Dezeen Magazine

Knekk family by Jon Fauske Produced by Fora Form

Seven seats that showcase the best of Norwegian design

A stool with a self-supporting wool seat and a previously unreleased armchair by Sverre Fehn are among Dezeen editor-at-large Amy Frearson's top picks from Designers' Saturday in Oslo.

From chairs and sofas to benches and stools, seating was the star attraction at Designer's Saturday – a biennial event that showcases established designers and brands alongside up-and-coming talents.

Contemporary brands, heritage labels, and student and graduate showcases all featured innovative approaches to furniture you sit on.

Notable trends across the works on show included new manufacturing techniques, eco-friendly materials and the latest in ergonomics.

Read on to see seven of the most impressive examples:

Knekk family by Jon Fauske, produced by Norwegian brand Fora Form

Knekk series by Jon Fauske

Norwegian brand Fora Form launched a furniture range that allows users to be either fully seated or to adopt a more engaged leaning posture.

Developed by young Oslo-based designer Jon Fauske, the seats in the Knekk series are all formed of two panels, one flat and one slightly angled, so that users can easily move between positions.

The range now includes benches, stools and chairs, as well as the Knekk barstool released in 2019.

See the Knekk series on Dezeen Showroom ›

Venezia 01 by Sverre Fehn, produced by Norwegian brand Fjordfiesta

Venezia 01 by Sverre Fehn

Fehn, the only Norwegian architect to be awarded the Pritzker Architecture Prize, developed this armchair in 1963 for one of his most celebrated buildings, the Nordic Pavilion in Venice.

The design never made it to Italy, because Fehn was unable to produce it. Its delicately curved steel frame proved too expensive to manufacture at the time, so only two prototypes were ever made.

Sixty years later, Norwegian heritage brand Fjordfiesta has made the product a reality. It comes with a vegetable-tanned leather cushion.

Exploring the potential of wool by Jonas Oppedal

Exploring the potential of wool by Jonas Oppedal

Highlights from the student design showcase at Designer's Saturday included the work of Jonas Oppedal, who is enrolled on the BA Interior Architecture and Furniture Design programme at Oslo National Academy of the Arts.

Oppedal has been exploring new uses for Norwegian wool fibres that are too coarse to be turned into textiles.

The designer used a felting technique to turn this waste material into self-supporting cushions, which he believes could offer a more eco-friendly alternative to the foam rubber often used in furniture upholstery.

Less by Lars Tornøe, produced by Nowegian brand Hjelle

Less by Lars Tornøe

Norwegian furniture brand Helle teamed up with designer Lars Tornøe to explore how a sofa can be produced without any traditional upholstery.

Due to be released in January 2024, Less consists of a wooden base topped by a series of simple cushions.

These cushions stay in place because they slot over angular arms, which extend up from the base to form an invisible "backbone". As a result, very little glue is used and components are easy to repair or replace.

Minus Furniture exhibition in Oslo for Designers' Saturday

Minus Chair by Jenkins & Uhnger

The first product from new Norwegian brand Minus, which launched in 2022, was the response to a brief to "design the most environmentally friendly chair possible".

This led Oslo-based designers Thomas Jenkins and Sverre Uhnger to take a holistic look at how the production process could be adapted to minimise energy use and make optimal use of materials and resources.

The Minus Chair, which is longlisted for Dezeen Awards, can either be purchased outright or rented through a subscription. The company's aim to for the chair to be carbon-negative across its entire lifespan.

Find out more about the Minus Chair ›

Exploring Norwegian Birch by Jon Anders Fløistad

Wooden Futures by Jon Anders Fløistad

Another standout student project came from Jon Anders Fløistad, a diploma student at the Oslo School of Architecture and Design, whose thesis explores new uses for Norwegian birch.

"Every year, more timber grows than is harvested in Norwegian woods, and birch is the most under-utilised wood species here," said Fløistad.

A chair is one of several furniture pieces that the designer, who is also an apprentice woodcarver, has created using this timber. The design includes a raw branch, celebrating the wood's original form.

Social by Snøhetta, produced by Varier

Social by Snøhetta

With dining tables increasingly being used as work-from-home desks, Norwegian furniture brand Varier enlisted architectural firm Snøhetta to design a chair that can function in different ways.

Social comes in two forms, Social Turn and Social Tilt. Both allow the sitter to move more freely than a static dining chair, offering more flexibility for different situations.

The design, which is longlisted for a Dezeen Award, is produced from post-consumer recycled polypropylene reinforced with glass fibre and comes in six colourways.

Designers' Saturday was on show in venues across Oslo from 8 to 10 September 2023. See Dezeen Events Guide for more architecture and design events around the world.