Hygge, pronounced HOO-GA, is a Danish word translating loosely as “cozy” but which carries a deeper meaning in the Danish culture. Hygge is about being alive to the present moment and paying attention to that which makes us feel open-hearted and alive. It is about building harmony and community, creating connection and warmth and celebrating the ordinary and the common place. From tea in a beautiful cup and candlelight at dinner to heaps of blankets and knit socks on a cold night, Hygge is, in the words of Danish/British writer Louisa Thomsen Brits, “a practical way of creating a sanctuary in the middle of very real life, a way of illuminating the dark and inviting the warmth.”

How can we bring Hygge into our fast-paced lives? Stop, breathe, pay attention to all that surrounds you. Be present to the moment. Create refuges; places of beauty and serenity, which allow you to pause and restore your spirit. Honor your connections, the people and places that deeply inform your experience of being alive. Long considered a part of the Danish national character, Hygge helps in “finding the magic in the ordinary.” (Marie Tourell Soderberg). Recognizing and acknowledging an act, moment or feeling when the mundane feels extraordinary. This is, after all, a country where the laundromats are also coffee shops! The word Hygge was reportedly first used back in the 18th century and is a derivation from the Norwegian meaning ‘well-being’. It is a positive and enduring quality of a people who have captured the ephemeral essence of what it means to be happy.

Words By Ivy Cheuk and Lisa Welty-O’Hare

Ivy Cheuk’s role, besides being the Director of Design, is to cultivate creativity and oversee the creative process and design experience at One Workplace. Ivy loves traveling to different countries and experiencing other cultures, food, and history. Ivy says the feeling of being immersed in a second language and understanding how things are done in different places becomes an eye-opening experience for her each time. She also feels that traveling is a gateway for introspecting, allowing her to truly feel alive.

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