Dog sledding. Hanging out at the Oslo Opera House. Eating, drinking and sharing stories around a giant fire in a teepee. For a group of izzy+ sales representatives, it’s just another day at the office.
izzy+, the people-centric Michigan furniture design group that lives by the ethos “Better Together,” formed an alliance with Norwegian company HAG back in 2004. Ever since, izzy+’s staff have been making regular trips across the pond to HAG’s HQ in Oslo and main plant in the village of Roros to learn about Scandinavian culture.
HAG’s design philosophy, which reflects some of the central principles of Norwegian life, is focused on the importance of balance, movement, and a deep respect for the environment. izzy+ employees say being able to visit their sister company at its headquarters provided a unique perspective on their design process. “At HAG they have a very holistic approach to everything—the environment, corporate responsibility, ergonomics, design—it’s all there in every chair,” says Laura Connell, whose based in the Chicago izzy+ showroom. “It was great to see it all in action, both in how they work and how they live.”
Rune Akselberg, Vice President of Sales and Market Development and a Norway native, says the juxtaposition of the working environment with the natural beauty of the Norwegian landscape makes a huge impact. “When you see the elk and the reindeer drinking from the stream right outside the HAG plant, you understand that everything is connected,” he said.
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