Norwegian design - abundant & individual

As a design writer and curator for the best part of the last decade, one of the most enjoyable and inspiring roles I have had the pleasure of being employed in is that of curator for 100% Norway – which I’ve been doing for the last five years. 100% Norway is an exhibition established to showcase and promote Norwegian design to an international audience. It is organized by the Norwegian Embassy in London, The Norwegian Design Council in Oslo, and Innovation Norway, and it has taken place annually since 2003 during the London Design Festival every September. The idea is to improve trade links, swap best practice, generate new business and a warm fuzzy glow of pride among the Norwegian creative industries – all good economy boosting stuff.

My job, primarily, is to pick the best pieces to show. It involves travelling the length and breadth of one of the most beautiful countries in the world with my co-curator Benedicte Sunde, meeting Norwegian designers and manufacturers, seeing their studios, facilities and assessing their newest and up coming projects.

I am not Norwegian – I pretend to be sometimes, but I am, according to my mother at any rate, pretty much decidedly English. Because of this I have an independent view and, crucially, knowledge of what works in the UK market – what the international design media wants to see, and by extension what non-Norwegian consumers and retailers, are likely to like.

Over the years the exhibition has attracted a fair bit of attention, which is nice, and we now are lucky enough to receive high quality applications and submissions for entry where in the early days it was a question of going out and finding the work ourselves. There’s always been a certain amount of politics involved in the selection process, and I’m generally well shielded from any pressure from the various interested parties to include things, but it has still been beneficial to refine the process to keep things as fair as possible, and to make sure we are fulfilling the original goals of the exhibition at the same time.

What I’ve noticed in the last five years is that it is getting considerably easier to put on a good show. This fact is simply because compared to five years ago there is a huge amount more to choose from – the state of Norwegian design is very markedly different. We’re at a stage this year where we have to reject a huge amount of great stuff simply because even with a vast space there is not room for all of it.

That’s a very good position to be in. And really, this year is the first time that’s happened. So what’s going on?

Henrietta Thompson
Curator 100% Norway

Fotokredit
© Charlotte Wiig

Related articles

Latest articles

Ship Energy Efficiency: The Fourth Wave

Shipping has seen three waves of energy efficiency trends since 2007. The latest buzz is the Big Data revolution.

Sustainable Fish Farming Solutions: From Feed to Egg

The challenge of rising fish feed and sea lice costs is stimulating new sustainable technology solutions in Norwegian aquaculture. In the future, producers might raise salmon in egg-shaped offshore farms.

Standardization Key During Low Oil Price

The Norwegian petroleum industry is focusing on standardized solutions, inspired by Formula One and Lego, to help tackle rising field development costs.

Blue Growth for a Green Future

The Norwegian government recently launched its new maritime strategy “Blue Growth for a Green Future” aimed at keeping the country’s second largest export industry competitive and sustainable.

New Development Licenses Spur Ocean Farming

Norway has initiated free development licenses to spur new technology concepts to tackle the aquaculture industry’s acreage and environmental challenges. Many of the applicants are innovative ocean farms.

Bucking the trend: Norwegian Shelf Still Attractive

The Norwegian Continental Shelf continues to be attractive even amidst the low oil price environment. Statoil’s giant Johan Sverdrup oil field development is just the latest example.

British Showing Great Interest in “Frozen at sea”

The British are the world’s largest consumers of cod. 70 percent is used in the “fish and chips” market. Lately several Norwegian owners of trawlers have discovered the British market for the “frozen at sea” concept.

The many reasons to choose Norwegian seafood

There is an ongoing debate regarding the pros and cons of eating wild or farmed fish, or, in fact, eating seafood at all. In this article we look at the arguments for and against wild and farmed fish. Seafood is not just a...

New Ways to Enhance Oil Recovery

Norwegian companies are testing more advanced ways to enhance oil recovery, everything from converting shuttle tankers to stimulate wells and springing titanium needs inside liner holes to open up tight formations.