MDW22: MATTER by Norwegian Presence
Milan Design Week is back with a bang. The Norwegians always put on a good show and this year was no exception – DOGA (Design and Architecture Norway) presented MATTER by Norwegian Presence – a celebration of materiality, ingenuity, and the culture that is informed by Norway’s abundant natural resources and challenging wild landscapes – all set within the resplendent Galleria Milano in the Brera Design District.
The Minus Chair by British and Norwegian duo Jenkins&Uhnger is the first manifestation of their aim to make carbon-negative furniture – depending on the production volumes, this pine chair is capable of storing more carbon than its production emits. “All chairs are designed to bear the weight of a man, but none to bear man’s weight on nature,” say the designers. “This is our mission.” The Minus Chair is also biodegradable and repairable and sales are limited to within a certain distance from Norway to make good on its carbon promises.
Anna Maria Øfstedal Eng took inspiration from crooked twigs and roots for her Vride Bench made from Norwegian Ash. “Mysteries, shapes, and materials of the Norwegian nature fascinate and in the making process, I often let uncontrollable formations control and beautify my work,” she says. The bench sits somewhere between sculptural form and functional furniture.
There is more to the Shift Stool by Hallgeir Homstvedt than meets the eye. A concealed gasket joint, inspired by skateboards, allows the aniline-dyed beech/ash seat to shift and rotate, moving naturally with your body. The stool pays homage to legendary Norwegian designer Peter Opsvik’s idea of moving while sitting.
Poppy Lawman’s Brent Collection comprises ambiguous furniture made from urban maple sourced from Oslo’s Sofienberg Park – the surface of the wood is treated with a traditional scorching technique to protect it, ensuing longevity, without compromising its ability to biodegrade at the end of its (hopefully very long) life.
The Offcut Chair by Pettersen&Hein (Norwegian artist Magnus Pettersen and Danish designer Lea Hein) was initially conceived for Copenhagen’s Connie-Connie Cafe as part of a project for which 25 artists were challenged to make seating from flooring company Dinesen’s waste. Sketching directly in the material resulted in a ‘sandwich construction’ and as little waste as possible.
Oslo-based Kurdish-Norwegian designer Nebil Zaman made Collective Division – a series of sculptural room dividers – from discarded city bus handrails, combined with plaster, wood glue, and natural resins. By taking everyday objects out of context he is exploring how our surroundings affect our lives and mental state.
Gudbrandsdalens Uldvarefabrik was established in Lillehammer in 1887 and is today championing wool as “nature’s own high-tech material” for its resilience, heat and moisture regulation, and flame-retardant and anti-microbial qualities. The depth of color and texture achieved in these upholstery textiles is testament to centuries-old knowledge and expertise.
Fjordfiesta pre-launched the Sverre Fehn Collection – of which this Norwegian pine stool is just one piece. Originally designed for specific projects by the late Sverre Fehn (1924–2009) – a Pritzker Prize-winning Norwegian architect of some repute – this is the first time the pieces have been made more widely available. The collection has been developed in close collaboration with his family to embody his poetic and yet rational approach.
And finally, Vestre premiered its new Kinn Collection by Anderssen & Voll – Torbjørn Anderssen and Espen Voll. The collection is made from 75% recycled post-consumer aluminum scrap Hydro CIRCAL, Scandinavian pine, and Swedish steel – the latter with a 30% lower carbon footprint than the global average to embody Vestre’s mission of “creating caring meeting places.” The chairs are super comfy too – and the gaps between the slats let the rain run right through.