Ahh Norway, the beautiful blustery land of delicious fish and exceptional gene pools. As London Design Festival takes it’s hold on the UK’s capital, some of Norway’s most talented designers are arriving to exhibit their work to the members of the public at the Old Truman Brewery. Excitingly, this is the tenth year that Norway have exhibited at LDF and subsequently they have put together an absolute corker of a show with the help of talented curators Henrietta Thompson and Benedicte Sunde.
I was lucky enough to be flown out to blustery Oslo last week to meet some of the artists and designers involved in 100% Norway. From collectives travelling miles to meet estranged craftsmen, to students working in what I can honestly say is the most impressive art school I have ever stepped into, each creative had such a story to tell, and every piece of work was crafted with the utmost care. Here’s some of the highlights…
Victoria Günzler is in her final year of her MA at the Kunsthøgskolen and is responsible for the candles you see above. After a last-minute switch to ceramics, for which the University has outstanding facilities for (one of the courses you can do there is called Mega-sculpture) Victoria now works with porcelain, marble and wax to create objects of beauty. The holder-less candles are a designers dream: simple, colourful and solving a problem you didn’t know you had.
Norway’s all about collaboration it seems. All the creatives are part of a tight-knit network that allows them to support each other and work together as and when they like. In this collaborative case, designers Caroline Olsson and Ida Noemi put their heads together to solve yet another design conundrum which stemmed from the trouble they had finding simple, well-designed photo frames. Like any good designers, they decided to solve this problem themselves, and as you can see they have absolutely smashed it. A beautiful wood frame with epaulette-esque hooks surrounding it. Beautiful and not distracting from the subject of the photo. Perfect.
Anyone who didn’t catch Lisa Pacini’s post on the site the other day can catch it here. With friend and fellow artist Christine Istad, they drove an enormous LED sun around some of the darkest parts of the world. The sun in question has now arrived in Brick Lane where it hangs in pride of place above the entrance to the 100& Norway show.
Strek Collective is a collective of four young men who have only just graduated from University in Norway. They’ve been collaborating on projects together all through uni, and have now moved into a little studio together in the east side of Oslo. Their work is all about a passion for materials, and they make some of the most beautiful and refined objects you’ll see. In this year’s exhibition they will be revealing Bow, a stool created by a carpenter living and working in deepest darkest Norwegian country. The boys drove for six hours to meet their chosen carpenter who, it turns out, is particularly good at the art of designing chairs that stack. In a bid to support Norwegian craftsmen the boys commissioned him to make Bow, their rather beautiful new stackable stool. I cannot wait to see what these enthusiastic and talented boys do next.
Another wood-themed project is this range of children’s toys by Oslo design studio Permafrost. This range of exquisitely crafted children’s toys are a response to the recent Norwegian oil-related stories in the news. These toys allow children to learn about this important factor in Norway’s modern history, as well as being beautiful enough for the adults to place carefully on a shelf for their viewing pleasure afterwards.
100% Norway is on show at London’s Dray Walk Gallery from the 19 September – 22 September