I dutifully avoid stores like Flying Tiger Copenhagen. Stores that have a million little knick-knacks I never knew I wanted (and certainly don’t need): candles, fake fur notebooks, throws in gem tones that look great in the store but clash with everything at home.
So when I visited the company’s New York flagship recently, I was pleasantly surprised to find, if not a practical retail experience, at least a vaguely spiritual one. Everything sold at Flying Tiger Copenhagen–an expanding chain that peddles cheap, Danish design–is meant to create “hygge,” the Scandinavian concept of coziness. Hygge is about ushering warmth and comfort into the home; Denmark’s tourism website insists it “might be a recipe for a happier life.”
Applied to products, that means a candle isn’t just a wick and a tower of wax; it brings you closer to friends and family. Convenient marketing? Perhaps, especially since hygge has become a lifestyle fetish in its own right, a neatly packaged Scando-export that gives overworked, socially maladjusted Americans an excuse to act like human beings. But I’ll bite: If an adorable flower vase for my bike might make me happier, I’ll gladly pay $3.