Studio visit to Kristine Bjaadal

Oct 21, 2014Linn Ellevseth

Kristine Bjaadal is one of the designers participating in the exhibition Norway Designs NÅ – Verdi. We went on a studio visit to get a little insight into a designer's everyday life!

What inspires you to create new products?
I am inspired by my surroundings; everyday situations, shapes I find in nature, materials I like - often because they are good to touch (like a five-year-old, I walk with my pockets full of pebbles, buttons, chestnuts, shells, etc.).

What challenges do you face when working as an independent designer?
It is incredibly wonderful to be able to work on your own projects and with your own joy of communication! The biggest challenge for me and many others is to make it happen financially - because it is not the case that every time you make good things that others appreciate, you automatically manage to make money from it.

What are the advantages of sharing a studio with other designers and being part of the designer network Klubben ?
Designers I have spoken to who work in other countries often say that it seems as if all designers in Norway are friends. And in a way they are right. The environment is small, and everyone knows who everyone is. In addition, it is as if we in Norway have made a choice to see each other as colleagues instead of competitors, and this provides a very good professional environment that I am extremely happy to be a part of. Sharing the studio with others makes for a much more inspiring everyday life than if you had sat alone and pondered to yourself at all times. The club is also built on the same idea; you get more done together than individually, and by helping each other out instead of using pointed elbows, we contribute to lifting the entire professional environment together.

Can you describe the process behind the blanket Verdi that you made for the exhibition?
For my master's thesis at the Oslo Academy of the Arts, I worked with various textile works, and the idea of ​​designing plaids has therefore been very present ever since I graduated in 2009, even though I have mainly worked with other materials such as porcelain, wood and glass. When we started working on the exhibition, we talked about how it would have been nice to create some new large-scale products in collaboration with Norwegian manufacturers. I immediately thought that I wanted to make a blanket produced at Røros Tweed, and luckily there were several people who thought it was a good idea. The design process itself went very quickly; maybe because I already had a blanket and two in the back of my mind...
With Norway Designs' history as a backdrop, I was inspired by wool blankets from the 50s; the decade in which the store was established. I sketched different stripe and grid patterns using strips of paper which I put together in different ways. I tested grid patterns with different offsets, and ended up with a simple two-color pattern of rectangles that are offset relative to each other. Since the blanket was designed especially for the exhibition, it is also named after it.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of working with your own small-scale production, compared to working with a large-scale manufacturer?
By working with a large-scale producer, you get to concentrate most on what you do best; the design itself. The positive thing about producing even on a small scale is that you have full control over the whole process yourself, but the negative thing about it is that it takes a lot more time to organize production, distribution and various other work that is not about design.

Read more about Kristine's background and the products she exhibits at Norway Designs NÅ – Verdi here

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