Vera & Kyte, Furniture Designers
It’s been a banner year for Norwegian design — from our perspective, anyway. Just after being thoroughly indoctrinated to its highlights, both old and new, during New York Design Week in May, we set off on a long-awaited pilgrimage to the country in June to experience its aesthetic charms for ourselves, and we were not disappointed. Yet if we think back, our Norwegian design awakening truly began at this year’s Salone Satellite exhibition in Milan; that’s where we discovered the work of the promising young Bergen-based duo Vera Kleppe and Åshild Kyte — aka Vera & Kyte — whose debut collection of colorful tables, lamps, room dividers, and daybeds was highly graphic, well-resolved, and of-the-moment without being too trendy. Inspired by Art Deco, functionalism, French botanical gardens, and Jaques Tati’s Mon Oncle, the series made us eager to see more from the duo, a wish that was granted this week when they sent us a first look at their latest project, just unveiled at Tent London: a simple wooden armchair intended to evoke summer. Read more about the work, along with what inspires Kleppe and Kyte in general, in our interview below.
Describe your most recent project and how it was made.
“Our most recent project is the Prop Up armchair and footstool that we’re showing for the first time during London Design Festival at Tent London. After an enjoyable period working with steel constructions, we felt the need to revisit wood and a softer, more upholstered landscape. With autumn closing in, we wanted to prolong the relaxed summer feeling, bringing some of its comforts inside. The weather this summer was the best we have had in Bergen for years, and we tried to spend as much of it as we could outside. So in preparation for the long winter coming, we made our own indoor interpretation of the classic garden relaxer chair that we both grew up with: ‘Prop Up armchair and footstool are inspired by the ease of reclining in a garden chair with nothing but spare time. The wooden structure mimics this functional aesthetic with its lightweight frame and constructive details. The slender poles join together with the serpentine springs to give just enough support for the soft cushions.’”
Describe your next project and how you’re currently making it.
“Right now we have several new projects in the making, from accessories and tableware through to seating and interiors. We thought we would give you a little insight into a textile project we’re developing. Textile design is a new territory for us, and we’re very excited to be exploring techniques, qualities, and all the possibilities within this field. The geometric pattern created in rattan woven furniture has been the starting point for a series of woven textile patterns. Playing around with the coloration of the strands or lines keeps revealing new patterns within the pattern.”
Tell us one thing that’s been inspiring you lately and why.
“We spent a week in Stockholm this August, and while we were there, we there visited Moderna Museet, Stockholm’s modern art museum. In one of their exhibitions there were three old TV screens playing scenes from the Triadic Ballet by Oskar Schlemmer. We both new this piece before, but seeing it again now, perhaps with another perspective, left us with new impressions and ideas. There are so many aspects of this ballet that are inspiring: the colours, the avant-garde combination of shapes, the simplicity in the scenery, and the way all these elements work perfectly together throughout the choreography.”
Show us your studio and tell us what you like about it.
“Last october we moved into a new office space, and we like everything about it! It is situated directly on the seafront in what used to be Norway’s largest sardine cannery. It’s now a busy multidisciplinary institution for creative enterprises. We love the busy atmosphere with concerts, festivals, exhibitions, and loads of cultural events happening all around us. In our space we have created a miniature multidisciplinary environment of our own. Besides from this our favourite feature is the view, overlooking the harbour from the top floor — it’s constantly changing, and always entertaining.”