As a Norwegian living in Milan, the Norwegian Presence exhibition is a highlight every year at Milan Design Week and something I always look forward to. This year, however, Milan Design Week is as many of you know cancelled. Despite the absence of its usual exhibition platform – Milan – Norwegian Presence is back for a sixth year, bringing the best of Norway’s creative talent to the world design stage. The aim this year is to shine a spotlight on the designers and manufacturers blazing a trail in the realms of circular production and sustainable design thinking.
The curatorial team, Marit Haugen from Oslo-based architects Haugen/Zohar and Benedicte Sunde of DOGA (aka Design and Architecture Norway), has selected 10 of the nation’s designers who are developing intriguing new applications for natural lower-carbon materials such as wood, aluminium, stone and paper, which I am very happy to be presenting with you here. Because even if we can’t be present at the design fair this year, a virtual version can help fill that design void.
This year, DOGA is pleased to announce its curation of the designers and manufacturers setting the agenda for Norwegian making, and reveal the products and prototypes that best express the ideas, materials, ambitions and concerns that characterise design culture in Norway today with a look to the future they’re creating. The exhibition celebrate the manufacturers such as Vestre, NCP and Fjordfiesta who have embraced the green shift towards a sustainable economy, and who are actively demonstrating the commercial viability of environmentally sound production.
“Norwegian Presence is a reaction against the glamour that has dominated the design field. We are becoming more conscious. The manufacturers and designers presented in the exhibition share a focus on sustainability,” says Benedicte Sunde, Norwegian Presence co-curator.
Discover some of Norway’s leading designers:
Aluminium & Stone are objects anchored in experimentation. Inspired by Norwegian nature and fairy-tale creatures, the two materials’ strengths and weaknesses are explored by casting pieces of stone in metal. The process is intuitive: shapes are drawn in sand and liquid aluminium is poured in, leaving ample room for the unexpected in the process and the end result. The stones used are leftover materials from manufacture, and aluminium has been chosen for its easily recyclable qualities.
Follow on Instagram: @aligallefoss
Focuses on high-quality everyday objects rooted in traditional crafts and tactility.
Korpus is a wall-mounted shelf crafted from a single sheet of recycled aluminium. The metal is laser cut and hammered to shape by hand, leaving visible traces of the manual process. The construction requires no welding, making Korpus a production-friendly and 100% recyclable product. Furublokk, a family of side tables in solid pine wood and linseed oil, have a hollow block-like design, hence the name. An opening in the upper surface makes the objects a cross between a table, a storage space, a display unit and a sculpture. The design also gives the inexpensive and widespread Norwegian pine an unexpected finish that is usually reserved for more exclusive types of wood.
Follow on Instagram: @andreasbergsaker
Building on their individual design careers, Håvard Dybwad and Øyvind Wyller’s shared values and views on design paved the way for this new collaboration.
Stick is a simple and timeless coffee table in oak, aluminium and larvikite. The design builds on the idea of a round surface hovering between four thin sticks, which give it its name. The frame and tabletop are available in different finishes, with scope for various combinations of colours and materials. Over time, the natural surfaces will develop an appealing patina. Stick is designed to last, both aesthetically and through physical wear and tear, and can be flat-packed for easy transportation. The aluminium frame is made in collaboration with Hydro and powder-coated by Jotun Powder Coatings.
A Norwegian pattern design studio focusing on textiles and wallpapers.
Frozen is a family of textile patterns that are digitally printed on GOTS-certified cotton and recycled polyester with water-based, Greenguard Gold-certified latex ink. Their design is inspired by everyday events, preserving and amplifying seemingly unimportant moments. The patterns are designed using ink, moss and play dough before being digitised. Thanks to digital printing technology, designs can easily be produced in small quantities, avoiding unnecessary waste. The process also requires a minimal amount of water compared to traditional dyeing techniques. A number of the designs have been woven by the Norwegian manufacturer Innvik. In collaboration with Hydro, Plesner Patterns has also designed patterns punched in aluminium.
Follow on Instagram: @plesner_patterns
Design practice in Trondheim, focusing on small-scale architecture and furniture production.
Skala and Lulle, both in solid birch, are the first products in Variations in Birch, a series devoted to explorations of beautiful, sturdy wood joints. With an intuitive and workshop-based approach, the project aims to create a vocabulary of shapes that highlight the qualities of birch wood as a local and sustainable resource. Skala can be used as a side table, step stool and stool. Lulle is a daybed made of simple constructions and materials in collaboration with furniture maker Jörg Siegfried Schauer. The daybed’s woollen textile surface is padded with used wool blankets. Skala and Lulle are joined with glue and wooden plugs and treated with matte hard wax oil.
Follow on Instagram: @nilsstensrud
Design practice and small-scale furniture production.
Aaltobelli is a wooden seating group that can be rolled up and stored in a leather case. It consists of six stools, two trestles and a tabletop – a portable, compact and versatile solution, originally designed for a travelling theatre group. Una is a series of wooden picture frames. Using a traditional steam-bending technique, the wood’s cellulose fibres are softened, manipulated and left to solidify in a new U-shape. The frames have no top allowing the contents to be changed easily. The result is a successful balance between production time, material demand, profit and craftsmanship.
Follow on Instagram: @philipp.vonhase
Work is based on transparent processes, locality, sculpture and slow design.
Papirstein is a chair made of compressed spruce paper pulp and local rosehip ink from the woods surrounding Oslo. The object is made using a compression technique commonly employed for packaging purposes. Papirstein explores the idea of a circular approach to furniture production – the material is recyclable, degradable and renewable. The project is a collaboration with the 122-year-old paper mill Hellefoss Paper in Hokksund, Norway.
Follow on Instagram: @poppylawman
Oslo-based studio designing everyday objects, furniture and lighting, inspired by the diversity and contrasts of their different cultural backgrounds.
Hylla is a free-standing shelf module in recycled aluminium and ash. The design is rooted in Asian wood joints and simple Scandinavian aesthetics, and the furniture is mounted without the use of nails or screws. It can be expanded with different shelves, functions and colours to suit the various stages of the owner’s lifecycle. Leaf is a recycled aluminium lamp with LED lights, inspired by the shape of a single leaf. The lamp can be used as both a table lamp and a pendant, and casts a soft, atmospheric and indirect light. Each part of the lamp can easily be replaced, ensuring a long life. Leaf and Hylla are made in collaboration with Hydro and powder-coated by Jotun Powder Coatings.
Follow on Instagram: @sofie.tiange
Named one of the world’s most promising young design talents by Wallpaper*.
Kvitre is an armchair with a powder-coated steel frame and seating in various materials including leather and canvas. The chair’s name, meaning Chirp in Norwegian, is inspired by its thin, bird-like legs. The width and angle of the design are rooted in ergonomics and comfort, and the minimalist design is flexible – the seat can easily be repaired or replaced in response to wear, tear or simply the user’s changing style and taste. The chair is sturdy and can be used both indoors and outdoors.
Follow on Instagram: @tobiasberg.design
Named one of the world’s most promising young design talents by Wallpaper*.
The Remissus trays and Pedestal table, all in soap-washed birch, are the result of the project Objectum – a library of 60 objects in birch made over 60 days, with the aim of gaining a deeper knowledge of the material’s inherent properties. Remissus’ organic shape is carved from one piece of wood, inspired by the unpredictable contours of a drop of water. Pedestal is machine-made with hand-carved details, giving the furniture its distinct tactility. Both objects are based on craftsmanship and knowledge of materials as prerequisites for producing furniture with a long life.
Follow on Instagram: @vhagelund
Discover some of Norway’s leading manufacturers:
Nordic Comfort Products (NCP) delivers sustainable furniture from waste material in new and sustainable ways through innovation and design.
By recycling plastic from the fishing industry, NCP makes products like the classic S-1500 chair, originally designed by Bendt Winge in the late 1960s. In 2019, the chair was redesigned by Snøhetta in collaboration with NCP. S-1500 has already received great international attention. Its shell is made of 100% recycled plastic waste from fish farms on the Helgeland coast, and is now available in 8 different colours, whereas the frame comes in 7 different colour variants.
Follow on Instagram: @ncpfurniture
Norwegian quarrying company providing raw stone to global factories for worktops, tiles and cladding while also supporting and collaborating with designers and artists in order to discover and promote innovative applications for natural stone.
At Norwegian Presence, Lundhs presents its Lundhs Real Stone materials and objects from two limited edition design collections. Essence is a collection of interior accessories, designed by Thomas Jenkins and Sverre Uhnger. Epilogue is a collection of vases and boards, made of surplus material from stone production, made in collaboration with Norwegian design duo Vera & Kyte. Lundhs Real Stone worktops are also used on Hamran’s kitchen module, which is displayed in the exhibition.
Follow on Instagram: @lundhsrealstone
A small, family-orientated company, producing pillows and cushions with sustainable, high-quality wool.
Showing at Norwegian Presence, the brand’s first collection features decorative stripes and textures in pastel shades inspired by Norway’s late summer nights, beautiful sunsets and natural environment.
Follow on Instagram: @gudrundesign
Family business which designs and builds interior and kitchen solutions in close collaboration with small and large clients.
Hamran showcases a modular kitchen with stone worktop made from Lundhs Real Stone and the furniture series Undercrafted in oak designed by Hamran in collaboration with the architectural office Snøhetta.
Follow on Instagram: @hamransnekkerverksted
Rooted in the aesthetics of Scandinavian design history and driven to tackle the ethical and environmental challenges of the modern day, Fjordfiesta produces timeless furniture engineered to last for generations to come.
At Norwegian Presence, Fjordfiesta showcases the armchairs Scandia Senior Vipp and Scandia Nett designed by Hans Brattrud. They will also be exhibiting Tron Meyer’s Cyclop Stool – first presented at last year’s exhibition – and a prototype of a new armchair in the Rastad & Rellings Bambi family. The relaunch is a collaborative project with UTOPIA Retro Modern.
Follow on Instagram: @fjordfiestafurniture
A family-owned mill in Lillehammer specialising in the design and production of high-end wool-based upholstery fabrics while keeping its environmentally-friendly production process entirely in-house, from raw material to finished product.
In 2020, GU launches Redal, a new textile design featuring beautiful melange greys interwoven with a sophisticated three-colour twist. Also, they are re-launching of the two GU classics Herringdal and Morgedal in muted neutrals, and a new colourway in Koksdal, a versatile, sophisticated melange.
Follow on Instagram: @gudbrandsdalens_uldvarefabrik
Family-owned leading manufacturer of sustainable furniture for public spaces and urban environments.
Vestre shows the outdoor furniture Stones designed by Espen Voll, Tore Borgersen and Michael Olofsson, Folk benches from Front design, Code seating modules by Johan Verde and Hong Ngo Aandal, Cycle bike rack by Sanna Lindström and the Munch collection created by Andreas Engesvik and Jonas Ravlo Stokke for the new Munch Museum, which opens in the fall of 2020.
Follow on Instagram: @vestre_furniture
The official photoshoot took place in Edvard Munch’s studio at Ekely, a historic space drawing a firm link between Norwegian creativity from then and now. With its distinctive atmosphere, the paint stains on the floor of the studio are visible traces of Munch’s work and serve as a symbol of what Norwegian Presence is all about: opening up the process behind the creation of a product and the properties of the materials that comprise it.
^ Scala stepstool and Lulle daybed by Nils Stensrud, Korpus and Furublokk by Andreas Bergsaker. On the floor in front, Alumium & Stone by Ali Gallefoss. Raw stone from Lundhs Real Stone (top of column). Leaning against the wall, textile by Gudbrandsdalens Uldvarefabrik.
^ From left: Kvitre by Tobias Berg, pillow by Gudrun, Papirstein chair by Poppy Lawman, rolled up Aaltobelli table by Philipp von Hase (in the corner) and Pedestal by Vilde Hagelund.