Norwegian Materials – Norwegian Presence

Norwegian Materials – Norwegian Presence

Copenhagen-based Norwegian furniture designer Martin Solem was inspired by classic Danish design and began working as an intern for one of the oldest surviving Danish cabinet makers, Rud. Rasmussen in 2005. He undertook an MA at the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts in 2007, but has always been working with Norwegian materials and his Norwegian presence.

Since 2011, Solem has worked as a full-time designer at HAY Studio in Copenhagen, while pursuing solo projects and collaborations with international brands such as Cappellini and Bernhardt Design. Every year since 2015, he has appeared with Norway in Milan, and he received the Young Talent Award from the Norwegian Design Council in 2015.

Norwegian Materials – Norwegian Presence
A full-time designer at HAY design studio in Copenhagen, Martijn Solem also continues working on various solo projects

Related article: 2020 Export Award to Norwegian Furniture Manufacturer

Many solo projects
A full-time designer at HAY design studio in Copenhagen, Solem also continues working on various solo projects. He is for example also doing textile projects taking the idea of ‘traces’ as its starting point, using ancient, naturally occurring Norwegian materials and digitally transforming them into new patterns. His first textile designs were inspired by Norwegian Larvikite – particularly its formation millions of years ago from the melting and mingling of different minerals miles below the surface, and the way that its monochrome appearance from a distance reveals more complex color tones close up.

In his work, which strives to introduce progressive elements alongside established design tradition, he places usefulness and realism at the forefront, and as a result he has exhibited broadly, in cities including Cologne, London, Milan, New York, Paris, Oslo and Stockholm.

Norwegian Materials – Norwegian Presence
Table Bernhardt design

Related article: The Never-Ending Story of a Norwegian Furniture Designer

An innovative designer
Last year, Solum explored the idea of using the strength of molded-wood veneer material to create innovative, light and strong constructive furniture profiles and 100% Norway exhibited a table Martin designed for the project; built using a low-cost production process to enable it to be produced cheaply and efficiently.

Norwegian Materials – Norwegian Presence
The table keeps cables tidy with hidden storage in each leg

Related article: Amazing Norwegian Furniture Designer

Martin Solem describes his work: “I try to always be innovative, for me a product has to be realistic and useful to be considered a good design. What I try to accomplish is to combine these fundamental thoughts with innovative design.”

Norwegian Materials – Norwegian Presence, written by Tor Kjolberg

Feature image (on top): Martin Solem’s Urban shelter / The Italian Lab

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Journalist, PR and marketing consultant Tor Kjolberg has several degrees in marketing management. He started out as a marketing manager in Scandinavian companies and his last engagement before going solo was as director in one of Norway’s largest corporations. Tor realized early on that writing engaging stories was more efficient and far cheaper than paying for ads. He wrote hundreds of articles on products and services offered by the companies he worked for. Thus, he was attuned to the fact that storytelling was his passion.