutral capital city by 2025.
Denmark’s commitment to sustainability doesn’t stop at energy production. It also has the highest organic market share in the world, with more than 10 percent of the country’s produce being farmed without chemical fertilisers or pesticides. With a view to increasing that number the Danish government offers subsidies for organic agriculture, including a 2018-19 allocation to organic farmers worth AUD$250 million.
A strong commitment to health and wellbeing–of both citizens and the environment–could well be a factor in the happiness of the Danish people.
WØRKS: inspired by Denmark
Given that one half of our founding team is Danish, it’s no surprise that WØRKS takes a lot of inspiration from this small Scandinavian nation. With functionality, clean lines, classic silhouette and neutral palette in mind, considered design prevails across our collections. And in the tradition of Danish design, WØRKS products are crafted to act as sophisticated objects for the home.
With a view to keeping our environmental impact as minimal as possible, we source certified organic, fair trade and sustainably grown and harvested raw materials; create clean, vegan and biodegradable formulations; and house our formulations in reusable glass vessels. By combining beautiful design with sustainable raw materials and organic formulations, WØRKS brings a touch of Danish happiness into the homes of our clients.