Despite its reputation as the underdog of Scandinavian design, Norway has been remarkably adept at making its presence felt among the global design community for some years now. Thanks to the Nordic country’s considerable investments in design, including the €1.3m ‘Design-Driven Innovation’ funding programme, a thriving community of determined creatives has slowly but surely been emerging.
In the UK, the 100% Norway showcase celebrated its 12th anniversary at the London Design Festival last year and, elsewhere, group shows at design fairs in cities such as New York, Milan and Paris have been helping Norway to step out of its Nordic neighbours’ shadow.
Following the 'Norwegian Presence' exhibition that took place at last year’s Milan Design Week, designers’ union Klubben have once again joined forces with contemporary craft resource Norwegian Crafts and paint manufacturers Jotun to produce an exhibition of Nordic design talent, this time in collaboration with the Norwegian Centre for Design and Architecture.
Called 'Structure', the show will take place over the course of five days in Milan’s Lambrate district and will encompass furniture, ceramic, lighting, textile and interior object designs all inspired by the show’s title.
In a country where it is generally too expensive for designers to manufacture their work locally, the Milan show will serve as a global platform for 26 creatives to advertise their talents to manufacturers from overseas. For instance, Bergen-based designers Vera Kleppe and Åhild Kyte of studio Vera & Kyte are hoping to find a manufacturer for their line of ceramic centerpieces. Inspired by the shapes and colours of the structures found in the cities of Los Angeles, Tokyo and Rome, the graphic tiles come in sets of five and can function as trivets, coasters and serving boards.
As well as emerging talents, visitors to the show can also expect to see work by more established names such as Millie Behrens, who launched her handcrafted jewellery studio in 1988, and Andreas Engesvik who was part of the new wave of Norwegian designers to pave the way for future generations in the early 2000s.
Opening on 12 April with a timber show space dreamt up by Kråkvik & D’Orazio alongside Hanna Nova Beatrice, editor-in-chief of Swedish design magazine Residence, 'Structure' looks set to steal the Scandinavian spotlight for Norway once again.