“The work starts immediately. The first meeting is on Thursday,” said Tor Inge Hjemdal, Director of Architecture at Design and Architecture Norway (DOGA), during a press conference in Oslo on Monday afternoon.
For the first time in history, the Norwegian architecture industry has its own export programme. Ten million Norwegian crowns have been earmarked to help Norwegian architects gain a foothold abroad. The programme ‘Architecture – Go Global’ is being headed by Innovation Norway and DOGA and supported by the Ministry of Trade and Industry and Ministry of Cultural Affairs.
During the press conference, Anita Krohn Traaseth, CEO of Innovation Norway, promised fast and tangible results from this one-year pilot.
“The ten million crowns will be put to good use. We will use the time and funding available to obtain insight into what works and what doesn’t. This will also make it easier to scale up the efforts in the future. The architecture industry has tremendous growth potential, is of continuously high quality and has a high innovation quotient. In addition, there is something about architecture that inspires people, more than, for example, a drill does,” says Traaseth.
The head of Innovation Norway explains that the programme will help selected companies with growth potential and explicit export ambitions. They will receive assistance in three areas: competence, capital and consultancy.
“Together with DOGA and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, we will bring together Norwegian architects and some of the world’s best buyers of design and architecture. We will provide concrete help in the form of cost calculations, mentoring, data analysis, brand protection, legal help, product websites and export trips,” adds Traaseth.
“Plenty to be proud of”
Minister of Trade and Industry Monica Mæland emphasises that we have plenty to be proud of when it comes to Norwegian architecture.
“The industry has a fantastic reputation, creates buildings of high quality and is well-established with good sales figures. Unfortunately, only one percent of this turnover originates from exports. It’s quite odd in fact that we have lived on raw material exports for decades, but have not succeeded in exporting our creative industries,” she points out
“Look to Asia”
A survey carried out prior to the programme reveals that Norwegian architectural firms desire first and foremost more projects in the Nordic region, Europe and North America. This surprises the minister.
“They should look to Asia instead! This is where the major economic growth is taking place. It is in this part of the world that a new middle class is emerging. We can’t afford to miss the boat here. We need to use the system we have in place to create value for Norway, while at the same time helping to solve the global challenges of our times,” says Mæland.
Can create new jobs
Minister of Cultural Affairs Linda Hofstad Helleland believes that the Norwegian architectural industry has considerable growth potential.
“We need to facilitate the support that is needed. This will inspire others to take the risk. I strongly believe that this programme will have a positive effect. Architecture can be one of the cornerstones of Norway in the future. I believe the industry can create new jobs in the future,” she says.