SIX NORWEGIAN DESIGNERS CHALLENGING THE NORM
Photo by Einar Aslaksens
Interior designer and stylist Kirsten Visdal founded Håndverk + about six years ago, a platform where the Norwegian craft and design communities can meet and learn from each other. Her aim is to lift traditional craftsmanship into the future and help to push collaborations between the different fields. It's a collaborative project that has led to exhibitions, debates and workshops, as well as an annual magazine. ”Craftsmen and designers are interdependent, and when they work closely together the very best works are created,” Visdal explains.
She sees a new generation of Norwegian designers challenging traditional norms. ”They have a more transparent approach and don't let the market dictate their expressions. They also move fluently between art, design and craft,” says Visdal and points to the importance of new platforms such as Sorgenfri and Galleri Pytonare exhibiting and selling experimental design and craft in Olso. We asked her to pick six Norwegian designers pushing the norms.
Poppy Lawman was inspired by the hand washing routines in the pandemic and developed the series REN which was launched during Handicraft + at DogA in Oslo last autumn. The collection consists of brushes made of shoui sugi ban oak and horsehair. REN also describes the importance of self-care, calm routines and a slow lifestyle. Poppy goes into processes and spends time trying out materials, techniques and local productions. She wants to create sustainable products that last.
Poppy Lawman's brush Bue
"The design of the future must appeal as much to the heart as to the brain.” Anna Maria Øfstedal Eng has already established herself in the field by winning this year's handicrafts in the Bo Bedre prize, and Ferm Living has put her stool Rotben in producton. The objects she creates give associations to the mystique of nature. For Håndverk + in 2020, she developed the book support Morf, which is a reuse of products in tin, and the stools Templates in pine. Anna works at the crossroads of design and handicrafts and practices excellent craftsmanship herself.
”I started designing because the things in the interior design shops in Norway didn’t appeal to me. They are a bit like grocery stores, offering little diversity,” says Ali Gallefoss.
Gallefoss is a young Norwegian creative moving freely between art and design, challenging the established norm. He has assignments for established names such as Holzweiler and Snøhetta and works with products in various categories. Aiming to contribute to a greater diversity in the design industry, he will probably work in larger formats and of an international nature fairly quickly.
Ali Gallefoss won the Bo Bedre Design Prize as newcomer of they year in 2020.
Studio Sløyd consists of Tim Knutsen, Herman Ødegaard and Mikkel Jøraandstad, interested in challenging the notion of pine wood, which most Scandinavians has a love / hate relationship to, going back to the seventies. The pine products from Studio Sløyd have received a lot of attention, and two pieces have already been put into production. The design trio is inspired by the Scandinavian design heritage, but interprets it with a more playful and unpredictable approach.
"I want to help expand the field and challenge the role of the designer,” says Nebil Zeman. He started his education as a carpenter and ended up with a bachelor's degree at the Oslo Academy of the Arts. As a designer he wants to challenge the established field and works in the virtual world where he interprets physical things that we surround ourselves with into free imagination. Zeman works from a well-known grid system, which gives his objects a strong character. He has had several objects exhibited at the alternative arenas Sorgenfri and Galleri Pyton.
Sisse Lee is a newly graduated craftsman with an impressive CV when it comes to exhibitions and projects in which she has participated. She has exhibited in renowned galleries with her series BIGWARE in clay, stoneware and porcelain. She works thematically and critically and her products are characterized by archetypes. The containers bear the mark of processes and craftsmanship, but are at the same time defined and homogeneous in expression. Sisse is hardworking and will go a long way an artist.