written by:
May 7, 2014
This blockbuster exhibit makes it clear that Norway shouldn’t be the lesser-known country in the world of Scandinavian design.
black Arctis Chair by Hans Brattrud
Arctis Chair by Hans Brattrud

One of more than 500 pieces of furniture and decorative arts being displayed at "Norwegian Icons," a massive exhibition coming to Openhouse Galleryin New York on May 23, 2014.

Photo by Blomqvist for Norwegian Icons

1 / 8
Tray by Arne Tidemand Ruud
Tray by Arne Tidemand Ruud

Photo by Blomqvist for Norwegian Icons

2 / 8
Conform Coffee Table by Hermann Bongard
Conform Coffee Table by Hermann Bongard

Photo by Blomqvist for Norwegian Icons

3 / 8
S-30016 Lamp by Birger Dahl
S-30016 Lamp by Birger Dahl

Photo by Blomqvist for Norwegian Icons

4 / 8
Kryss-Stolen Chair by Fredrik Kayser
Kryss-Stolen Chair by Fredrik Kayser

Photo by Blomqvist for Norwegian Icons

5 / 8
1001 Reclining Chair by Sven Ivar Dysthe
1001 Reclining Chair by Sven Ivar Dysthe

Photo by Blomqvist for Norwegian Icons

6 / 8
Falcon Chair by Sigurd Resell
Falcon Chair by Sigurd Resell

Photo by Blomqvist for Norwegian Icons

7 / 8
Unique by KÜre Berven Fjeldsaa
Unique by KÜre Berven Fjeldsaa

Photo by Blomqvist for Norwegian Icons

8 / 8
black Arctis Chair by Hans Brattrud
Arctis Chair by Hans Brattrud

One of more than 500 pieces of furniture and decorative arts being displayed at "Norwegian Icons," a massive exhibition coming to Openhouse Galleryin New York on May 23, 2014.

Photo by Blomqvist for Norwegian Icons

“We’re rediscovering our design, in a way,” says curator Einar Holthe about "Norwegian Icons," a massive exhibition of furniture and decorative arts from his home country coming to New York from May 23 through June 1, 2014. The show features more than 500 pieces and shines a light on works made between 1940 and 1970, including furniture by Torbjørn Afdal and Fredrik Kayser, glassware and ceramics from Benny Motzfeldt and Herman Bongard, and decorative arts from Grete Prytz Kittelsen. It opened to acclaim in Oslo and Tokyo, but there are pieces on display that even people in Norway's neighboring countries don’t know about, according to Holthe. It’s all part of the story of how the profile of Norwegian furniture and crafts has shifted over the decades.

Holthe, CEO of Fuglen, remembers where the impetus for the show came from, at least for him; at a Sotheby’s auction of Scandinavian design, he clearly remembers seeing the flags of Denmark, Sweden, and Finland, but not Norway. His country’s craft contributions had lost the status they once held. While the work was acclaimed in the middle of the 20th century—Norwegians won a raft of medals at the 1954 Milan Triennale—when the country discovered oil in the North Sea in the ‘70s, a radical shift in the economy affected the furniture and decorative arts business. Exports died out, and the suddenly flush domestic buyers began chasing trends, such as American furniture. A country that once supported nearly 300 ceramics companies now has one, according to Holthe.

He says the appreciation for homegrown design came back strong in the mid ‘90s, and now Norwegian pieces are coveted by collectors. But he does remember people coming to the Oslo stop of the exhibition and muttering to themselves about having thrown away something a few years ago that was now on display in front of them. Holthe hopes the show will get Norway’s neighbors, and the world, to pay more attention.

Norwegian Icons will be at Openhouse Gallery in New York (201 Mulberry Street in Soho) May 23 through June 1, 2014.

Join the Discussion

Loading comments...

Latest Articles

San Francisco dining room with chandelier and Eames shell chairs
Brooklyn-based RBW's work—from diminutive sconces to large floor lamps—shape these five interiors.
February 09, 2016
Glass-fronted converted garage in Washington
These garages go behind parking cars and storing your drum sets.
February 09, 2016
Modern Texas home office with sliding walls, behr black chalkboard paint, concrete walls, and white oak flooring
From appropriated nooks to glass-encased rooms, each of these modern offices works a unique angle.
February 09, 2016
picnic-style table in renovated San Francisco house
From chandeliers to pendants, these designs make the dining room the most entertaining space in the house.
February 09, 2016
Midcentury house in Portland with iron colored facade and gold front door
From preserved masterworks to carefully updated time capsules, these homes have one thing in common (other than a healthy appreciation for everything Eames): the conviction that the '40s, '50s, and '60s were the most outstanding moments in American architecture.
February 09, 2016
Modern living room with furniture designed by Ludovica + Roberto Palomba
These oases by the sea, many done up in white, make stunning escapes.
February 08, 2016
A Philippe Starck standing lamp and an Eames chaise longue bracket the living room; two Lawrence Weiner prints hang behind a pair of Warren Platner chairs and a table purchased from a River Oaks estate sale; at far left of the room, a partial wall of new
Texas might have a big reputation, but these homes show the variety of shapes and sizes in the Lone Star State.
February 08, 2016
Montigo gas-burning fireplace in spacious living room.
Built atop the foundation of a flood-damaged home, this 3,000-square-foot Maryland home features vibrant furniture placed in front of stunning views of a nearby estuary.
February 08, 2016
Studio addition in Seattle
An architect couple sets out to transform a run-down property.
February 08, 2016
West Elm coffee table, custom Joybird sofa, and matching Jens Risom chairs in living room of Westchester renovation by Khanna Shultz.
Every Monday, @dwell and @designmilk invite fans and experts on Twitter to weigh in on trending topics in design.
February 08, 2016
modern lycabettus penthouse apartment living room vertical oak slats
For the modernists among us, these spare spaces are a dream come true.
February 08, 2016
The square fountain at the courtyard's center is a modern rendition of a very traditional feature in many Middle Eastern homes.
From a large gathering space for family or a tranquil sanctuary, these seven designs feature some very different takes on the ancient idea of a courtyard.
February 08, 2016
stdaluminum 021
Since windows and doors are such important aspects of your home, it’s always a good idea to take the time to evaluate how they fit within the lifestyle you want. Whether you’re in the middle of constructing a new home, or you’re considering replacing your current setup, there are multiple elements to consider when it comes time to make the final decisions. Milgard® Windows & Doors understands how vital these choices are to the well-being of your home and has developed ways to turn the process into a journey that can be just as enjoyable as it is fulfilling. Not sure where to start? We gathered some helpful insights from their team of experts to help us better understand what goes into the process of bringing your vision to life.
February 08, 2016
modern fire resistant green boulder loewen windows south facade triple planed low-e glass
These houses in Broncos Country prove modern design is alive in the Rocky Mountains.
February 08, 2016
french evolution paris daniel rozensztroch living area eames la chaise butterfly chair moroccan berber rug
A tastemaker brings his distinct vision to an industrial loft with a centuries-old pedigree.
February 07, 2016
senses touch products
The haptic impact can’t be underplayed. The tactility of a material—its temperature, its texture­—can make the difference between pleasure and discontent.
February 07, 2016
senses taste products
Ambience is a key ingredient to any meal—materials, textures, and mood all impart a certain flavor.
February 07, 2016
senses smell products
The nose knows: Though fleeting and immaterial, scent is the lifeblood of Proustian memories, both evoking and imprinting visceral associations.
February 06, 2016
design icon josef frank villa beer vienna
Josef Frank: Against Design, which runs through April 2016 at Vienna’s Austrian Museum of Applied Arts/Contemporary Art, is a comprehensive study of the prolific architect, designer, and author.
February 06, 2016
senses sound products
From an alarm to a symphony, audio frequencies hold the power to elicit an emotional call-and-response.
February 06, 2016
Italian Apline home with double-height walls on one facade.
Every week, we highlight one amazing Dwell home that went viral on Pinterest. Follow Dwell's Pinterest account for more daily design inspiration.
February 05, 2016
A built-in sofa with Design Tex upholstery marks the boundary between the two-level addition and the bungalow. Leading up to the master bedroom, a perforated metal staircase, lit from above, casts a Sigmar Polke–like shadow grid on the concrete floor.
From a minimalist Walter Gropius design to a curving sculptural stair, these six stairways run the gamut.
February 05, 2016
distant structure lakeside prefab norway facade stones green roof
Dwell has traveled all over the world, from Tasmania to Indonesia, to report on modern houses.
February 05, 2016
modern lycabettus penthouse apartment master bedroom atrium
Get ready for a weekend of rest with these sleepy, little cocoons.
February 05, 2016
lamp show 99 cent plus gallery 0
At Brooklyn's 99¢ Plus gallery, 30 artists and designers re-imagine the lamp in an illuminating light show.
February 04, 2016
Hidden storage stairwell with raw brass hardware
Having ample space to stow items is a daily struggle—peep these modern homes for some ideas on maximizing your square footage.
February 04, 2016
modern fairhaven beach house blackbutt eucalyptus living room Patricia Urquiola sofa
Whether it's along a coast in Australia or the French Alps, wood provides a natural touch in these interiors.
February 04, 2016
Glass and steel sculpture in Printemps store of Paris.
In the Paris' venerable Printemps department store, two Toronto-based firms were tasked with enlivening a new atrium and creating a unique experience for visitors. YabuPushelberg, partnering with UUfie, designed this stunning steel "sail" embedded with vibrant dichroic glass.
February 04, 2016
Monochromatic Master Bedroom in Copenhagen Townhouse
Whether it's to maximize limited light or create a soothing interior, these five projects go white in a big way.
February 04, 2016
EQ3 Assembly quilt by Kenneth LaVallee
The new Assembly collection from EQ3 celebrates up-and-coming figures in Canadian design. Discover this newly appointed class, which debuted at Toronto's Interior Design Show, here.
February 03, 2016