“Alongside a decline in oil and gas exports, we also see an increase in the export of Norwegian finished goods,” said Jan Christian Vestre on opening the breakfast meeting of the Samarbeidsrådet for møbel- og interiørdesign (SMI) at DOGA on 9 December. Vestre is CEO of the street furniture company Vestre AS and head of SMI. The occasion was the launch of the memo “Design and brand-driven finished goods industry – a growth industry for Norway”.
“In a time when a restructuring is important, it is rewarding to see the entire field come together to trigger the potential of the Norwegian furniture and design industry. The figures speak for themselves: Norwegian design represents a major growth industry,” says Trude Gomnæs Ugelstad, CEO of Design and Architecture Norway DOGA.
Concrete opportunities and concrete measures
Jan Christian Vestre presented five reasons why it is a good idea to gamble on furniture and interior design right now: The industry is already quite sizeable, exports are increasing at a faster rate than seafood exports, Norwegian design can be found around the world, Norway can produce in a more eco-friendly manner than most countries and new technology and a weaker Norwegian crown can give Norwegian industrial companies a greater competitive advantage.
But SMI is also interested in concrete actions and Vestre presented just as many measures to achieve growth:
- Develop the design and brand-driven finished goods industry into a strategic export industry for Norway.
- Establish a national design, brand and export programme.
- Stimulate increased industrial production in Norway, including through increased productivity, investment aid and by linking the design and brand-driven finished goods industry and the raw materials industry.
- Make more active use of purchasing politics.
- Contribute to connecting companies and young designers at an early stage.
SMI is a network established in 2016, comprising designers, manufacturers, organisations and educational institutions who work together to promote Norwegian furniture and interior design, both nationally and internationally.
The goal of SMI is to promote Norwegian furniture and interior, both in Norway and abroad. SMI aims to create more brand producers with high growth potential in Norway, increase total value creation and put Norwegian designers and brand producers on the map through the export of sustainable design.