Topic: Identity

Our surroundings say a lot about who we are. But how, and why is it important? Identity is the topic of this spring’s Oslo Design Fair.

Where and how we live says a lot about our identity. The same goes for our dialect, our attitudes and opinions, how we dress and the profession we choose. Everyone is different, each with our own unique core. At the same time we are influenced by our surroundings: Our family, friends and colleagues all have an impact on who we are.

As children we absorb the values that are communicated at home and in school, as grown-ups we make choices based on what we have learned. Architect and furniture designer Eero Saarinen knew that he was going to follow in his architect father’s footsteps. Others are drawn to the unknown, they move to new cities and countries, adjust to different languages and cultural codes. The geography, culture and politics that dominate the country we’re from also provide a general identity faced with people from other parts of the world.

Identity is key when it comes to branding and marketing. If you run a business or a company it is important to create an easily recognisable profile for your customers. The same goes for Norway, a country that has been peeking across the boarders for years, feeling slightly inferior faced with Sweden’s successful pop history and Denmark’s strong design legacy.

Lately the nation has embraced its peculiarities, and the gaze is turned: Norwegian pop music hits the charts in America, and Norwegian clothing brands such as Norwegian Rain and Tom Wood are big in Japan. Newly established companies such as Eikund bring Norwegian furniture design into the spotlight, making sure that forgotten treasures from the archives are made available both at home and abroad.

Over the last few years design and interiors have been a celebration of the unique and personal through craft products, art and colour palettes inspired by all corners of the world – a tendency that still holds up in the times ahead. The colour palette for 2018 is anchored in softness, where dusty tones complement each other in harmonic wholes. At the same time there is plenty of room for fun and games, with contrasts in bright nuances and exciting patterns.

Natural and durable materials and qualities represent safety in a world dominated by political uncertainty. The past is a continuous source of inspiration, where impulses from previous decades are combined with cutting-edge design in a new, yet familiar, whole. The green wave that washes over society appears in interiors trough green plants, botanical prints and new, sustainable materials. Nature’s tactile universe is also echoed in a rich array of textures, where velvet, wood, eroding metals and high-tech are mixed and matched, creating new, unexpected results.

At the core of it all is a desire to tell stories and create atmospheres. New technology gives us access to a world of possibilities and inspirations, that we gather and use to express our identity – whether it’s about who we are, or who we want to be.


Styling Kirsten Visdal  Photo Trine Hisdal / Oslo Design Fair

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