100% Norwegian Icons

Norwegian designers make an impact in London with innovative furniture and other items

Lit glass pendants hang from the ceiling as part of Hadeland Glassverk’s Krystallkule lights, one of the Norwegian designers exhibited in the 100% Norway dent

Photo: Dan Weill / 100% Norway
A visitor admires Hadeland Glassverk’s Krystallkule lights, glass pendants available in four patterns, many colors, and three sizes. This was just one of many striking exhibits in 100% Norway’s tent.

Rasmus Falck
Oslo, Norway

What do you think is a typical example of Scandinavian design? Is it the ready-to-assemble furniture from the Swedish (now Dutch) IKEA? Is it the Finish Marimekko? Or the chair series from Danish architect Arne Jacobsen? One country is missing: Norway.

Thanks to collaboration between the Norwegian Center of Design and Architecture, the Royal Norwegian Embassy in London, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and Innovation Norway, in partnership with Norwegian Icons, 100% Norway is trying to do something about this by participating in the London Design Festival. The design exhibition has traditionally brought the very best of contemporary Norwegian furniture interior and product design to an audience of professionals, design connoisseurs, and the general public.

This year, the line-up was stronger than ever, with 33 of our most talented designers presenting their products and prototypes at the international design event at the Old Truman Brewery in East London. Every product exhibited this year was 100% Norwegian. This means both designed and manufactured within our borders.

Alongside prototypes from the selected designers you could also see classic and contemporary products from Norwegian interior and furniture products, as well as displays of material applications from Norwegian manufacturers. Examples for products to go on show included Ingrid Aspen’s Bottom Up glasses, which incorporate an upturned vessel into the stem that can be used for a nightcap when the wine is finished.

A collective of five young Norwegian designers was sharing a collection of home accessories made from brass and wood fiber panels impregnated with dye and bonded using resin, which are designed to retain their color regardless of chips and scratches. The Osloform range included the impeller set of coasters featuring a geometric brass laminate pattern inspired by the shape of Norwegian hydropower stations, the Sweep wall or table clock that references classic Bauhaus wristwatches, and the Serpentine minimal stereo system. The popsicle-stick-inspired stackable stool or side table by Gridy uses craft and joining techniques.

In another section five manufacturers shared prototypes and processes that highlight Norway’s capabilities in each of five special materials like wood, woolen products and processes, glass, stone, and straw.

Norwegian design is sometimes overshadowed by our neighbor countries. However it gained new attention last year when our new banknote with graphics by Snøhetta was nominated for a 2015 Design of the Year award. The architects located in New York and Oslo are famous for the Opera in Oslo and September 11 Memorial Pavilion in New York.

This article originally appeared in the Oct. 23, 2015, issue of the Norwegian American Weekly.

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Rasmus Falck

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.