Norwegian Presence exhibition showcases products at Milan design week

Milan 2015: furniture, ceramics and glassware by Norwegian designers have been collected together for an exhibition intended to show the country's contribution to Scandinavian design (+ slideshow).

Krobo by Torbjørn Afdal for Fjordfiesta.  Photograph by Kaja Buskeland
Krobo by Torbjørn Afdal. Photograph by Kaja Bruskeland

The exhibition called Norwegian Presence was hosted by Klubben, Norwegian Crafts and Norwegian Icons – a trio of independent and government-funded groups set up to nurture the reputation of the Nordic nation's design.

The Faset Vase by Kari Mølstad for Norwegian Crafts. Photograph by Kaja Bruskeland.jpg
The Faset Vase by Kari Mølstad. Photograph by Kaja Bruskeland

Over 50 products from 46 Norwegian designers and artisans – ranging from contemporary prototypes to 1940s furniture – were included in the exhibition that ran from 15 to 19 April in the Ventura Lambrate district during Milan design week.

Saddle by Angell Wyller & Aarseth (AWAA) for Slåke. Photograph by Kaja Bruskeland
Saddle by Angell Wyller & Aarseth (AWAA). Photograph by Kaja Bruskeland

Exhibition organiser Norwegian Crafts is a body funded by the nation's Ministry of Culture and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The group presented a range of products and installations by nine Norwegian craftspeople, including a line of ceramic tableware called Tuthanka by Norwegian potter Margit Seland. The spouted vessels feature sanded matt exteriors and brightly coloured lids.

Tuthanka by Margit Seland for Norwegian Crafts. Photograph by Kaja Bruskeland
Tuthanka by Margit Seland. Photograph by Kaja Bruskeland

Norwegian Icons represents the region's design output between 1940 to 1975 to raise awareness of the country's contribution to Scandinavian design, while also promoting new designers.

A multi-coloured modular furniture piece called Krobo was one of the historic pieces on show. Produced in 1960 by post-war furniture designer Torbjørn Afdal, it features an upholstered bench, with a pale wooden frame and brightly coloured metal trays.

Flaske by Andreas Engesvik for Norwegian Crafts. Photograph by Kaja Bruskeland
Flaske by Andreas Engesvik. Photograph by Kaja Bruskeland

Among contemporary designers represented by the group is Kristine Bjaadal, who created a series of coloured glass vessels with bulbous shapes and wooden lids called Hold, which first launched at the beginning of 2015.

Hold by Kristine Bjaadal for Magnor. Photograph by Kaja Buskeland
Hold by Kristine Bjaadal. Photograph by Kaja Bruskeland

Norwegian design collective Klubben unveiled new prototypes and projects from 18 of its 31 members at the show, including a set of linoleum-topped tables named Flip it! by product and spatial designer Marte Frøystad. The metal-framed tables and pedestals have tops based on variations of the circle, featuring segmented and stretched semi-circular tops in speckled yellow, peach or black.

Flip it by Marte Frøystad for Klubben. Photograph by Kaja Buskeland
Flip it by Marte Frøystad. Photograph by Kaja Bruskeland

Graphic and product designer Kristine Five Melvær also created a series of brightly coloured and patterned blankets called Mikkel, which were shown for the first time at the exhibition. The colour block patterns, woven in Norwegian wool were inspired by the Bauhaus movement.

Mikkel blanket by Kristine Five Melvær
Mikkel blanket by Kristine Five Melvær. Photograph by Erik Five Gunnerud

"The Mikkel blankets combine inspiration from the Bauhaus movement and Norwegian traditional weaving on one side," said the designer, "with a contemporary and exploratory use of colour on the other."

Mikkel blanket by Kristine Five Melvær
Mikkel blanket by Kristine Five Melvær. Photograph by Erik Five Gunnerud

Unit was another product debut – a bench with a cork seat and feet by furniture and textile designer Silje Nesdal, who grew up in a Norwegian fjord but is now based in Oslo.

Unit by Silje Nesdal for Klubben. Photograph by Kaja Buskeland
Unit by Silje Nesdal. Photograph by Kaja Bruskeland

A range of wooden trays were designed by Siv Lier, with shiny brass disks that project from the base. The fins of the Spring trays can be used as dividers for loose change, accessories or as a letter rack.

Norwegian Presence exhibition at Milan 2015
Spring by Siv Lier. Photograph by Kaja Bruskeland

Other Scandinavian design on show in Milan last week included a collection of new products by Danish designers and ceramicists, shown at the Mindcraft exhibition curated by GamFratesi.