Opening doors for Norwegian design

Fram Oslo supports design in Norway, starting with Bunad Blankets designed by Andreas Engesvik

Photo courtesy of Andreas Engesvik, Oslo
These woven blankets are inspired by the motifs of bunads from five regions in Norway.

Rasmus Falck
Oslo, Norway

Fram Oslo is a newly founded company that aims to serve as the platform between young designers and Norwegian manufacturers, enabling them to sell their own brand internationally. Their first product is a series called Bunad Blankets. The plan this year is to launch new products within the collection. Next year they want to launch several interior products.

The founder of Fram Oslo, Annette Hoff, studied at the Copenhagen Business School. The Danes have an excellent reputation within design. Ever since, she has been wondering why there are so few strong international Norwegian brands within the furniture design industry. According to her, Norway has long traditions in the field. However, the focus has often been on products and production and many have not succeeded outside the country. Lately Norway’s designers have achieved enormous international attention, but they often work for international companies.

After many years of experience with building and furniture design in Norway, she established Fram Oslo together with her partner in Oslo, Christoffer Kverneland, and her sister in America. Sunniva Hoff went to the University of North Dakota, and her first job was at the Center for Innovation. Part of her work was to do market research for Norwegian companies that wanted to enter the U.S. market.

Fram Oslo then acquired the Bunad Blankets series designed by Andreas Engesvik and inspired by the textiles of Norwegian folk costumes. He worked with manufacturer Mandal Veveri to make the wool blankets. They are based on motifs from five different regions in Norway: Setesdal, Nordland, Fusa, Bringeklut, and Sunnmøre. Veveri worked with the complete patterns for all the types of bunads, which made it easy for them to be exact; all the colors are exactly the same as on the bunads.

The bunad is one of the most visible and known traditions in Norwegian cultural heritage; the garment is a significant cultural carrier and is central to the passing on of Norwegian handicraft traditions. It played a role in building national identity before and after 1905, when Norway became independent. There are about 400 bunads and folk costumes today, which are used at special occasions such as the 17th of May. Often they are seen at family gatherings such as weddings, baptisms, and funerals. They are also used for galas at the Royal Castle and events hosted by the Storting.

Inspired by tradition, Fram Oslo wants to develop new products that fit today’s needs. They seek to lead the way to markets but let the designers and producers do what they do best. They look forward to breaking barriers and opening doors for new Norwegian design.

Rasmus Falck is a strong innovation and entrepreneurship advocate. The author of “What do the best do better” and “The board of directors as a resource in SME,” he received his masters degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He currently lives in Oslo, Norway.

This article originally appeared in the May 5, 2017, issue of The Norwegian American. To subscribe, visit SUBSCRIBE or call us at (206) 784-4617.

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