Hot stuff: Norwegian design in the UK

Some of the UK’s premier design magazines are giving increasingly more column space to Norwegian designers.

The Swedes have done it with IKEA, the Danes with Bang Olufsen, and now Norway is vowing the Brits with its up and coming design talents. So much, in fact, that the October issues of both Wallpaper and Elle Deco have dedicated several pages to Norwegian designers and artists.

One of these is Norway Says, a design  partnership run by Torbjørn Anderssen, Andreas Engesvik and Espen Voll. Over the past three years these three designers have worked with various national and international clients and say that this has developed their skills in product, furniture, installation and interior design. They proclaim that the company is based on strong ideas, long-term friendship and knowledge. “With our compact company structure, we offer a personal service to every client. The wide range of activity makes it possible to approach several types of commissions with fresh minds; every situation calls for unique solutions. In close collaborations with designers representing other areas of expertise we provide solutions that comprise graphic design, corporate identities and branding, package design and strategic advertising.”  Norway Says, originally an exhibition project from 2000, set up its office showroom on the east-side of Oslo in 2002 and has since enjoyed international acclaim

Cathrine Maske, an award-winning glass artist, was highlighted in October’s Elle Deco for her outstanding work. Maske, who has just launched a new set of wine glasses named Cilia, believes Norwegian design is on a roll all across Europe. “It has reestablished itself after the golden period of Scandinavian Design back in the 1950s and 1960s,” she explains. “Young Norwegian designers have become more outward looking and have got themselves noticed at design fairs in Stockholm, London and Milan. It has been an increasing focus on design in Norway the last years. Many designers receive funding from the Norwegian Design Council and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to promote their work abroad. In Norway, 2005 is the Year of Design - and this has led to increased media interest in Norwegian design in and outside Norway.”

Simultaneously, the October issue of Wallpaper looks at how a Norwegian urban development has been archived at an affordable price without compromising on architectual  beauty. The Sandveien 37 project in a run-down part Norway’s third city Trondheim, was designed by architects Bredeland & Kristoffersen. It is a beautiful and modern wooden structure, the magazine states, with large communal areas and housing space for tenants in 22 bedrooms. “We wanted to create a scheme that dealt with the issue of sustainable architecture, but didn’t look like something made by hobbits,” the architects tell Wallpaper. They are now working on more projects to redevelop other parts of the area.

Along with their Nordic peers, Norwegian designers and artists are destined to continue setting a mark on the design world in the coming years. Elle Deco concludes; “Whether they’re creating designs so spare that they take minimalism to a higher level, or working in a kaleidoscope of hues and plethora of witty forms, the new generation of Nordic designers are transforming everyday functional objects into beautiful tools for contemporary life – and that’s design at its best.

The October issues of Elle Deco and Wallpaper are available at leading news agents.

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'Break' bench for waiting rooms. Designed by Norway SaysPhoto: Hugo+Åshild

'JUNO' sofa for Classicon. Designed by Norway SaysPhoto: Classicon

'CILIA' wine glasses produced by Magnor. Designed by Cathrine MaskePhoto: Magnor