Oslo and Norwegian Presence

I was invited to Oslo, Norway to get a preview of what they are showing in Milan. Of course a good way to get ahead for June, but also to look at a contemporary definition of what Norwegian design is 2022.

Scandinavian design is normally defined as something reduced, minimal and with clear function. Yes, form follows function so functionality is key. Scandinavian design also tend to use local materials so more wood, glass and metal than for instance plastics.

Scandinavia includes Norway, Denmark and Sweden – however the concept of Scandinavian design also includes Finland. In the 50s people thought it looked cooler to have the term Scandinavian design rather than Nordic design (which is actually the proper term).

During my years working for various design organisations I’ve come to learn that Denmark and Finland is similar in one sense and Norway and Sweden in another. The Danes and Finns tend to push already established and large companies such as Fritz Hansen and Artek, while Norway and Sweden like to push younger designers.

In one corner you have established brands and in the other you have young and grassroot oriented designers.

Norwegian Presence is the proper name for the design initiative for Milan. In an exhibition in Brera, Milan one will show contemporary Norwegian design. And as you can guess, much focus on the younger talents.

One of the talents is Anna Maria Øfstedal Eng. She made furniture pieces working with chainsaw and sandpaper.

It is really unique and lovely. The small stool or side table is already in production by Ferm Living.

This is pushing the limits of Norwegian design being very ornamental just by looking at the piece. Norwegian in the sense that it uses only one material, but still push boundaries.

At the same location as these chainsaw pieces was ceramist Julia K Persson.

She has been looking at ceramics as being inspirered by contruction. What shapes gives a piece a sturdy feeling?

This crumb brush has been seen in a lot of media. It is done by British Norwegian designer Poppy Lawman. Here she is exploring steam bending and natural materials.

Mor of her previous work. The small side table to the left is made of paper pulp that almost feels like concrete.

In Milan the Norwegians want to show her concept with local wood. Also a bit ornamental, but true to the material perspective.

More minimal and therefore more true to an older, established version of Scandinavian design, are these benches by Brave New Line. The designers have been to contruction sites and found spare aluminum pieces and made waste into new design.

Image break with interior design from the Opera House in Oslo.

More from Opera House.

Design couple Pettersen Hein will participate but not with ceramic pieces like this. Instead they are doing a chair but my photo simply just disappeared somewhere. For Milan they are doing a small stool with lots of left over pieces from flooring.

Me looking at design… Next to me is Norwegian Lisbeth from Jotun and there will be a new colour produced for this exhibition in Milan.

Pictures from the shop of Krååkvik D’Orazio.

In this picture you find three exhibitors for Milan. The chair is a super sustainable piece designed by Tom Jenkins for Minus. We had a long discussion on their sustainable angle and let’s not go there here… I appreciate that they make an effort. And the chair looks super Norwegian with it’s reduced shape.

The lamp is made by young designer Edvin Klasson.

But I looooooove the hangers. They are designed by Henrik Ödegaard. You can tell he studied graphical design. They are like letters on a wall. Henrik also runs Norwegian design gallery Pyton together with Tron further down here.

Also Hallgeir Homstvedt is participating in the exhibition. Here a classic minimal design. The seat is flexible so it holds a new function.

Stone vases. Ornamental but few material mixes. A combination of classical Scandinavian design but with an ornamental feeling. Made by Tron Meyer (also behind the gallery Pyton).

Finally some pieces from brand Nedre Foss. Designers Anderssen Voll started their own brand. It all started with a candle holder they really liked and no one wanted to produce it – so they did it themselves. They continue to produce new design objects. Not only Norwegian designers but also Japanese – and Swedish. But all very lovely.

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