The OsloTokyo exhibition is about a subjective relation each designer have to objects;
a designed interpretation based upon personal stories from each of the designers, representing an individual perception of Oslo. By making objects inspired by each designers individual appreciation of their hometown, they have made a collection of stories, which they have brought to Tokyo on a mission to exchange design culture.
The prototypes featured are results of a materialization of the designers individual stories. As a whole, this exhibition shows a snapshot of Oslo´s emerging design scene.
Exhibitors: Anderssen & Voll, Vibeke Skar, Stokke Austad, SHE Design, Christoffer Angell, Øyvind Wyller, Simen Aarseth, Petter Skogstad, Hallgeir Homstvedt and
In the wintertime Oslo gets dark and cold, and you need something to brighten up the long night. Candles make a pleasant mood, and the flame remind me of the fact that I am a being with ancient roots, something timeless and alive that crawls around in a sterile urban environment. The candleholder is a tool to present this little controlled flame, and this particular version is carved out to make a handle so that it can be carried around. I like the idea of having this ultra-primal phenomenon, the flame, neatly handled so that it also can be a tool; a tool to lighten up your room or the stairs up to your attic. While I made this candleholder, I lived in Bjølsen, which is a place in between the suburbs and the city; sort of semi-urban. The building I lived in had an attic where homeless people would break in and sleep during the winter. Sometimes I would go up there early in the morning while it was still dark as the night, and sometimes I would meet the homeless. When they had stayed there for the night, they would leave behind burned out candles. When I saw these candles, I felt like they were traces of such ancient creatures with primal needs like heat and fire. I would identify myself with those who could not fit in to the sterile society of the city. This is probably not unique for Oslo, but this all happened on my attic in Bjølsen. What I tell you in this story didn’t inspire me directly when I made the design, at least I don’t think it did. But it all happened like this and candles kind of became the central object of the whole story. Sometimes you don’t really know what inspire you until you look back at the things that happened in that certain period of time. At least that’s how I feel.
It is 10:15 in the morning and the sun is shining sideways through the open curtains, promising yet another one of those glorious autumn days. The linen feels soft on sleepy skin, and the remains of a distant dream is slowly fading away. Not sleeping any more, but yet not fully awake, the body takes in the surroundings of the bedroom. So familiar to look at and yet the new day makes it feel fresh and uncertain. I can tell it will be one of those days where the sky is impeccably clear with the changing leaves on the trees making the sky turn an even stronger shade of blue. A day for walking around in the city as if you do not know it. Perhaps go to see a movie in the evening, and walk home through slick dark streets with only the sounds of heels on hard tarmac. Or perhaps just stay in.
A small sound is heard from the kitchen. Bare feet on cold floor. The kettle is put on, bread is put in the toaster and the refrigerator door is opened. Left open a bit, and then closed again with a small thud. The Bialetti is starting to make its small puffing and gurgling sounds signalling it is ready with the first cup of coffee of the day. Outside the city is slowly waking up, and if I stepped outside in my neighbourhood Vika it would carry the fresh smell of sea and newly baked croissant from the baker. Soon the doors to the bedroom will open wide I know I am about to receive the best breakfast I will ever experience in Oslo.
Kikut in Nordmarka
If you ask a typical Oslo inhabitant what he or she likes about living in Oslo they are likely to answer ‘because of its proximity to nature’. So in August and September the people of Oslo flood the surrounding forests searching for mushroom and berries. It is a proper hunt and a fierce competition looking for the best ‘catch’. You just have to watch out for the many crazy off road bikers that use the same forest as their race track. After a hot and humid summer like we had this year, all kinds of mushrooms pop up all over. Cep Mushrooms, Chanterelle and the nasty looking Shaggy Ink Cap. One of our business-partners is producing locally grown and refined foods. One of her products is dried mushroom. We made the ‘Kikut’ series as obvious containers for these tasty condiments. ‘Kikut’ refers to a remote cabin and a hill for hikers in the northern woods surrounding Oslo.
The botanical garden
Lily lamp can withstand the Nordic, cold climate and love to be placed in a dry, sunny location where it can shine undisturbed for years. It comes in different colors depending on its habitat. The lamp is similar to a flower in many ways, in daytime when the sun shines on it the color appears, and when it’s dark the color disappear. I am walking in the middle of a big bed of flowers, sensing a sweet smell and total silence. Looking and taking pictures at all the colors and different shapes. I am visiting the most beautiful garden in Oslo, The Botanical Garden, founded in 1814, that contains about 7500 flower and plant species. Here you can get inspired or take a picnic beside the waterfalls. The main attraction is the Victoria water lily, a white lily that becomes colored in the middle after the first night they are open.
Next to your tomato plant
Cultivating plants in your own home or in the office is sympathetic and increasingly important. No water – no plants! In our new office we want to work in a jungle of plants that brings life, air and color to the daily life. The other day we found an amazing old library ladder in a container outside our old design school. It didn't quite work together with our low shelves at the new office but it was simply too beautiful to throw away. We brought along some plants from the old office and suddenly the ladder turned into the perfect plant stand. The only missing part now was the watering can. So the ‘Gro’ watering can grew out of this need. The handle and the spout of our watering can are grown from the main corpus – organizing the functions of filling, containing and pouring in a way that mimics a growing plant. ‘Gro’ means both ‘grow’ and ‘heal’ in Norwegian. The word is also a typical girls name.
Oslo is closely surrounded by wild nature in immediate reach. Norwegians are proud of their apparently close relation to nature, but the fact is that we spend 80-90% of our lives indoors in a man-made environment. Moving from the countryside of western Norway to Oslo made me reflect on the concept of urbanization, this environment seemed distanced and alienated from our origin close to nature. I wondered to what extent and in what way we have inhabited this environment and made it our own? And I was in need of a product that made it easy for me to grow plants indoors, in my small apartment.
We found that gardening could work as an excellent overlapping social platform across different behavioral patterns amongst the people living there, increasing the social network and outdoor community for a large number of residents. Early prototypes of the Micro Garden growing shelves were handed out to residents at the local shopping center, suggesting a natural supplement to allotment gardens and a way of maintaining the “garden community” during the winter season.
You have to come along and see Grünerløkka, our favorite district in Oslo. It’s young, relaxed and caring; a perfect place for a Sunday stroll. This district is full of people walking around with a fresh cup of coffee, curiously chasing treasures among thousands of products at the 2nd markets. We like the idealistic idea of people passing on their old products to others and find it fascinating how 2nd hand products can be even more interesting than the brand new ones. Who was the previous owner of the product, and what clues did he leave in the object for you to find? We love to imagine a story behind 2nd hand object by looking for the clues you’ll find in the well-used products. Finding materials that uncover the past or small details that we would like to bring to life again in future designs. This design is a tribute to some of the 2nd hand objects we found, loved and will pass on to you when the time is right to do so.
Sofa inside a warm Oslo townhouse
Inside a baby-stroller rolling down the street. The ‘Sky’ blanket is a memory of a summer day, and in Norwegian ‘Sky’ means cloud. The fall and winter season in Oslo is dark and might be very snowy and cold. Modern and urban cafe culture has sprung out in Oslo big time. People like to enjoy their espressos sitting outside almost all year no matter the cold. What better then than to wrap yourself or someone you love in a warm and soft cloud wether you are out- or indoors. The pattern enhance the understanding of the rich, thick and soft quality of unique Norwegian wool. The plaid comes in a baby version for those parents who like to prepare their kids for the hot coffee and the cold weather.
Vigeland Sculpture Park is a part of Frogner Park, located 3 km northwest of the city centre. The park covers 80 acres and features 212 bronze and granite sculptures created by Gustav Vigeland. Vigeland personally sculpted every figure out of clay and individual craftsmen were contracted to fabricate the pieces into what they are today. The Monolith Valet has its clear and simple design from one of Norway’s most famous landmark, The Monolith. «Monolitten» is a 17 meters high column consisting of 121 figures, carved from a single granite block, and symbolizes man’s aspirations and pursuit for the transcendent and divine. I am inspired by this icon, because this is a strong symbol that people in Oslo are proud of, and it is a wonderful piece of art that must be experienced.
I have great respect for the artisans who shape metal and wood with an elegance and a love for the subject. Therefore, I hand made this shoehorn in solid wood to be able to enjoy this artisan trade. It is in the workshop each products come to life. «A whole day in a dusty wood workshop with my own prototypes can make me forget time and place.» Oslo is home to many skilled artisans who love what they are doing, and do not mind using their expertise to help both emerging and established designers with the building of prototypes. This way Oslo and old family businesses can provide designers with knowledge, manpower and great facilities to realize projects. The handmade shoe spoon is a tribute to the traditional craftsmanship that still live fully in Oslo.
Norwegians are said to be the number one consumer of candles in the world. In December the use of candles peaks with the advent period which is a pre-christian practice in the Scandinavian countries. With the Trikk candleholder we celebrate the light in December when Oslo is surrounded by winter and darkness. The Trikk candleholder is also a tribute to the trams of Oslo and the Oslo poet Jan Erik Vold. Trikk is the Norwegian word for tram. The Oslo trams, also called ‘the Blue Tram’, has a history that dates back to 1875. The tram lines links the different parts of Oslo together and adds an inspiring graphics to the city streets. The lines part and meet with a continuos flow of traveling inhabitants. Jan Erik Vold is a living poet legend from Oslo who is known for his community involvement, particularly through his poems about the tram and skating. He has contributed greatly to renew the poetic genre in Norway and generate interest in poetry and the city of Oslo. His fascination for the tram, beat poetry, jazz and Oslo is a true inspiration for our work with Trikk. The candleholder is a continuos and repeating rhythm of flowing lines that carry you through the dark winters of Oslo.