World of Design Open for Everyone through Designers Saturday

Photo : Maxim/TNP. Designers Saturday is the only national exhibition event in Norway, dedicated to furniture, textiles, lighting, flooring and other interior and design related products aimed at both industry professionals and the wider design public.

Designers
Saturday, a national event involving producers of all kind of design
articles including furniture, material articles like carpet,
lightning, wallpaper, textiles and other interior and design related
products aimed towards both industry professionals and the wider
design aware public. The Nordic Page-Norway had opportunity to meet
Loni Barsten, the head of the board of this unique arrangement and
ask some questions about the event and its purpose.

History
of the
event

The
Designers Saturday idea was dreamt up by enthusiastic industry
insiders who brought the concept over from New York in 1986. Since
then, Designers Saturday has been arranged every other year.
According to Barsten, the first festival was organized in New York
and started as a kind of movement in the US (meanwhile simulaneously
Designers Saturday also took place in Langenthal in 1987,
Switzerland) and in Norway it was started in 1987.

So
Norwegian organizers just imported the event from these two
countries. The main purpose for this event was trying to get people
into the showrooms because normally such places are closed for
“regular” people, it was only for people from the business,
so they wanted to make it available, and this is how it started.

– For
Norway, the event is more or less for the people out of the business
because we have our own sphere here and wanted to open the doors for
others, says Barsten.

Designers
Saturday aims to be an arena for the next generation of designers to
display their prototypes and products. This gives the visitors a
unique opportunity to see the great designers of the future at an
early stage of their career.

– This
time we had 185 producers exhibiting their products. And we had 13
bus stops where people can go and see more designer items. So it
became a very big occasion for the industry in Norway!” – notes
Barsten.

Designers
Saturday – the biggest event for interior industry

She says
that it is not only about opening the doors. There are always
something going on at the stops. Someone has a release party, or
similar event, they have also presentations where designers are
coming. Everybody tries to be creative to attract the people from
outside, and they are doing really different installations.

Exhibitors
take an opportunistic approach, using spaces such as garages and
lifts to show off their goods. What they all have in common is a
commitment to beautiful and useful designs, high-end finishing and
superior quality. A lot of representatives from all over the world
participating in the event among which they always have international
designers and architectors, and of course there is plenty of national
designers attending the event.

A number
of the participating exhibitors are usually only available to
industry insiders, professional buyers, and interior designers. Those
companies who have permanent showrooms along the bus route use every
square inch to present the latest, most cutting edge and exciting
news and invite those who don’t have a permanent space to share it
with them.

– What we
expect from producers and participants of the Designers Saturday is
to show the best they have, and invest money in the event to ensure
their efforts and commitment to the festival, – emphasizes Barsten.

«For us
the most important is to spread the news within the interior
business, what are the trends, and to show the possibilites what the
customers have, express the diversity of products and styles for
every target group. And the most important thing is to show visitors
how good the products and producers are.»

A
unique opportunity to experience the design art.

Designers
Saturday is not an ordinary exhibition or trade fair; instead, a
large design festival taking place in 17 locations all around the
Norwegian capital. Visitors are transported by coaches on fixed
routes between 13 stops and they can jump on and off the bus as they
wish.

– We are
trying to keep our bus route short in order to involve people to
travel around. So one of our conditions is that showroom has to
invite at least three producers or representatives, in order to make
it more inclusive. For example, in my showroom I had some designers
and magazine stands, – says Barsten.

Also she
notes that they implemented an App for visitors to find all
information directly from the smartphones they have. «This event is
a unique for Norway, and even for Scandinavia. There are a lot of
visitors especially from Sweden, who really shocked of how the
organizers manage to make the event such big and interesting.
Participants from the whole Norway are involved, from Trømso till
Bergen and Stavanger. This is event for Norway not for Oslo only».

Loni
Barsten, the head of the board of Design Saturday

Improvements
every year

This year
the route is smaller but more intense and complex so that everyone
can easily walk around the participants’ places. Previously visitors
was just stuck in some places, but in this time the organizers have
observed circulation of public. “I can definitely say that the
flow around the stops has been better which assured our efforts and
expectations. We have also added The Oslo School of Architecture and
Design this year which I can say is one of the most important
differences in this year. We thought it would be great to invest in
younger generation and give them a chance to show their works also
since they are our future. And in my opinion it was very successful
step. Every time were are trying to change something, involving new
producers and designers, especially the younger ones,” – adds
Barsten.

Designers
Saturday Awards

The board
of Designers Saturday Oslo and the Norwegian Organisation of Interior
Architects and Furniture Designers instigated Designers Saturday
Awards in 2005. The awards serve to heighten interest in interior
architecture and give students and experienced professionals alike
recognition for design excellence and quality. As in previous years,
the Designers Saturday Awards will be a part of the event. The three
categories are Best Interior, Student Project and Best Showroom. This
year Best Interior Award was gone to INNE DESIGN with Melkerampa
project. The best Student Project Award and 40.000 NOK prize has been
honored to Philipp von Hase and Trialog chair concept. The jury
decided to give DKNO agency the first place in Best Showroom category
for the design of Buss stop at Henrik Ibsensgate 90, Solliplass.

Facts from
this year:

– 13 bus
stops

– 35
Showroms

– 185
Exhibitors

– Almost
10.000 visitors

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