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Six Norwegian Designers Explore Our New Normal

So many of the projects we’ve featured over the past 18 months have been byproducts of the ongoing pandemic: small, self-initiated collections that wouldn’t otherwise have come into existence had we not all spent the better part of last year trapped in isolation. However, an exhibition this month at Gallery Sorgenfri in Oslo, ‘The Ny Normal’ (Ny, if you hadn’t already guessed, means New in Norwegian), is one of a new wave of exhibitions actively responding to what is slowly becoming our new reality. Organized by design collective Fold Oslo and featuring work by six emerging Norway-based designers — Anna Maria Øfstedal Eng, Vilde Hagelund, Kathrine Hovind, Poppy Lawman, Tobias Berg, and Sovei Giæver — the exhibition isn’t so much a literal reaction to the pandemic, but rather a nudge towards a more thoughtful, local, and sustainable approach to how we can make and use things going forward.

The objects were built in collaboration with local craftsmen or handmade by the designers themselves. For example, Anna Maria Øfstedal Eng carved her lumpy Viride dining chair and table (shown at top) to create a wavy, organic-feeling silhouette, influenced by the twisting forms of twigs and roots. Meanwhile, Kathrine Hovind collaborated with carpenters Kvass on her “Kvarv” lounge chair; inspired by traditional Norwegian cabinetmaking, the chair makes use of solid log construction, which she modernized with the addition of a backrest made from narrow steel pipes. There are also some interesting interpretations of Norway’s own industrial past. Designer Poppy Lawman explored the country’s paper-making history for her “Papirstein Stol,” a lounge chair formed of compressed paper pulp on a steel frame. Using both the soft inner wood and the darker exterior bark, the chair takes on a tone that vaguely resembles cork. According to Lawman, she opted for paper pulp and steel due to the fact that they are both recyclable, which, she says, works towards the goal of creating “furniture that has a positive future in mind.” ◆

PHOTOS BY PERNILLE MÜNSTER

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Anna Maria Øfstedal Eng & Sovei Giæver

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Av Kathrine Hovind

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Sovei Giæver

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Anna Maria Øfstedal Eng

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Anna Maria Øfstedal Eng, Sovei Giæver and Vilde Hagelund

 

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Anna Maria Øfstedal Eng