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24th January 2017

Norway in Milan: Everything is Connected curator Katrin Greiling reveals her exhibition line-up

Last year, the Norwegian design show Structure was one of the sleeper hits of the Milan Salone, earning a place on Dezeen’s ‘unmissable exhibitions’ hotlist and turning heads across the design world. Now, the team that made it happen is hoping to pull it off all over again. 

As, of course, are we – the Zetteler team is very excited to be back in Milan with the Norwegian team for another year, helping to support a show that promises to be more inventive and ambitious than ever before.
At Ventura Lambrate on 4–9 April, Everything is Connected will bring together 24 designers, studios and craftspeople to explore not only the products and prototypes they create, but also the relationships, connections and collaborations that enable them to do so. The result will effectively be a living ‘map’ of Norwegian creativity and production infrastructure, as presented by a hugely varied selection of prototypes  in  furniture, lighting, homewares, textiles and sculpture. 

The show is the result of a four-way collaboration between Norwegian designers’ union Klubben, DOGA (the Norwegian Centre for Design and Architecture), campaigning craft organisation Norwegian Crafts and the paint manufacturer Jotun – the quartet behind 2016’s Structure
This year’s curator, award-winning designer, interior architect and photographer Katrin Greiling of Berlin-based Studio Greiling, has just announced a wide-ranging selection of makers – including returning Structure exhibitors, a few of our favourite names from LDF’s 100% Norway shows, and a selection of emerging talents. The line-up features:
 
• Andrea Muribø • Andreas Bergsaker • Anette Krogstad • Ann Kristin Einarsen 
• Barmen & Brekke • Bjørn van den Berg
• Gilles & Cecilie • Falke Svatun • Homstvedt & Klock
• Jenkins & Uhnger • Jonas Stokke
• Kaja Dahl • Kari Mølstad • Kiyoshi Yamamoto
• Live Berg Olsen • Marianne Andersen • Martin Høgh Olsen • Martin Solem • Moa Håkansson
• Noidoi • Sara Polmar • Silje Nesdal • Stine Aas & Cecilia Zhang
• Vera & Kyte
We grilled Katrin on her hopes for Everything is Connected, her view on Norwegian design and craft today and how she proposes to top the triumph of Structure

Last year’s Structure exhibition was a stand-out Salone show for many visitors – how do you plan to build on its success?
The design scene in Norway is growing and gaining in self-confidence, stepping out of the shadow of its neighbouring countries. Thanks to the engagement of both Norwegian and international players, young designers in Norway are nurtured and given great opportunities to show their work to an audience beyond national borders. With exemplary shows in the past, the quality of work is steadily increasing. This year’s exhibition in Milan once again represents the ongoing hard work of 24 carefully selected craftspeople and designers, showing a high level of skill in a diverse selection of materials. I’m grateful to work with such an experienced team – Klubben, Norwegian Crafts, DOGA and Jotun – in collaboration with our graphic designers Bielke & Yang and the interior designers Kråkvik & D’Orazio, who are ensuring the exhibition will be an amazing and special experience.
You’ve curated exhibitions championing Nordic design in Tokyo and Berlin already – what makes the Norwegian design scene distinctive?
After 15 years abroad, studying and working in Sweden and the UAE, and now being based in Berlin I better understand the reasons behind the strength of Nordic design. The educational system plays a major part – studying first at one of the many craft schools in the country before entering the university level. It’s not mandatory but it is common to learn a craft such as carpentry, pottery, glass blowing or weaving as the basis for further studies. I strongly believe that this is part of the great strength of design in Northern Europe.

Norway has maintained an especially strong tradition. The line between craft and design is fluid due to the skills of the creators. I believe that, in time, with growing awareness about our impact as consumers on the environment, there will be increasing demand for goods produced in renewable materials. And that’s exactly the strength of Norwegian design: skill at hand making – shaping products that not only have a function but also an aesthetic appeal and material application that satisfies our conscience.
This year’s exhibition centres on the idea that ‘Everything is Connected’ – how will you be incorporating this concept into the show?
In a subtle way the exhibition design reflects on the theme, using mirrors connecting the showcased works with each other. Looking at one piece, you’ll always see other parts of the exhibition too, including the visitors. 

A catalogue including the works of the 24 exhibitors will highlight the major infrastructure behind Norway’s craft and design industry. A map of Norway will explain the important production regions, such as the areas known for wood, wool and glass, as well as looking at the urban concentration of studios, both in Norway and abroad.
What influenced your selection of designers for 2017?
The works being shown are all new, not in production and original in design. We’ve selected an equal proportion of examples from both the craft and design scene. Some works refer to each other without consciously recognising it, and we have a vast selection of materials being represented, ranging from metal, wood and glass, to porcelain and fabrics. 

What reaction do you hope this year’s exhibition elicits from visitors? What ideas do you want to convey? 
Norway is such a good example of how to nurture the design and craft industries, acknowledging their impact on the national image. I want to highlight the importance of dialogue between craftspeople, designers and industry and explore how this conversation could be fed. Skills should be embraced and carried on, translated into a contemporary language. My hopes are that visitors can understand design within its context, reflecting on the importance of the choices they make as consumers.
Can you give us a preview of any of the highlights of the exhibition? What are you really excited about showing the world?
I’m very excited about a few collaborations of designers, for example, the work of Stine Aas and Cecilia Zhang. I’ve visited their studio in Bergen in November where they shared some of the images of their process so far and I’m very much looking forward to showing their work. Another example is Bjørn van den Berg, who’s experimenting with wall-hung cabinets reminiscent of the work of Donald Judd, realised in galvanised steel. 

Everything is Connected will be showing at 6 Via Ventura, Ventura Lambrate, Milan on 4–9 April 2017.
Contact:

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