”The Nordic design scene will take the lead in the future as well”
We ask Ove Rogne, CEO and designer of Northern, to look back, as well as predict the future, as the Norwegian design company celebrates their first 15 years with the launch of anniversary book Take another look.
By JOHAN MAGNUSSON
November 09, 2020
The book not only reflects on the things we have around us but also encourages us all to take another look at the things that are really important to us but we may often forget about or simply take for granted.
— This includes elements like the people around us, who we treasure and surround ourselves with, our city, and the places we visit or dwell in inside it, says Rogne. Interesting cultural elements, tendencies, and ideas surrounding us. And objects and images. We focus on some of our team members, people who inspire us, and explore the city of Oslo, where we are situated. And, celebrating our 15th anniversary, we wanted to focus on some of our beloved objects in our collection, redefine some of them and renew them and present them in new ways, as well as indulge in some great new images and scenes, that, if you ask me, are definitely worth taking another look at.
How has the industry changed during these 15 years?
— It’s turned more global. Style preferences and tendencies are more harmonious across geographical and age divisions. Nordic design has had a tremendous boom all across the world. Elements like new production techniques and materials applications have changed how we live and dwell and which items we use inside these spaces. Solid materials are back, hopefully to stay, combined with a re-boost in respect and interest for handcraft and the stories behind the objects, the brands, and the designers. Another interesting element is how styles blend between the personal sphere of a home and that of a public setting, like hotels, cafes, or offices; we tend towards more of a ”homey” and warm atmosphere also outside the house. As well as an opposite trait making our homes more into the styles of modern hotel looking spaces or architectural clean modern ones similar to what modern public spaces. Sustainability has become a key element in both personal, public, and commercial decision making when purchasing furniture and other design elements, which was about time and hopefully not too late to change the course of our mother earth. And there is a growing anti-mass consumption movement, and an increasing willingness, it seems, to spend more for good quality and a shift in mentality towards keeping things longer and reuse and cherish historical objects. And finally, we seem to have many different and conflicting design styles and tendencies occurring in a parallel at the same time; making your space personal and unique beats following the trend of the season, and standing out beats blending in.
How has the pandemic changed all of this?
— In the short term, it has affected designers and brands in our industry a lot and has halted the development and launches of new ideas and designs into the market, says Rogne. I was nervous at the beginning, and sometimes I still have my worries. But, on the bright side, this terrible situation brings focus back to some things that matter; our local community, our homes, family and friends, and appreciation of all that is and was good in life. I think we will see an increase in online sales, as well as a lot of people spending time at home redecorating their homes. And, since we can expect homes to be offices for quite some time ahead, an increase in sales of home office equipment.
And what kind of industry will we see when you celebrate 15 more years, in 2035?
— Wow, that is a big question to answer and if I knew the answer I would have to ask my bank for a bigger bank account. My basis prediction is that sustainability will prevail and together with an uptick in a trend towards handcraft and more local production will drive up prices and quality. We will have strong global brands and strong local and regional actors playing the field together. We will have consolidation in the industry and will sadly probably see some great historic local producers give in unless the consumers and architects stand up to save them by using their purchasing power. I really hope the latter will happen, since diversity is key to our industry and societies, and because furniture and design is culture, and we should all embrace and protect it well, says Rogne, continuing,
— Style-wise, I think we will see even more diversity in the years to come, and we should maybe not expect to identify a new commonly named and easily definable design wave or style like we have seen from period to period historically since things will diverge more than in the past. I also think we will see a lot of interesting designs spanning from all across the world, great diversity in objects, and new applications of technology and designs combined. And, finally, I truly hope the Nordic design scene will take the lead in the future as well, and inspire and develop as we move along and deliver the best sustainable options of cherishable objects for generations to come.
The book is available for download, as well as in a physical format, through northern.no.