Exhibition Opening: Now Nordic

Exhibition Opening: Now Nordic

Five countries tell the story of Contemporary Nordic Design

Adorno International Design Collaboration presents its landmark exhibition of contemporary design from the five Nordic countries, examining the commonalities and contrasts between the modern design cultures of Norway, Finland, Sweden, Denmark and Iceland at Reykjavík Art Museum. For many people, ‘Nordic’ has become a shorthand term for unadorned simplicity, clean functionality and natural materials – but does the label hold true? 

Developed in collaboration with leading curators from each of the participating countries, Now Nordic presents collectible pieces from emerging and established designers working at the intersection of art, design and craft. Encompassing five design collections; one from each of the five Nordic design scenes, and six short films, the project aims to introduce international audiences to the variety, scope and ambition of Nordic design today – and to explore whether the characteristics that have historically defined it are still evident in our increasingly globalised creative culture.

Arranged into five grouped displays at the Hafnarhús of the Reykjavík Art Musuem, the exhibition invites visitors to explore the commonalities and differences between each collection and consider whether ‘Nordic design’ still holds meaning. And if so, how? The show is enriched by short films showing interviews with the participating designers, curators and other experts of the five local scenes. In 2018 the Now Nordic exhibition was presented at Chart Art Fair, Copenhagen in August, and at London Design Fair during London Design Festival in September.

Pil Bredahl DesignersNetter AndresenJonas EdvardGurli ElbækgaardNikolaj Steenfatt Stine Linnemann
Alexandru Mura​r

  HELSINKI  CuratorSebastian Jansson DesignersAalto+Aalto Hanna Anonen Tero KuitunenMaija Puoskari  STOCKHOLM Curator
Rebecca Ahlstedt  DesignersElsa Chartin
Fredrik Farg & Emma Maria Blanche

Lith Lith Lundin
Lotta Lampa
Sara Lundkvist.  REYKJAVÍK CuratorsHlín Helga Guðlaugsdóttir & María Kristín Jónsdóttir DesignersMagnús Ingvar Ágústsson Studio Brynjar & VeronikaGarðar EyjólfssonStudio FléttaTinna GunnarsdóttirHanna WhiteheadRagna Ragnarsdóttir 1+1+1
                                                                                   CuratorsKråkvik & D'Orazio DesignersPettersen & Hein Cosmin Cioroiu & Kathrine LønstadRuna KlockKim Thomé 



The main purpose and the main sort of story behind the Copenhagen collection is this strong individuality of the designers, but also the story about the way that they all have this sensibility towards the material, the way they work with poetry and with storytelling in the physical objects. 
- Pil Bredahl, Curator

Gurli Elbækgaard trained classically as a ceramist at the Kolding School of Design and the Arts and Crafts School in Bergen, but it was the Norwegian mountains that opened the door for her artistic impulses.  Gurli explains, ​Norway opened my creative​ ​source because nature is so markedly different than in Denmark. Mountains, springs, rocks, and woods sizzled and sparkled into my approach to the clay.


What characterizes Finnish design is very much related to function and in a sort of broader sense to pragmatism compared to many southern European cultures where poetism would be much more established...for example Tero Kuitunen, who adds on so much new with a little sense of humor but adding something very precious also... like adding fringes to mirror, it kind of brings the whole heritage so much further​ ​- Sebastian

Tero Kuitunen’s pieces were inspired by a visit to a fabric shop in Girona, Spain, where he was transfixed by the colour and tactility of the textile and began to explore the possibilities of unexpected material juxtapositions. For Kuitunen, the fringes evoke memories of fabric lampshades in his grandmother’s living room – and the irresistible urge to run your fingers through them that they provoke.


 The Swedish Design-Scene as we see it today is clearly rooted in notions of  playful, simplistic themes, very kind of careful craftsmanship, and an interest in natural materials like woods and textile, ...For the Stockholm Collection, I wanted to present a mix of personalities and materials - Rebecca Ahlstedt, Curator.

This sense of experimentation, in particular in textiles, can be felt throughout Emma Blanche and Fredrik Färgs work, which often has a tailored, yet playful touch. The stools in their series, Succession, for example, are dressed in leather and textile that has been tied with ropes and then baked, in order to create new shapes. Fredrik explains, ​In a way of inspiration I think that maybe we are more inspired by Emma and her French background that we are by Sweden I would say, and I hope that this is the opposite for her.


Is there an Icelandic material that is sort of unique for us? You know we have the wool, we have the lava, which we actually do not like ourselves, we think it’s tacky...I sometimes say I wonder when we ourselves are going to embrace many of our own sort of traditional heritage to use as inspiration in design and in production- ​Halla Helgadóttir, Managing Director, Iceland Design Centre.

Designers like Ragna Ragnarsdóttir​ ​who is working in unconventional material for an Icelandic designer, you can still see how the Icelandic landscape kind of appears in her works. - ​Guðlaugsdóttir & Jónsdóttir, Curators.

By exploring the intersection of design and making, Ragna Rangarsdóttir researched into creating a process where the production would become a part of the design itself. ​Barrier Screen is a standing foldable screen. On one side the material is layered in a very specific way to create an image and on the other side the material is poured freely that makes up an abstract landscape.


Even though the Norwegian design might be playful, you can always see the Nordic heritage in their design which I think you can see from all Nordic designs with the simplicity, and the honesty and the material, the way that they work with material, and so they will always have this Nordic culture in them. - Kråkvik & D'Orazio, Curators. 

When boundaries between design and art are effaced potential for magic occurs. Norwegian sculptor Magnus Pettersen and Danish Designer Lea Hein combine these two worlds by using colour and form to transform industrial materials such as concrete and metal. ​Lea Hein explains this unique collaboration, When Magnus and I work together we always have a plan to begin with, but then things always happen in the process because Magnus is a lot more loose and he wants to experiment, and I am a lot more in the designer’s way of thinking.

About Adorno  

Adorno was set up in 2017 by Copenhagen-based design lovers and tech entrepreneurs Kristian Snorre Andersen and Martin Clausen in order to give designers around the world a unique opportunity to present their work to the global market, and to provide design enthusiasts with a chance to discover and acquire unique and limited-edition work. By establishing a network of expert curators in key design destinations around the world, Adorno has been able to not only maintain rigorously controlled quality, but also to provide its community with a unique insight into the distinctive and evolving design cultures around the world. 

In addition to the new Now Nordic collection, 12 design communities are represented in Adorno’s galleries: Amsterdam, Barcelona, Beirut, Berlin, Brussels, Copenhagen, Istanbul, London, Mexico City, Madrid, Milan and São Paolo. Adorno plans to expand its collection to 20 cities by the end of 2019, encompassing Asia, Europe, and the Americas. 

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About Design March

DesignMarch is Iceland’s annual design festival. It will take place for the eleventh time on 28–31 March 2019. This will be the largest and most significant festival yet with over one hundred events transforming the most northerly capital in the world into one big venue for design.

From fashion to furniture, architecture to the environment, food to product design, the festival showcases the best of the local design scene alongside exciting international names. The festival opens with DesignTalks, a day of lectures by internationally acclaimed designers and leading local design thinkers.

DesignMarch is organised by the Iceland Design Centre, the promotion agency for Icelandic design and architecture.