A new generation of Norwegian design is emerging, the traditional meeting trendy, combining youthful cultural vitality with the classic traditions of a country that lives in unison – and draws much of its creativity – from nature.
Norwegian Design is attracting attention like never before. Henrietta Thompson, curator of the 100% Norway Exhibition in London, says, “Norway, without a doubt, is one of the most interesting places to watch for fresh design talent and trends. And while the same could be said of many places at the moment – Israel, Canada, Belgium and Turkey are all tipped as new designer countries to watch – Norway has something that makes it stand out.”
Norwegian Furniture Meets Berlin
The one-month exhibition, “Norway Now! Furniture and Lamps”, was staged in autumn 2007 in the pan-Nordic house of the Nordic Embassies in Berlin. This event provided the opportunity for central Europe to get a better look at Norwegian furniture and lamp design, ranging from classic designs to the most modern and funky creations on the market. One of the popular (6 million sold!) classics on display was the 1972 Stokke Tripp-Trapp child’s chair, designed by Peter Opsvik because he could not find a practical chair that would adjust to his son’s growth. Other established furniture producers such as Håg, Variér, L.K.Hjelle and others were on hand, as well as emerging designers Svein Petter Knudsen, Vidar Laksfors and Atle Tveit.
Upcoming lamp designers such as Peter Natedal and Thomas Egset and the creative lamp manufacturer Northern Lighting also helped to shine brilliant light on the surroundings. Future events of this type will be held to continue to spread the good word about Norwegian design, also aimed at nurturing the fresh design environment in Norway. Curator David Vikøren explained, “…young, skilled designers emerge every year, equipped with knowledge, new sets of thinking, and new ideas that both industry and society are in need of.”
100% Norway, again!
The annual 100% Norway exhibition is organized by the Norwegian Embassy in London with support from Innovation Norway and the Norwegian Design Council. This year, British design journalist and author Henrietta Thompson was curator, and twenty Norwegian designers were invited to take part after a rigorous selection process. The latest creations within glass, porcelain and textile design were then exhibited at 100% Design, the UK’s largest design fair.
The 2007 exhibition focused purely on textiles, glass and porcelain, following on the heels of the mega-exhibition in 2006 showcasing the best of Norwegian furniture, fashion, home accessories, lighting, kitchenware, textiles…even a house! As with the 2006 exhibition, this year’s event enjoyed great success, with thousands visiting the Norwegian stand, important in the process of the international branding of Norwegian design.
A View to the Future
For more than a thousand years, Norwegians have explored the world. Now, the Norwegian designers know that it is up to them to do the same as the world begins to stand up, notice and appreciate the talent and creativity from the north. Look to Norway, look to Norwegian design!
The “Norway Now! Furniture and Lamps” exhibition in Berlin put Norwegian
furniture and lamp design in the spotlight
© Thord Veseth Foss