We recently travelled to Oslo, the capital of Norway. We took pictures of interesting and inspiring things and thought we’d share a few.
What struck us the most exciting, as designers, was the typography and architecture of mid-century modernism mixed with Art Nouveau influences. It is a traditional yet modern, yet very Norwegian city. Oslo is also surrounded by forests, mountains and islands and provides a fascinating mix of experiences.
Indeed in the late 20s, modernism was dominated by Scandinavian architects (although the Swedes and Nords called it ‘Functionalism’). Until the 40s, modernism was the mainstream trend of architecture.
Backe i Grensen homeware shop. We loved the white rectangular tiles on black stilt pillars.
The Freia chocolate factory was founded in the 19th century in the Rodeløkka neighborhood in the borough of Grünerløkka. Freia is the essence of everything that is Norwegian and seen in a particularly romantic light by the locals. The grandiose of the Freia sign says as much!
The Freia employee canteen holds the second largest commissioned collection of Edvard Munch’s art work and is still there today. When it was founded in 1892 by Johan Throne Holst, he was very keen on modern social research and the importance of industry's role in promoting art. He designed a private employee park, an allotment and gave them their own doctor.
In 1919, he commissioned an architect to design three totally new eating areas for the factory workers. The head of the laboratory, George Dedichen, commissioned Munch to create a series of paintings with motifs from the surrounding landscape of Åsgårdstrand. It was a supremely modern room, particularly with its new birch furniture.
Oslo City shopping centre - a great example of Art Nouveau typography on a modern building.
These flats with brilliant orange alcoves are typical of the changing architecture, and indeed demographics, of Oslo’s mid century. From the 1920s onwards, there was a growing interest in architecture and its role within society. Architects wanted cost-effective and clean residential areas to effectively cope with the rising number of people in Oslo. This building seems as though it was part of the bogsaken, the housing solution, which was a scheme to try and resolve this problem.
Oslo Spektrum is a multi-purpose arena in the east of Oslo which was designed in the late 90s. Rolf Nesch decorated the ceramic tiles of the building, which were a collaboration between artist Guttorm Guttormgaard and ceramicist Søren Ubsisch. This kind of decoration is very rarely found in modern buildings.
In 2004, Oslo Spektrum was awarded the Oslo City Council's award for outstanding architectural achievement.
iHus estate agent advertises here with a ginormous, building-sized red map. The juxtaposition of this contemporary advertising initiative on the white traditional 4-story house was particularly refreshing.