This weekend in London, Now Nordic is bringing five curators from Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Finland and Iceland together at the London Design Fair to explore whether they belong in the same room. The Norwegian design duo Kråkvik & D´Orazio have curated the Norwegian section of the exhibition, consisting of design from Pettersen & Hein, Eyvind Solli, Marianne Andersen og Victoria Gunzler, Runa Klock, Cosmin Cioroiu og Kathrine Lønstad aka Noi Doi, Kim Thomé og Vera & Kyte. We spoke to Alessandro D’Orazio about Norwegian design today, collaborations across Nordic countries and new interpretations of the Nordic design tradition.
How did you end up curating for Now Nordic and what do you like
most about the project?
We were asked to curate the Norwegian part of the Now Nordic exhibition just before summer. We loved the idea of an online gallery, working with all parts of the world, connecting and collaborating worldwide, as well as the different physical exhibitions, like this one in London for instance and the one before at Chart Cph. It is a great opportunity for both the designers and us as curators to meet colleagues from other parts of the world.
You have curated seven Norwegian designers for this exhibition. Why did you choose these designers and what do they represent for you?
To us it was important to show what is happening in Norway just now. How we play with materials, colours and shapes and how the designers and artists collaborate and share ideas. You got for instance Pettersen/Hein, based in Denmark consisting of artist Magnus Pettersen from Norway and Lea Hein, designer from Copenhagen, Runa Klock working with a New York based studio, and a collaboration between craft artist Victoria Gunzler and designer Marianne Andersen. The collection also includes work from the young and very talented Eyvind Solli (which sold 3 pieces already), the design duo Noidoi and Vera&Kyte, as well as the London based designer, Kim Thome. Another thing that was important to us was to highlight the almost non excisting line between crafts and design.
How would you describe Norwegian design today? Is there a way Norwegian design distinguish itself from Nordic design moreover?
Yes and no. We are all influenced by each other and there will always be a part of us that are nordic/scandinavian. We seek the real and the simple in materials and form. Yet you can see a much more playful language in Norwegian design. Like Iceland we have not got the same history when it comes to design and art and we have not got that heavy weight on our shoulders from the past like the danes, the swedes and the finns. It is getting harder to tell the difference between us though.
Nordic design has been hugely popular in the UK for a while. Why do you think that is?
We got many young talents, both within design and art as well as new established brands and there is a high quality in what the Nordic countries delivers. It is young and fresh but at the same time it takes care of our environmental issues. Nordic design is also typically long lasting and well produced.
With the increased popularity of Nordic design, a certain idea and association with Nordic design comes with. How do you think this affects new Nordic designers?
I think it affects us all, not only within the Nordic countries. With the online platforms and the continuous stream of inspiration from everywhere, we are all influenced by each other. We still believe that most of us seek to find our own language and I trust that we can get inspired and collaborate without looking completely the same in a few years time. I would say that with the smaller scale production and unica pieces that you will find here at Now Nordic, it is a clear reaction to what we would call a typical nordic look.
Lastly, can you tell us a bit about yourselves as designers and future plans ahead?
Kråkvik&D´Orazio is a creative studio run by Alessandro D´Orazio and Jannicke Kråkvik. We started working together 15 years ago and work within interior and styling. We work on everything from exhibition designs, curating projects, photo styling, art direction, interior design and a lot more. Right now we are curating the Norwegian presence exhibition in Milano next year, as well as finishing up a huge restaurant project in Oslo, opening in October, where we did the interior design. We also run the Oslo shop Kollekted by, which opened in 2013. A curated shop with design from all over the world, focusing on young talents and different collaborations.
Now Nordic is on from 20th – 23rd of September at The Old Truman Brewery. Read more about the exhibition here:
Top photo: Design by Marianne Andersen and Victoria Gunzler. Photo credit Now Nordic.