One of my highlights from last week's London Design Festival was being shown around 100% Norway by one of the show's Curators, Henrietta Thompson. Although simple in form, many of the pieces on show were both bold and imaginative at the same time. Having the opportunity to speak with a mix of experienced and up and coming designers was a real treat. Here's my top five favourites designs and what I learned about each from their respective designers:
1. Hallgeir Homstvedt's Tangent vases explores the theme of how a flower pot compliments a tray; there are magnets in the base of each vase, which allows people to experiment with different compositions and combinations, and even visual illusion as the vases appear to be fixed to the tray until moved.
2. The Ola Windsor chairs were designed by Alf Sture to help create an environment of security and warmth, which is why the chair 'wraps' around the body when sat in, and the reasoning behind colourful nature. I love how they paired the vibrant Ola Windsor chairs with the elegant simplicity of their Vang dining table.
3. Despite being displayed at the back of the show, my eye was drawn to Andreas Engesvik's 'bunadspledd' blankets from the outset. I learned that a 'bunad' is the Norwegian national costume for men and women, dating back to 19th century National Romanticism, and there are more than 400 different types in total, each depicting a regional difference. Each 'bunad' consists of a certain number of colours, each distributed in a certain manner. Andreas simplified the patterns to create this range of throws that nod to their original 19th century heritage. Aren't they just fab? A big thumbs up from me!
4. Oscar Narud's Hunter sideboard might be simple in materials but it's certainly a statement piece. The three sliding doors, which draw inspiration from traditional Norwegian architecture, create a graphic look when overlapped, resulting in a colourful lattice effect.Victoria Gunzler and Sara Wright Polmar because they were so darn charming and enthusiastic when we chatted about their 'Benkt' bench. Explaining their obsession for details and quality, Victoria stressed her love for nature and craft, whilst Sara looks to add a playful yet elegant edge to their work. They explained that the bench was purposely designed to be a functional, contemporary interpretation of a traditional Scandinavian kitchen bench, which provides comfort during social meals. The duo also designed the accompanying 'Benkt' blanket, which echos the geometric lines of the cushions. For me, this was the standout piece and if my kitchen was big enough(!) I'd incorporate it into the scheme, no questions asked. Tell me, which of these Norwegian designs are inspiring you?