Each year the exhibition “100% Norway” shows the world what Norwegian design is with showcase works of both established and up-and-coming designers, and feature a number of the country’s leading manufacturers. 100% Norway has in the last 7 years been the Norwegian storefront for the releases of fresh design talents in furniture, lamps, pottery, glassware, wallpaper and textiles during the London Design Festival.
StokkeAustad was one of the most promising paticipant of this year's 100% Norway. As a young and dynamic design office which consists of industrial designers and business developers, StokkeAustad combines different expertises working with all aspects of a project, from product design to marketing and sales strategy in various channels. The company's partner Øystein Austad talked to the Nordic Page on the success story of StokkeAustad and the future of Norwegian Design Industry.
The story of the company started when Jonas Ravlo Stokke and Øystein Austad started in the same class at the Oslo School of Architecture and Design. Jonas had then completed a bachelor in Product design at Brunel University, and Øystein had had a gap year working with Norway Says as an intern. The two young designers quickly found a common interest i what design could- and should be, and started a collaboration. Their first project was a test to see how the collaboration could work. It was an exhibition at the Salone Satellite in Milan in 2005. The project gave great ressonance both to the press and the designers, and so they realized they should continue. After graduating in 2007 StokkeAustad was established professionally in a shared studio in Oslo. Since then, StokkeAustad has moved to a different location and has appeared in 14 international exhibitions, and worked with different clients, both in Norway and abroad.
Perseverance and Belief in Change
Austad explains the secret of their success in such a short time as strong belief that they could make a difference in the design field. He also suggests that their close interest for the field combined with this belief and relentless perseverance has been key to getting up them where they are today.
Design brings the world forward
Additionally, he answers the question of what inspires them in their designs by listing daily life, nature, movies, art, graphical design, architecture, discussions with colleagues, evaluate specific needs, design briefs, manufacturing process, materials and a belief to do better products.
-“Inspiration is natural and complex. We have a mantra that we always try to seek out the essence of what a project is about. in our view design can take many forms and can be applied to many different areas. From the purely formal and conceptual to the very concrete and functional. In a sense you can say that design is a problem solving activety, but beyond this we strongly believe design is about creating value and thus ultimately bringing the world forward.”
Austad believes they can get into how this value creation will be translated into each project by seeking out the essence of each project. For instance it can be about preserving a traditional craftsmanship, or it can be maximising efficiency of a production method. He asserts that their skills as designers can be applied to a number of different formats, and this is also something they would like to do, working on different types of projects form time to time, with or without a client, for a gallery, exhibitions, interiors, furniture, interior objects or even consumer electronics.
International furniture fairs are important platform to establish new contacts whit the industry and getting involved whit new customers. They can get in contact whit StokkeAustad is a good start:)
About Stokke Austad
You have designed everything from the table by Nora utebenker and exhibitions of glass, armchairs, calendar and now the kitchen utensils. Is it not tempting to specialize in a genre?
– We are generalists, not specialists and this is a conscious choice we made. Design can be used in so many areas, and all projects have something exciting in itself. For ourselves, personally, it is also healthy and exciting to switch between projects in different genres and content. It is very stimulating.
Their customers are spading from Scandinavian manufactures (Norwegian, Swedish and Danish) to Europeans. Austad says they have always worked internationally and feel that they are a part of the international design scene. The company have also done many project with the Norwegian embassies in Europe such as in London, Tokyo and Prague. The company is divide into two main parts. One part is working with manufactures and working on design briefs (this often mean royalty based projects) and the other part provides consultancy service (hour based work).
They define their works as chase function, cost-efficiency, sustainable aesthetics and environmentally sound projects.
The brand new 115 degrees kitchenware range is a series of wood, plastic and metal kitchen utensils, designed by the 100% Norway stand designers Stokke Austad The designers are bringing these new prototypes from their Oslo studios to London where the range will make its debut on the international design scene.
Awards and prizes:
2010 Designblok Editors Award
2010 Wallpaper Design Award 2010
2009 Designer of the year, Bo Bedre
2008 Top 40 under 40, I.D. Magazine
2007 Nominated, Best practice under 35, Norsk Form
2005 Top ten Norwegian Designers, Design Interiør
2005 EDIDA, Design Newcomer of the year from Norway
2005 INDEX:2005 top nominated