After a week of inspiration, fun and lots of walking I am back on the blog to bring you the latest from Milan Design Week 2019! And what better way to start than to show you some of my favourite finds from JOIN by Norwegian Presence? As a Norwegian living in Milan this exhibition is a highlight every year, and I am always so happy to discover it on the top of the exhibitions to see lists in many other people’s books too.
JOIN by Norwegian Presence was curated by the acclaimed creative studio Kråkvik&D’Orazio. It displayed carefully selected furniture and objects from 21 designers and artists which formed a collective exploration of community and sustainability to find the solutions that our increasingly resource-scarce world requires.
“We have to acknowledge the apparent contradiction that being a part of Milan Design Week entails – after all, the act of participation in itself contributes to increased production. However, we believe the power of this platform to build awareness and influence the industry is unrivalled on the global stage, and that there is nowhere better in the world to make our case.
This year, we asked Norwegian designers and artists to address the issue of sustainability from a wider perspective. As well as climate considerations and our use of resources, sustainability entails economic and social aspects, a commitment to democratic and inclusive processes, and a consideration of the needs of future generations.” – JOIN
In addition, this year Norwegian Presence chose seven Norwegian furniture manufacturers, all with environmental impact and sustainability high on their agenda. The products on display was selected in collaboration with designers Kristine Bjaadal and Hallgeir Homstvedt, who were also responsible for the overall exhibition design. The exhibition itself was built with environmentally friendly materials, using modules that will be disassembled and reused after which is great.
So, if you didn’t have the chance to attend this years fair, join me (I had to do it..) here to discover some of Norway’s leading designers, artists and manufacturers:
First up I have to talk about Krafted; a new Norwegian design studio launched at the Milan Design Week, rooted in Nordic design. The name indicates a focus on traditional craftsmanship, and the company has a passion for natural materials and how these are applied – from the qualities they represent to how they feel, smell and appear in our surroundings.
I fell in love with their beautiful Modi lounge chair & sofa from the Bridge collection of furniture and accessories. This chair is crafted from solid oak and can be upholstered in both leather and textiles. It has a modular system that builds a bridge between rectangular and curved forms and is inspired by both Nordic and Asian traditions. What do you think?
Next up I wanted to share the furniture series Cyclop by Tron Meyer manufactured by Fjordfiesta furniture. It consists of a table in anodised aluminium and a chair in anodised aluminium, larvikite and Norwegian pine. The legs’ rectangular surfaces have circular holes, mirroring the shape of the chair’s seat and the table’s surface. A simple locking mechanism is thus created, the weight is reduced and the object acquires a distinct aesthetic – the circular ‘eye’ shape that gives it its name. Simple and beautiful.
Another item I was drawn to was the Spenn table lamp by design studio Noidoi. Made from form-pressed oak veneer and brass, with a focused, downward-facing light, the lamp marks its designers’ attempt to capture a moment of tension between two points, and the object’s sculptural expression resembles a tensed arc. The look of the lamp is clean and minimalistic, with the wood as a soft and tactile counterweight. The use of natural materials gives Spenn durability, and the design itself reduces the amount of surplus material as most of the wood is used in the pressing.
Let’s talk about Varier – a furniture brand inspired by movement. Known for superior quality and effortless design, its products embody activity and innovation. Since the 1970s, Varier has created extraordinary pieces that challenge perceptions of sitting. Exhibiting their Balans chair as well as their iconic Ekstrem chair. The latter, a true throwback to the eccentric 80s, the unexpected geometrics allow you to sit forward with feet on the ground, sideways with legs calmly placed on the armrests, or completely backwards with the front of the torso against the chair’s back. An ideal piece to spice up any interior.
The Volume Vases is a series of three blown-glass vessels of different size, colour and proportion by Erik Wester. The vases are functional objects, each consisting of two open integrated cylinders. Independent of each other, the outer and inner cylindrical volumes allow for a combination of live and dried plants or flowers, with or without liquid. Decorative in itself, the outer and inner glass forms overlap to create a deeper hue, resulting in a vibrant and colourful expression.
I mentioned Fjordfiesta before, a company rooted in the aesthetics of Scandinavian design history, and with a concern for modern-day ethical and environmental challenges. They produce timeless furniture engineered to last for generations to come. Inspired by the beauty of Norway’s natural landscape, the company aims to represent, promote and push Norwegian design culture. The stunning Scandia Senior lounge chair is simple yet with an ionterestsing shape.
And last but not least I wanted to mention Elementa which amongst many other things have the Klorofyll planter system which you can see dotted around in several images. It features terracotta and concrete pots in coaction with robust metal framework. Designed by Anderssen & Voll, the system is made to explore interior landscaping – and to bring awareness about the primacy of soil for life, indoors and outdoors. I especially adored the Klorofyll low base with espalier seen above!
The exhibition was a collaboration between Design and Architecture Norway (DOGA), Klubben and Norwegian Crafts. The project was supported by The Royal Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Hydro, Lundhs, Innovation Norway, The Federation of Norwegian Industries, Oslo Design Fair and Visit Norway.
// Photo credit: Inger Marie Grini, Trine Hisdal & Ingrid Opstad.