This week I went to Norwegian Presence, a new exhibition concept presenting a mix of work by Norwegian designers, crafts artists and producers. It was a part of the Milan Design Week, and one of the exhibitions I was most excited to see hence being Norwegian. The exhibition was held in an industrial factory space in Ventura Lambrate, the perfect setting to showcase the beautiful design pieces, and featured 51 different products from 46 designers.
To help visitors navigate through the exhibition space, the area was divided into four colour-coded backgrounds chosen by Jotun. Each colour represented one of the three groups of collaboration partners; Klubben, Norwegian Crafts & Norwegian Icons. The colour palette was chosen for their resemblance to the Norwegian mountains, woods and sea. It set the tone nicely, and complimented the design well.
“Walls, like the mountains and valleys that separate the country’s population, divide the space yet invite visitors to take a tour of the land.” – Norwegian Presence
The Jotun colour palette; 1930 Lounge // 4212 Norwegian Presence // 6325 Balance // 7163 Minty Breeze
At the entrance the Oslo & Tokyo based Fuglen Bar had set up a pop-up bar where they were serving drinks. I tried this one with akvavit in, which is a flavoured spirit commonly produced in Scandinavia. I am not a big fan of akvavit as it is a bit too strong to my liking, but in this cocktail it was delicious!
When walking through the exhibition there where information cards hanging nicely next to each of the design, so that you could pick the ones you like. Simple and effective idea, which makes it a bit more interesting for the visitor than just a normal catalogue.
Here are some of the designs I spotted at the exhibition with links to each of the designer’s websites if you want to see more;
TUTHANKA by MARGIT SELAND
“The series Tuthanka is made of white and coloured porcelain. The products have a sanded matt exterior and a transparent glazed inside. Some of the cups also have a partially glazed outer surface. The lids of the pots are preliminary sketchings, represented by some rubber corks, spools from the hardware store (yellow) and a finding from the street (the brown).”
MULTI MEANDER I – IV by EDITH LUNDEBREKKE
“The works in this exhibition consists of a series of reliefs of coloured panels. The colours on the panels and the background colours interact through reflection and optical mixing. The same structure makes up the foundation for all four reliefs. The colours on the panels are all the same, and the background colours in each relief are complementary colours. Colours are a key element in the works, creating changing experiences in interaction with the environment and the spectator. The perception of the work changes through the spectator’s movement, and the reliefs can be assembled in many different ways. The reliefs are unique works.”
TREET by MORTEN & JONAS
“Treet is a small lounge table with a playful table top that consist of three trays made out of solid oak that have been either colour stained or smoked. The trays are held in place by a coated metal frame. The three different squares, together with a mix of colours and surfaces, create a fragmented and interesting table top.”
BUNAD BLANKET by ANDREAS ENGESVIK for MANDAL VEVERI
“National Romanticism still has a strong position in Norway, and the bunad is one of its most visible and well-known expressions. The Bunad Blankets (Bunadspledd), a series of blankets launched during the London Design Festival in September 2012, represent a simplification and translation of ideas derived from Norwegian folk costumes. The blankets introduce this rich tradition into our everyday interior environment. Based on bunad motifs from five regions in Norway, they are woven from pure wool at Mandal Veveri.”
FELIX & VEI by SARA SKOTTE
“Flex: This is a range of vases that with its beautiful forms captures the essence of a flower. Vei: The culture of food and how we serve it have all become a big part of our experience of a meal. Food is sensual, hence how it is served and on what should appeal just as much to our senses. What Sara wants to achieve with this range of tableware called Vei, the Norwegian word for road, is to design products one immediately wants to touch, that are inspiring and that touches the user.”
KROBO by TORBJØRN AFDAL for FJORDFIESTA
“In 1960 Torbjørn Afdal designed the multi-purpose bench Krobo. It became an instant classic in Norway because of its unique flexibility and many uses. The bench was re-launched by Fjordfiesta in cooperation with Utopia Retro Modern in 2014. The design studio Anderssen & Voll drew a new range of accessories for the bench as well. Torbjørn Afdal, who started working as a designer at Bruksbo Tegnekontor in 1946, was one of the most prolific post-war Norwegian designers.”
DOKKA by NORTHERN LIGHTING
“In 1954, Dokka was the first Norwegian lamp ever to be awarded the highly regarded Golden Medal at the Milan Triennale. Designed by Birger Dahl, this functional light icon, also known as Pendel s/10053, was produced and sold by the Norwegian electricity company Sønnico (Oslo) for many years. Dokka became one of the best-selling Norwegian pendant lamps ever produced, until the day Sønnico ended its lighting production and lamp sales came to an abrupt end. In 2007 Northern Lighting re-launched this design classic, taking care to preserve the main shape and features that originally made it such a popular lamp.”
If you want to see all the designs exhibited at the Norwegian Presence, then click here. The exhibition definitely testify that the Norwegian design community is growing, and is a great way to show off some of the talented designers from our country to the rest of the world!
In the Milan area? Make sure you visit!