100% Norway’s latest exhibition brings Scandinavian design to a wider audience
London Design Festival loyalists may be surprised to find 100% Norway noticeably absent from its usual spot in the halls of 100% Design show in Earl’s Court. For the first time since 2006, the annual showcase of up and coming Norwegian design talent has moved to pastures new on the opposite side of town at the Dray Walk Gallery in Shoreditch.
100% Norway’s new location, next to bustling London Design Festival hotspot the Truman Brewery, comes with the hope of presenting Norwegian design to a wider audience. Curators Benedicte Sunde (from the Norwegian Centre for Design) and our own multi-tasking editor-at-large Henrietta Thompson tasked young designers Amy Hunting and Oscar Narud to design the space, which they effectively divided up like a museum archive into categorised rows of furniture, lighting, accessories and textiles. Bright blue fencing at the gallery’s entrance also cleverly references traditional Norwegian architecture, and echoes throughout the show.
Now in its ninth year, 100% Norway has built up a strong reputation for supporting young designers. For 2012, Thompson and Sunde selected just 22 exhibitors from a record 79 applicants. Thompson, who has been curating the show since 2006, explains: ’When we first started, it was a case of going out to Norway and finding the designers but now we get inundated with applications, we’re spoilt for choice.’
The years of support have not gone to waste either. Prior to today’s opening, some exhibitors have already secured producers for their work - a true testament to the calibre of talent being presented. Recent graduate Lars Beller Fjetland’s family of ’Re-turned’ birds, made from recycled wood, have been snapped up by the Italian brand Discipline, while his ’Nuki’ tables are slated to be produced by Normann Copenhagen.
As well as up-and-coming talents, this year’s show also features re-issued Norwegian design classics, such as Peter Opsvik’s playful ’Garden’ chair, which has been given a few 21st century tweaks by Andreas Engesvik and produced by Norwegian manufacturers Rybo. Thompson and Sunde believe that this mix of old and new is an important new element of the show that will help to inspire a new generation.
’Norway has not necessarily always been a great design nation like the other Scandinavian countries,’ says Thompson. ’In previous shows we’ve spoken a lot about the new generation of Norwegian designers, so the inclusion of these historical designs shows that there is a history there.’