Thousands visit 100% Norway

The British design press had raved about 100% Norway in their previews of the London Design Festival, so thousands of visitors flocked to the Norwegian stand at the important 100% Design fair to see the latest glassware, porcelain and textile designs coming out of this country.

2007 marked the fourth realisation of 100% Norway and featured new works in production from both Norway’s more established talents alongside new names who had never before shown outside Scandinavia. The exhibition’s focus this year was specifically on glass, porcelain and textiles, and was curated for a second year in a row by Henrietta Thompson. “In recent years, Norwegian design has moved away from the prescript of ‘Scandinavian’ design and is beginning to achieve international recognition for its own style,” she said prior to the event. “Often determined by values long held in Norway – prioritising nature and the environment, the home and hearth, comfort and longevity, and marrying cutting edge technology with traditional craftsmanship – this style is increasingly finding popularity across the globe.”

Sustainability was a key issue in design this year and was represented throughout the show with for instance the entire stand surface covered with recyclable cardboard. Many of the designers had also taken the theme and interpreted it in a new way. One example was Cathrine Maske’s Blue Wing Butterfly vase which had been designed to draw attention to a national species that is close to extinction – now immortalised within multiple layers of glass.

Just one of the country’s leading glassware designers, Maske was joined by names such as Tanja Sæter, Anne Haavind, Kathinka Dysthe and Lena Hansson – all of whom presented new work at 100% Norway this year. The exhibition also introduced new talents in the field, including Kari Håkonsen, Lars Kværne and Vidar Koksvik. Norway Says, meanwhile, displayed newly produced tableware for Porsgrund, and Wik&Walsøe, a young outfit producing their own range of porcelainware, showed in the UK for the first time. New wall-covering designs from Scandinavian Surface were also on display, as well as a new textiles range from Sari Syväluoma and newcomer Johan Rye-Holmboe, whose knitted cushions were a huge hit.

The Norwegian exhibition, which was organised by the Royal Norwegian Embassy, Innovation Norway, the Norwegian Design Council and the Norwegian Association of Arts & Crafts, attracted scores of British and international journalists. It had also been raved about in the British design press’ previews of the London Design Festival. Elle Decoration ranked 100% Norway in its Top 3 of the 200 exhibitions at 100% Design saying the Norwegian stand was “Strong on beautifully crafted glassware and textiles, including Permafrost’s ‘Silence’ rug with tiny footprints embedded in its snow-like surface.”

Design and architecture magazine Wallpaper* was just as excited by the Norwegian exhibition in their preview: “There's something inexplicably pure and comforting about Norwegian design- a little softer than Scandinavian functionalism yet every bit as beautiful in its organic simplicity. Last year’s 100% Norway stand was a surprise hit and bowled us over with its comprehensive and fascinating showcase of lifestyle and design. This time round the focus is a little tighter, promising an insight into the historical legacy of Norway’s glass, porcelain and textile heritages.”

Curator Henrietta Thompson was not surprised by the positive feedback; “Despite that the contemporary design industry in Norway is only just emerging internally, so strong is the national identity that comes through, the feeling is that it has been there all along, and we – in the rest of the world – were just very slow in discovering it. The task in hand now is developing the confidence to start investing in it,” she concluded.

Sustainability was a key issue in design this year and was represented throughout the show with for instance the entire stand surface was covered with recyclable cardboard. Photos: Thomas Aastad / Royal Norwegian Embassy

This year's exhibition featured both new and more established glassware designers. Photo: Thomas Aastad / Royal Norwegian Embassy

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100% Norway's focus this year was specifically on glass, porcelain and textilesPhoto: Thomas Aastad / Royal Norwegian Embassy

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