BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE
A new niche of independent designers and small design studios has developed in the Nordics working in the intersection between design, art, and craft. It is a niche experiencing a growing market internationally. However, the designers face difficulties tapping into this market due to the lack of resources for PR, marketing and sales activities.
Based on this acknowledgment a network of leading curators from each of the Nordic design scenes decided in 2018 to produce and present the project “Now Nordic - An investigation of the Nordic contemporary design and craft culture in collaboration with Adorno International Design Collaboration”.
The overall purpose of the project was to connect and promote a selection of leading Nordic designers working within collectible design and craft along with contributing to the ongoing debate and interest about the Nordic design and crafts culture by highlighting the niche, less known on the international scene.
The project Now Nordic - An investigation of the Nordic contemporary design and craft culture consists of the following three components:
- A physical exhibition presenting five Nordic design collections from each of the five scenes.
- A digital exhibition of a larger collection of works from the five scenes, including photos, texts, and short-films about the pieces presented, the designers behind and about the five scenes in general. The exhibition is still open on this site.
- Finally, a design talk with leading design thinkers and critiques; one from each of the five scenes debating the differences and similarities of the Nordic design and craft culture in a globalized and digitalized world.
The exhibition project was first presented at Chart Art Fair in Copenhagen (Aug 31st to Sep. 2nd), later at London Design Fair (Sep 19th to 23rd) during the London Design Festival. The final presentation of Now Nordic will be at Reykjavik Art Museum from March 26th to May 26th, 2019.
The project has been received very well by design critics and enjoyed broad media coverage both in Copenhagen and in London. Links to a selection of the articles published about Now Nordic can be found here.
Due to the success of the project, a second edition of Now Nordic will be presented in 2019.
STRATEGY FOR 2019
On January 21st, 2019 the Nordic curator network and Adorno met in Copenhagen to plan the activities for 2019. Here two exhibition projects where discussed and planned; one during the London Design Festival in partnership with London Design Fair 19. - 22. September, and a second in New York City in 14. - 21. November in partnership with SightUnseen.
The purpose of the exhibitions is to present and promote the works of leading independent designers and small design studios working at the intersection of design, art & craft, from the urban design scenes of Reykjavik, Oslo, Stockholm, Helsinki and Copenhagen and the design scenes they are part at two exhibitions in 2019.
In London, the five Nordic collections will be presented in the same exhibition landscape as design and craft collections from the urban design scenes of Mexico City, Sao Paulo, Beirut, Dubai, Istanbul, Madrid, Milan, London, Brussels, Amsterdam, Berlin, Lisbon and Paris at London Design Fair. In New York City the Nordic collections will be presented with design collections from New York City, Chicago, and Los Angeles.
Both exhibitions will, therefore, have a strong cross-cultural focus where the Nordic design scene and culture are compared and debated with the cultures of the other urban design scenes. The second purpose of the exhibitions is therefore to create a cross-cultural design dialogue and understanding between central cultural hubs of the world - a dialogue and understanding that departs in design, but that evolves and broaden to other societal issues.
Thus, cultural co-existence and international collaboration is a key element throughout the exhibitions and in their communication. These shared ideas and values are increasingly under pressure all over the world. The purpose of this exhibition is to underline the strengths and possibilities of the very same ideas and values.
The two exhibitions of Now Nordic Edition II
consist of two components.
Component 1: Design collections from each urban design scene
As the centerpiece of the exhibitions, design collections with the best pieces from each design scene will be presented, curated by local experts. Following the narrative of the curatorial approach, each piece is treated as a sample of the present urban design culture of the design scene it is from. Altogether, each design collection will, therefore, constitute a representation of each of the urban design cultures presented.
The exhibitions are, therefore, also an investigation of the relationship between the individual artist and the urban design scene and culture. How does this relationship unfold? It might differ from artist to artist, from urban design culture to urban design culture, and, it is also likely that we can find specific patterns that exist in more scenes. The goal of the exhibition is therefore also to contribute to the debate on how individuals are affected by the local environment and culture they live, and how different environments influence how social interaction and collaboration unfold.
Component 2: A podcast series with an episode of each design scene
To get an in-depth understanding of what it means to be working in each of these widely different, yet all vibrant, design scenes, a podcast series will be presented as part of the exhibitions. The podcasts series will be accessible to the audience of the exhibitions while viewing the collections allowing the visitors to connect with the stories behind the objects.
The series will consist of interviews with the designers and curators with one episode per design scene. In each episode will include two designers and the curator of the collections focusing on their work, the design scene they are part of, and how their work is influenced by the design scenes. Each episode will be 20-25 minutes of edited interviews with a moderator.
In addition to hearing the podcast at the exhibition, design enthusiasts from all over the world will be able to hear the podcast on major international platforms where they are archived, including; Spotify, iTunes, iHeartRadio, GooglePlay, and Soundcloud, while viewing each of the design collections online on a special section on www.adorno.design, and the five Nordic collections will at the same time be presented on this site www.nownordic.com.
Curators and Partners of Now Nordic
Denmark – Pil Bredahl
Curator of Adorno’s existing Copenhagen collection, Pil Bredahl is a designer and curator with interests in experimentation design, sustainability, and social responsibility. She is a co-founder of the design group FairTradeDesigners.com, a board member of Design Denmark since 2011; a representative at Designmuseum Danmark and a jury member for the Danish Design Award.
Finland – Sebastian Jansson
Finnish industrial designer Sebastian Jansson is based in Helsinki, where he and his studio direct and develops design of everyday objects for a variety of international clients, including the collaboration-driven design brand Made By Choice, which Jansson co-founded in 2016. His work has been exhibited worldwide and earned him a number of awards.
Iceland – Hlín Helga Guðlaugsdóttir
Hlin Helga is an independent curator, designer and design-thinking consultant who has spent a decade involved in education and research at universities around the world. Her work focuses on facilitating, initiating and leading dialogues and interdisciplinary collaborations for meaningful innovation through design. She is a fellow of the digital futures think-tank W.I.R.E.
Iceland - María Kristín Jónsdóttir
María Kristín Jónsdóttir is the Editor-in-chief of HA – a magazine on Icelandic design and architecture that provides a forum for critical discussion on the cultural landscape. Also, a curator, creative director, and designer, María Kristín’s work has been exhibited around Europe.
Sweden – Paola Bjaringer
Born in Stockholm and raised in Paris, Paola Bjaringer is a graduate of the London School of Economics, Bjäringer specializes in consulting, sourcing and producing design-art collectibles for private clients and commercial spaces. She opened one of the first galleries in Paris in 2010 focusing only on contemporary collectible design, exhibiting young newcomers alongside well-established designers. With functional art as a primary focus, Paola collaborates with a wide range of professionals within the burgeoning field of sensorial design, such as food and sound designers. She believes in the central role of designers as active forces for social change. This philosophy guides much of her work.
Norway – Kråkvik & D'Orazio
Founded by stylists and set designers Alessandro D'Orazio and Jannicke Kråkvik, Kråkvik & D’Orazio is an Oslo-based creative studio working on interior styling, design, and exhibitions with clients worldwide. They also run the Oslo interior store Kollekted By, where they showcase furniture and homeware design from Norway and beyond.
Initiated by Adorno International Design Collaboration
Inspired by co-operatives within agriculture and fishing within Denmark and the other Nordic countries, where individuals prosper through cooperation, Adorno has set out to build an international collaboration that empowers independent designers and the urban communities that they are part of.
As in traditional co-operatives, a shared infrastructure has been built from which the collaboration evolves. In its essence, the infrastructure of Adorno includes a digital platform, an international legal set up, and a global cost-efficient shipping solution that enables autonomous collaboration between curators and designers from urban regional design communities to promote, and to sell their work to a growing segment of international buyers. The goal of establishing a locally rooted international design collaboration has, from the beginning, been received very well. As a consequence, since February 2017 Adorno has partnered with leading curators and designers from the urban design communities of Sao Paulo, Istanbul, Amsterdam, Brussels, Milan, Mexico City, Barcelona, Berlin, Madrid, Beirut, London, Oslo, Stockholm, Reykjavik, Helsinki & Copenhagen
The fact that the collaboration enables a free dialogue between the design communities of the world is something unique. This is not only realized through the gallery section but also Adorno editorial, which both serves as a platform for dialogue between the design cultures of the world. Thus, the collaboration facilitates a multi-directional communication about design as opposed to a western dominated one-way communication about design to use the words of the Brazilian design journalist and curator Adelia Borges: https://vimeo.com/234219386
Supporters & Collaborators