Milano Design Week

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Join by Norwegian Presence

Norway celebrates social collaboration and sustainability at Milan Design Week 2019.

JOIN by Norwegian Presence

The sculpture “Varde” by the Norwegian designer Tron Meyer sums up the spirit of the exhibition “Join by Norwegian Presence”, which opens to the public today (9th-14th April) at 35 Via Savona, Zona Tortona, as part of Milan Design Week.

The work uses different stones, each one unique, piling these up to form a tower (of a type that in Norway represents a traditional marker used for orientation on mountain tops). It is a metaphorical expression of the meeting of institutions, designers and disciplines, and the opportunity this represents for dialogue on sustainability and what can be done to promote it. As Alessandro D’Orazio, who curated the exhibition alongside Jannicke Kråkvik, explains: “The word ‘join’ was chosen as the title of the exhibition to underline how an object can be the results of a variety of materials or components, or how a product can unite different skills – and therefore different people – to bring about an effective and sustainable result.”

“Join” is the product of collaboration between three different organisations: Design and Architecture Norway (DOGA), a consortium active in the promotion of innovation and change in the design and architecture sectors; Klubben, an association managed by and for Norwegian designers; and Norwegian Crafts, which focuses on increasing international awareness of Norwegian artisans.

Varde sculpture
The “Varde” sculpture made by Norwegian designer Tron Meyer in “Join by Norwegian Presence” exhibition in via Savona 35, Tortona district, Milan. Photo Henrik Blomqvist

“Join” brings together 21 Norwegian artists and designers, with their creations and prototypes, and seven companies and their products, united by a common belief in the importance of sustainability and environmental impact.

“Join” unites art and design, seeking to go beyond pre-established boundaries. The goal is to explore how designers and artists use their own creative work to tackle and solve technical challenges and problems relating to form and materials that crop up during the manufacturing process.

As D’Orazio explains: “We were interested in investigating a process that has become increasingly widespread in recent years. This has led to designers embracing self-production and artists beginning to show interest in a broadly industrial market. This is fascinating and something we wanted to highlight. In our view, it represents a generational change, but it is also the result of a different way of working, one imposed by increasingly urgent social and environmental emergencies. In this context, the key word is sustainability; this means that designers and companies should focus not only on an object’s appearance, but also on its durability, the product life cycle and methods of production.”

JOIN by Norwegian Presence
“Join by Norwegian Presence” exhibition in via Savona 35, Tortona district, Milan. Photo Henrik Blomqvist

The exhibition itself, laid out in a garage (a choice that also expresses the desire to share different spaces and activities), was created with sustainable materials, using modules that can later be disassembled and reused. The layout design, created by the designers Kristine Bjaadal and Hallgeir Homstvedt, includes three exhibition areas, indicated by different colour choices, which play with the circle in the structure of the spaces.

The shape is a further expression of how “Join” aims to unite the idea of sustainability with those of participation, collaboration and sharing, producing design that aims at a broad and engaging concept of social sustainability. 

Join by Norwegian Presence
Curated by:
Alessandro D’Orazio, Jannicke Kråkvik
Set design:
Kristine Bjaadal e Hallgeir Homstvedt
via Savona 35, Zona Tortona, Milan
Opening dates:
9th-14th April 2019

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