The exhibition at the embassy was part of the annual Stockholm design and furniture fair. It showed the best of Norwegian design today and provided an excellent opportunity to promote and facilitate collaboration in the Norwegian design and furniture industry.
Interest in Norwegian design
According to Jan-Christian Vestre, CEO of Vestre street furniture and head of Samarbeidsrådet for design og interiør (SMI), interest in the exhibition exceeded all expectations.
“This shows that there is considerable interest in Norwegian design and interior design abroad and gives us plenty of motivation and reason to organise comparable events in the future. We see opportunities to develop similar collaborative events again in Stockholm, as well as in Milan and New York. And it’s just fantastic to see so many people visiting the embassy, considering the fact that there were many other events taking place at Stockholm at the same time,” he explains.
Vestre and Torbjørn Anderssen from Anderssen &Voll could be seen together on TV 2 God Morgen Norge on Wednesday 8 February, where they talked about the exhibition and were living proof of the increased interest in Norwegian design abroad.
Embassy as exhibition venue
The Norwegian Ambassador in Stockholm, Kai Eide, believes it is important for Norwegian manufacturers, designers and arts & crafts specialists to make their presence known internationally and the choice of the embassy as the setting for design and interior design has also made headlines in the past.
“We consider it an important responsibility to create opportunities for Norwegian creative professionals in the international arena. When we had a major presentation of Norwegian fashion during Stockholm Fashion Week last year, the embassy was coined ‘the coolest location’,” says Norwegian Ambassador Kai Eide in Stockholm.
“Interest increases in response to more joint efforts. Our Swedish counterparts are then more inclined to come see what the fuss is about.”
One of the participants in the Norwegian exhibition was furniture designer Hallgeir Homstvedt, who exhibited a sofa and chairs for manufacturer LK Hjelle and supports the newly established Samarbeidsrådet for design og interiør (SMI). Homstvedt believes that collaboration in the field of design will strengthen opportunities for international exposure.
It is important that Norwegian interests join forces and the newly established SMI is a useful tool towards achieving that. It provides designers, manufacturers and other creative specialists the possibility to brainstorm and jointly promote their disciplines. I have personally experienced how difficult it can be in such narrow professions to get the opportunity to showcase your talent in a way that can facilitate a breakthrough. But I’ve also seen that interest increases in response to more joint efforts. Our Swedish counterparts are then more inclined to come see what the fuss is about,” he explains.
Attracting attention in Sweden
The Norwegian exhibition was discussed extensively in Swedish media, including in Sweden’s leading architecture and design podcast ‘Summit’, which devoted an entire programme to the furniture fair and Norwegian exhibition. Listen to it here.