London Design Festival 2013: Norwegian collective Angell, Wyller & Aarseth has designed a wooden lounge chair with a slung seat and back for Bernhardt Design (+ slideshow).
American furniture brand Bernhardt Design asked Angell, Wyller & Aarseth to design an armchair that combines the studio's Nordic sensibility with a link to American heritage.
The resulting chair features a simple open frame made from solid walnut, a material commonly used in American furniture production.
Gently curving armrests continue around the sitter to form a backrest onto which a padded sling is attached.
An additional cushion fastened to the back of the sling provides supplementary support.
It is available in a range of coloured leather and fabric options and is launching this week during the London Design Festival.
Bernhardt Design presented a chaise designed by Eindhoven couple Kiki van Eijk and Joost van Bleiswijk at the 2011 edition of the London Design Festival. See more furniture by Bernhardt Design »
Other launches at this year's LDF include a collection of wooden bedroom furniture by British brand Another Country and a range of wicker lamps by Swedish studio Claesson Koivisto Rune.
Here's some more information about the project from Bernhardt Design:
Northern Lights - London, UK
It takes a spark to light a fire. Such a spark was cast one evening three years ago during the 2010 London Design Festival. As part of 100% Norway, Ambassador Bjarne Lindstrom organized a reception to connect Norway's best home-grown talents with the international design world. While there, three young designers, Christoffer Angell, Øyvind Wyller and Simen Aarseth, met Jerry Helling, President of Bernhardt Design. That chance encounter has now come full circle with Bernhardt Design's launch of Angell, Wyller & Aarseth's Oslo Chair at the 2013 London Design Festival.
A strong supporter of young designers, Helling is often on the look-out for promising new talent. "There are bright young designers working all over the world, the tricky part is finding ones who are the right fit," Helling said. "Sometimes, we meet through formal channels like tradeshows and exhibitions. More often, however, a first meeting is more serendipitous – through mutual acquaintances or at cocktail parties such as where I met Christoffer, Simen and Øyvind."
The trio of young Norwegian designers calls themselves AWAA. They met during school at the Oslo National Academy of the Arts and, as Angell puts it, they "found each other creatively." As their paths crossed in classes and at exhibitions, they realized they shared the same theories about design – primarily a focus on archetypal purity and structure, the layering of elements, and a passion for classic Scandinavian modernism.
It was an exciting time for the three young students as they formed a loose collective to explore these shared values and ideas. They soon decided to apply for 100% Norway during the London Design Festival, in hopes of broadening their industry exposure. They were accepted, and were elated when Helling handed them his business card at the Ambassador's reception.
"Young designers often have this intense passion that can fade with time and success," Helling added. "Talking with AWAA sparked an interest. You could sense a light burning in them."
After meeting Helling, Angell, Wyller and Aarseth sent a portfolio of their work. Helling was impressed and suggested they apply for the 2011 ICFF Studio program at the International Contemporary Furniture Fair in New York. Their Handle Me cookware designs were a critical success, winning an award for best accessories. It was also at the end of ICFF that Helling formally asked them to collaborate on a new project.
"We'd trained ourselves to not get too excited when someone says, 'We want to work with you', because we'd heard it so many times before. But Jerry followed through," says Wyller. "It’s really exciting when someone tells you this great thing will happen, and then it really does."
The Oslo chair is AWAA's first product together to be launched commercially, and it is a balanced mix of the Nordic trio's design philosophy and Bernhardt Design's American heritage. When Helling asked them to design an armed side chair, AWAA first delved into the physical essence of an armchair – namely that it is made up of four legs, a seat and back, and arms – to focus on a pure skeletal structure. They then set out to layer comfort onto the structure by adding a sling seat and back that seem to rest upon the frame, like garments on a figure.
As a result, they have created a light, airy chair that is comfortable and strong, yet visually simple and open. Rather than being made from traditional Scandinavian hardwoods, Oslo is made of solid walnut, giving it a distinctively American sensibility. The Oslo chair may be upholstered in fabrics and leathers from Bernhardt Textiles or in the customer’s own material.
With the debut of the Angell, Wyller & Aarseth's Oslo Chair at the 2013 London Design Festival, Bernhardt Design shows that what starts as a spark can become a bright light.
About Angell, Wyller & Aarseth
The Norwegian design collective Angell, Wyller & Aarseth (AWAA) was founded in 2010 by Christoffer Angell, Øyvind Wyller and Simen Aarseth. While pursuing their Masters of Design at the Oslo National Academy of the Arts, the three realized they had complementary ideas about design. They decided to form a loose collective to explore those ideas, while also continuing to work individually as interior architects and product designers.
After exhibiting together at the 2010 London Design Festival (at 100% Norway, a juried exhibition of leading Norwegian design talent), and Design Tide in Tokyo, the collective debuted their first range of cast iron cookware in Paris in January 2011. AWAA subsequently showed a larger range of products at the Salone Satellite in Milan, where they received a Special Mention from the jury, and at ICFF in New York, where they won ICFF Studio for their cookware. In 2012, they presented their collection of seating, lighting and tables at the Salone Satellite in Milan.
AWAA approach design by analyzing an activity to determine its essential elements to then establish an archetypal object that fulfills those elements. From there, they layer on elements to lend meaning, functionality and adaptability to the object.
Their diverse personal interests and experiences contribute to their designs. Angell is also an interior architect with experience in lighting design, having interned with the American lighting brand Rich Brilliant Willing. Wyller is a freelance designer and has experience with design journalism from his time as a columnist with the Norwegian newspaper Dagbladet. Simen works as a brand strategist and designer at the Oslo-based firm Work.