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StokkeAustad: An Exemplary Success Story for the Norwegian Design Sector

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 is one of the most
promising participants of this year’s 100% Norway. As a young and dynamic
design office which consists of industrial designers and business developers,
StokkeAustad combines different expertise 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 their company and the future of Norwegian Design Industry.

Crossing ways at
School

The story of the company started when Jonas Ravlo Stokke and
Øystein Austad ended up in the same class at the Oslo School of Architecture
and De sign. Jonas had then completed a bachelor’s degree in Product Design at
Brunel University and Øystein had taken a gap year working with Norway Says as
an intern. The two young designers quickly found a common interest in what
design could and should be, and started 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 resonance 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 has worked with different
clients, both in Norway and abroad. 
Perseverance and Belief in Change Austad explains the secret to their
rapid success is having the 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 have been key to their
success and getting them up where they are today.  Design Brings the World Forward

Additionally, he answers the question of what in spires 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 create better
products.  ”Inspiration is natural and
complex. We have a man tra 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 purely formal
and conceptual to very concrete and functional

In a sense, you can say that design is a problem solving
activity, but beyond this we strongly believe design is about creating value
and thus ultimately bringing the world forward,” says he.

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 maximizing efficiency of a production method. He asserts that
their skills as designers can be applied to a number of different formats.
Something they would also like to do, for instance, is working on different
types of projects from time to time, with or without a client, for galleries,
exhibitions, interiors, furniture, interior objects or even consumer electronics.  Austad concluded his remarks suggesting the
new designers and the prospective players of the industry by telling them to
contact StokkeAustad would be a good start and suggesting that international
furniture fairs are important platforms for establishing new contacts with the
industry and getting involved with new customers.

About StokkeAustad

StokkeAustad’s design portfolio includes diverse products
from table, glass, armchairs, calendars to kitchen utensils. The company is
divided into two main parts. One part is working with manufactures and working
on design briefs (this often means royalty based projects) and the other part
provides consultancy services (hour based work).

Their customer base ranges from Scandinavian manufactures
(Norwegian, Swedish and Danish) to Europeans. The company has also done many
projects with the Norwegian embassies in all over the world such as in London,
Tokyo and Prague.

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 In teriør 2005 EDIDA, Design Newcomer of the year
from Norway 2005 INDEX: 2005 top nominated

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