Simple, stark and beautiful

Oh My Eyes’ biggest inspiration stems from the Scandinavian modernist design movement. We commissioned Stockholm-based photographer Mårten Ryner to capture the city’s rich modernist heritage.

Råcksta Crematorium, 1960. Designed by architects Gunnar Martinsson and Klas Fåhræus.

Scandinavian modernism is a design movement that emerged during the 1930s in Scandinavia, here referred to as ‘functionalism’. Besides values such as democratic and affordable, innovative technological solutions emerged alongside an inspiration from nature with warm colours, round, organic shapes and a mix of materials.

We are happy to present Modern Buildings, a photo series by photographer Mårten Ryner, who has documented the city’s incredible modernist heritage. “I love minimalism and concrete in general so modernism with its clean lines is really a perfect subject matter. Simple, stark and beautiful,” Ryner says.

S:t Eriks Gymnasium, 1937. Designed by architect Paul Hedqvist.
The Visitors Center at The Woodland Cemetery, 1923. Designed by architect Gunnar Asplund.

What fascinates you with this movement in architecture? 

Mostly I think the new materials that appeared in the early 20th century and how that changed the way we think about buildings and how the construction evolved with that.

If you were to pick one building from the project, which one stands out the most to you?

It would have to be the crematorium at Råcksta Cemetery. The use of basic shapes and the interplay between them really stands out. The way their juxtaposition creates balance and tension is fantastic.

Do you have a favourite architect?

Carlo Scarpa, Japanese aesthetics and modernism in concrete, what’s not to like.

A favourite building in general?

There are so many but I visited Villa Noailles (by Robert Mallet-Stevens) in Hyères back in August and that building blew my mind. The setting on the top of a hill, the garden with its views, the solutions and the amount of details (and to maintain that level over 1800m2!) is stunning. It is so well thought through and must have been considered so futuristic when it was built in the 20’s.

Stockholm Public Library, 1928. Designed by architect Gunnar Asplund.

What is it like to photograph architecture, any challenges that you have to overcome?

Weather and light are always factors that can make things tricky (or the complete opposite) but other than that it is normally time, especially on bigger projects. It’s really easy to get caught up by a building and the details it possesses. With a project like this, things get a little bit easier since I could go back so many times. I think I spent three or four days just shooting The Woodland Cemetery. Truly a luxury even if it made selections a bit overwhelming.

The Traneberg Bridge, 1934. Designed by architect Paul Hedqvist.
LM Ericson, 1938. Designed by architect Ture Wennerholm.
The Woodland Crematorium, 1940. Designed by architect Gunnar Asplund.
Chapel of Resurrection at The Woodland Cemetery, 1925. Designed by architect Sigurd Lewerentz.
Nymble, 1928. Designed by architects Sven Markelius and Uno Åhrén.
Munspelet, 1966. Designed by architects Olof Thunström and Claes Tottie.

Italian eyewear designer Marco Galliani has interpreted Scandinavian modernism in his collection for Oh My Eyes. View his vision here and shop the full collection here.