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Living room in Pyton Place

Pyton Place exhibition shows how the Bauhaus influenced Norwegian design

Oslo-based collective Pyton showcased more than 50 examples of Norwegian art, design and craft at the Pyton Place exhibition during London Craft Week.

Pyton Place set out to tell the story of how modernism impacted traditional craft practices created in Norway, and the objects that were produced as a result.

Dining room in Pyton Place
The exhibition was organised like a home

Presented in Cromwell Place from 11-15 May, the exhibition paired the distinctive pine furniture of mid-century Norwegian designer Edvin Helseth with objects and artworks by the likes of Sigve Knutson and Tron Meyer.

According to Richard Øiestad and Are Blytt, the two Pyton members behind Pyton Place, the aim was to show that the modernist movement was not just a generic style, but also resulted in a range of diverse, highly crafted works.

Bedroom in Pyton Place
A "faux-Norwegian-cabin-style" wall system divides the space into zones

"For us, this show is about artists and object makers working primarily with unique pieces," they told Dezeen.

"It is the relationship between their chosen materials and their intellectual concepts, and the connections all these have to the world around us."

Fireplace and seats in Pyton Place
Sculptural stools by Sigve Knutson, Julia K Persson and Sverre Gullesen were featured

The exhibition references its setting – a Georgian apartment – by organising the objects in relation to the rooms they occupy. There are five zones: sleep, eat, lounge, work and arrive.

This arrangement references the manifesto of Hannes Meyer, the second director of the Bauhaus school, which set out 12 motivations for how living spaces should be organised.

Shelves in Pyton Place
Pine furniture by mid-century designer Edvin Helseth features throughout

The Bauhaus played an important role in Norway's adoption of modernism, Øiestad and Blytt explained.

In the early 20th century, when the country had a strong social-democratic political stance, young Norwegian designers were attracted to the innovative spirit of the Bauhaus.

Many of those that left to study returned to become professors for a post-war generation of students. Among those students was Helseth, who combined his modernist learnings with carpentry skills taught by his family.

"Helseth is a designer that all the members of Pyton have been fascinated with for a long time," said Øiestad and Blytt, "due to his very modern and unique way of making modernist furniture in pinewood."

Wooden screen in Pyton Place
Artworks include a tapestry by textile artist Elisabeth Haarr

"His furniture designs have a brutalist appearance, continued Øiestad and Blytt. "At the same time, they have a hint of refined Japanese wood craftsmanship; assembled with no glue or screws, they are held together with only wooden plugs or joints."

Helseth's designs were featured throughout Pyton Place. They included a folding dining table, a modular shelving system, an elaborate desk and a simple tea trolley.

Desk in Pyton Place
Lina Viste Grønli's All The Pens flanks a desk by Edvin Helseth

To complement these works, Øiestad and Blytt designed a "faux-Norwegian-cabin-style" wall system that helps to clearly divide the five different zones.

They then added a range of sculptural and functional objects and artworks, both historic and contemporary, revealing the scope of creativity that Norway has produced over the past 100 years.

Wooden screen in Pyton Place
Works by Henrik Ødegaard and Nebil Zaman dominate the entrance zone

Historic pieces included a range of pewter objects by Gunnar Havstad, including a bottle described as "perfect in its shape and proportions", and a tapestry by textile artist Elisabeth Haarr.

"Elisabeth Haarr's tapestry from 1973 is something that really bonds with us intellectually; a sharp work of art in itself, but at the same time a historical timepiece of feminist history within the Norwegian art scene," said the curators.

Oda Iselin Sønderland Hespetre
Oda Iselin Sønderland presents a watercolour painting, Hespetre

Contemporary works on show included some pieces by Pyton members, including an aluminium television stand with an eye detail by Øiestad, a pair of graphical stools by Blytt and bird-inspired furniture pieces by Henrik Ødegaard.

Other highlights include a mouth-shaped stool by ceramist Julia K Persson, a pen-covered curtain by artist Lina Viste Grønli and Oda Iselin Sønderland's watercolour painting, Hespetre.

"Oda Iselin Sønderland's mystic motives blend elements of dreams with crafting," said the curators. "Her works connect with growing up, youth culture, and the life circles through drawing."

John Skognes Tea set Edvin Helseth Tea trolley
A trolley by Edvin Helseth displays a tea set by John Skognes

The exhibition was supported by Norwegian Crafts and was one of the headline events during London Craft Week. Øiestad and Blytt hope that visitors left with "a lust for a less-generic-living".

"We hope this show could help people to remember that culture should be included in our daily lives," they added.

Pyton Place was staged as part of London Craft Week, which took place from 9-15 May 2022. See Dezeen Events Guide for an up-to-date list of architecture and design events taking place around the world.

More images

Pyton Place at London Craft Week
Objects in Pyton Place
Tron Meyer
Shelves in Pyton Place
Stool in Pyton Place
Artworks in Pyton Place
Gunnar Havstad Jug
Are Blytt Antikrakk 3 Psychologically Speaking
Guvar Havstad Water mug and Jug
Bed in Pyton Place
Henrik Ødegaard Black Bird 01 and 02
Jinbin Chen We Dont Want to Treat you as a Piece of Exotic Fruit but You Need to Work Harder
Julia K Persson Kiss my a--
Marte Johnslien Untitled
Richard Øiestad Glass column
Elisabeth Haarr Labyrinten