above> styles by kråkvik & d’orazio / photo by siren lauvdal
‘Norwegian Presence in Milan’ was one of the highlights of Ventura Lambrate this year – and not only because it was good place to shelter from the unexpected rain! A collaboration between Klubben (The Norwegian Designers’ Union), Norwegian Crafts and Norwegian Icons, the exhibition showed the best of Norwegian craft and design in a suitably Scandi space color-coded with paint from Jotun, a company established in Sandefjord, Norway in 1926.
above> Dual by Oslo National Academy of the Arts graduate Runa Klock caught my eye because of its bold color and slender lines. The stool features a footrest at different heights on either side so both tall and short people will feel comfortable sitting on it. The optional cushion is upholstered in Kvadrat’s new two-colored wool textile Rime.
above> Bjørn van den Berg’s angular Platter Tray Series is reminiscent of folded paper. It was in fact inspired by overlapping plates at a dinner party served on a tiny table. Bjørn felt this “landscape of trays” in the center of the table created intimacy and a nice atmosphere, so he wanted to replicate it in this collection. The trays’ differing heights ensure they overlap one another comfortably.
above> Bergan-based design studio Morten & Jonas presented Treet, a small lounge table with a playful tabletop comprising three solid oak trays in different colors and proportions, supported by a coated metal frame.
above> Textile and ceramics designer Margit Seland’s Tuthanka collection combines white and colored porcelain – sanded on the outside and glazed inside – with a yellow spool from a hardware stool as a lid. Margrit studied textile and ceramics in Norway and the Netherlands and is now based in Amsterdam.
above> Kristine Five Melvær’s Mikkel blankets are currently prototypes made by Norwegian manufacturer Røros Tweed. They combine Kristine’s industrial design training with her graphic design background, and inspirations from the Bauhaus movement with the Norwegian wool tradition. The blankets come in four colorways and seemed particularly appealing as the temperature in Milan started to drop!
above> Lolly, by Oslo-based design duo Gridy, is a solid oak stackable stool with legs inspired by wooden popsicle sticks. Its flat seat means it doubles up as a side table. Girdy aims for “simple and honest products that are user-friendly and have a Nordic feel,” and judging by this product, they’re doing pretty well.
above> Bottoms Up by Ingrid Aspen is a playful and colorful collection of multifunctional drinking glasses inspired by the Italian lifestyle, but executed with typical Scandinavian simplicity. By eliminating the stem of a traditional wine glass, Ingrid has been able to incorporate another ‘upside down’ glass for a nightcap after the wine is finished.
above> Kristine Bjaadal’s Hegne is a hand-turned wooden vessel with a ceramic lid. Kirstine wants her to work to make people notice the hidden beauty in the everyday – to turn daily routines into rituals to appreciate. Hegne can be used to contain something functional, a personal memento or be purely decorative. “A container can be empty, but still contain the idea of keeping something, preserving something, taking care of something,” she says.
above> I loved Flip it! by Furniture, product and spacial designer Marte Frøystad – a little cluster of mix and match circular, semi-circular and semi-oval tables on slender metal legs with reversible tabletops – each side is covered with a different colored linoleum. “The classic round table is cut, separated and stretched in varying levels – creating a set of sharp tables in various heights, serving different needs, paired or intersected,” said the designer.
above> The trend for warm metallic finishes was still very much in evidence at this year’s fair, and Siv Lier’s Spring – a wooden and brass tray for storing keys, coin and mail in the hallway, or pens, paper and desktop accessories in the office, was the perfect example. “The wood gives a down-to-earth feeling, and is spiced up with fresh colors,” said Siv. “The brass makes a shiny contrast, adding a bit of glamour into your life.”
Scandinavian design might be having its moment in the sun, but the Norwegians have sometimes struggled to find their own identity – this show certainly put them on the map, and in the most happening quarter of Milan, the design capital of the world.