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The Norwegian Designers Shaping the Industry

29th Apr 2020

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 In a world of diminishing resources, Norwegian Presence and their designers are disrupting traditional manufacturing methods with new and sustainable materials, production and design. The design exhibition run by Design & Architecture Norway (DOGA) is renowned for showcasing the most visionary and innovative designers Norway has to offer and this year is no exception. A firm highlight of Milan Design Week for the past six years, this year the theme focuses on sustainability and takes a strong stance against the culture of consumption and disposability.

Curators of Norwegian Presence, Benedicte Sunde, DOGA and Marit Justine Haugen, Haugen / Zohar Architects have selected 11 exciting designers on the pulse of Norwegian design that champion transformative-thinking and pioneer sustainable design methods. Sunde divulged that this year’s Norwegian Presence is ‘a reaction against the glamour that has dominated the design field. We are becoming more conscious.’. As a leading nation in sustainability, Norway’s design aesthetic accordingly favours authentic, organic and unadulterated materiality over perfect and uniform design. ‘We are a nation of raw materials. We find things in nature and make something from them.’ Sunde explains.

Sadly like many design and art events, Milan Design Week has been cancelled this year following the Covid-19 pandemic, leading Norwegian Presence to adopt a digital format. Aptly named ‘Innovation in Progress’, it is a curation of truly ground-breaking design with a poignant message. Highlights from the exhibition include: Oslo-based British designer, Poppy Lawman’s Papirstein, a renewable, recyclable and degradable chair made from paper pulp; Håvard Dybwad and Øyvind Wylle’s Stick which acquires a patina over time, adding character and personality to the coffee table; and DOGA Newcomer 2020 winner Vilde Hagelund’s experimentation with birch wood in Objectum, in which she created 60 different objects over 60 days.

‘The party is over! We have enough things and more things will not make us happier. The task is to create something meaningful with less’. The powerful message from co-curator Marit Justine Haugen echoed throughout the showcase, where we see Scandinavian design meet environmental concern. The exhibition showcases the commercial viability of sustainable and circular business practice and the need to shift towards greener, low-carbon, zero-waste innovation. Norwegian Presence has set an admirable message and agenda for the design industry that every brand and studio should strive for.