Vika, Oslo. October 7th , 2014:
The exhibition “Verdi”, meaning value in Norwegian, is currently on display at Norway Designs. A shop selling Norwegian crafted items and Scandinavian designed objects since 1957. Tuesday, the venue had a panel discussion on how Norway will recognize Norwegian crafts and design?
StokkeAustads Jonas Ravlo Stokke, was one of the designers in the panel. – The Norwegian press is very consumer oriented, he argues.
Stokke thinks only writing about trends and colours lessens the importance of good design.
– The consumer-oriented perspective lacks the importance of designer process. It overlooks the value that the designer adds to a project or an organization.
– When design is treated as trend driven, the true nature of design is hidden, and it undermines the industry. It is also problematic for the consumer as it is not their needs that are in focus, but rather what is considered current news.
Designer-communication and reflection
– A thing about us journalist´s is that we evaluate and analyse what makes up well-designed objects or an interesting design process, said Marianne Lie Berg, during the discussion.
She says that designers could improve their communication with clear points to the importance of their product. The design then becomes more comprehensive for the public.
– It shouldn't be that hard. A designer should have a clear idea of why their design is made, and put into this world.
Focus on production
The debate also concerned the constant challenges with production, for Norwegian manufacturers.
Erling Digernes is representing Røros Tweed, who produces in Norway.
– We need better means to keep production in Norway. The value, which is created from the manufacturing in Norway, seems somewhat overlooked, he said.
Summing it all up
Audience member and designer Andreas Engesvik, emphasized that young designers and collectives like Klubben need to continue their work. Making more objects, and exhibitions like “Verdi”.
– Young designers will strengthen the Norwegian design-scene. Not the industry, he said at the end of the discussion.
With subjects that range between funding, education, tax-laws and production-politics, the event shed light on important themes, but is difficult to sum up. There is need for these discussions and debates; and we are eager for more.