Norwegian Furniture Designer Silje Nesdal
Silje Nesdal began her career with a short stint in fashion and textiles, but after working at that for a while, decided she wasn’t quite cut out for the breakneck pace of those industries. What was “in” one day would suddenly be “out” the next, and this quick turnaround in trends eventually inspired Nesdal to instead set her sights on an MA in furniture design from Norway’s Bergen Acadamy of Art. After graduating, she decided to incorporate her prior knowledge of fashion and textiles into her practice, creating objects that are functional and honest in their construction. “Being a designer, you have to look at materials, their qualities, and work with them on their own terms,” she has said. “I started embracing textiles and using my skills to see the value of this ability. Now I look at it as a strength.”
This mindset is exactly what makes Silje Nesdal so inherently Scandinavian, and it’s also part of why we chose to spotlight her as one of our three favorite studios presenting new work at this year’s edition of 100% Norway at the London Design Festival. Stay tuned for two more profiles tomorrow and Wednesday, or visit the show yourself at Tent London starting Thursday.Describe your most recent project and how it was made.
For the past few months I’ve been focusing on a pendant armature, developed for the 100% Norway exhibition starting this week. The Sling pendant is the result of a construction idea I’ve had for awhile: I wanted to create a simple and clean pendant that’s easy on the eye and functional, and the Sling is made with a gently colored glass dome carried by a horizontal hanging light source. By using a traditional shape like the dome, I moved the focus onto the light source and the hanging construction itself, stripping them down and combining them into one. The result will hopefully make you look twice and wonder a bit. The combination of the colored glass and the light source creates a poetic atmosphere and the shape of the light source makes it a dynamic lamp when moving. The glass dome is hand-blown and the light source is a diffuser covering LED lights. The meeting point between the glass and the light source is crucial, and it needs the correct placement to achieve balance.
Describe your next project and how you’re currently making it.
I’m currently working on a small-scale production of my stone bookends called Granit (pictured). I’ll make and sell them in Oslo, and on my website. I’m also working on sketching and making models of products for Milan Design Week, where I’ll be participating with my own stand at Salone Satellite. There are several exhibitions this year and the upcoming year, and I enjoy the process of developing new products. Only the future will show where my experiments will go, but I hope to be able to play more with different materials, and most of all, textiles. Tell us one thing that’s been inspiring you lately and why.
I’ve just visited my parents, who live by the fjords on the west coast of Norway, and in their village there’s a manufacturer that produces woolen textiles for furniture that’s more than 125 years old. The previous factory building is still standing, and contains a lot of history. I was there, walked around, looking at old weaving machines, pictures of workers, and old samples of yarns and textiles. Many of my ancestors had been working here, so this whole experience gave me inspiration for my next projects. What I’ll end up with, I’m not quiet sure yet, but I know that with my education in textiles andmy degree in furniture, this is something I would like to pursue. Show us your studio and tell us what you like about it.
I really enjoy coming to my studio every day. Coming from the asphalt jungle outside, it’s nice to smell fresh coffee already on the stairs on my way up. Inside, the natural light is very special, and the studio is surrounded by trees. It’s like an oasis in the middle of the desert, and these places are difficult to find in a busy city center. The studio hosts a group of designers who do different types of art and design, everything from product and furniture design to graphic design to art photography. It’s a creative environment, and that gives me energy and inspires me. (Photo: A New Type of Imprint / Andris S. Visdal)