Throughout her practice, Nordberg has turned a critical eye on contemporary conditions of production, adopting an experimental and research-based approach. However, finding manufacturers who are willing to experiment is not an easy task. As a counter-strategy, she has developed her studio workshop such that it accommodates a variety of industrial techniques, including powder coating and metal casting. This framework has functioned as a stimulus, rather than a limitation, enabling the development of experiments that would not be possible in a large-scale manufacturing context.
Within the Powder Vessel concept Norberg has searched for a wild and irregular expression using a technique that most often is used to gain perfection, powder coating. She ordered laser cut metal parts form her local metal supplier which she then welded together into large vessels. By altering the powder coating setup in her studio Nordberg gained a brutal and vivid surface treatment.
Hem will unveil the third object from its decorative accessories collection curated by Modern Design Review during Stockholm Design Week following successful launches with London-based SuperGroup and Dutch designer Bertjan Pot in 2019. This new series has been produced by Swedish designer Jenny Nordberg, a designer who is known for her research-led approach to making objects – something which has been key to the development of the Powder Vase for Hem. Produced as a signed, limited-edition of 15 pieces featuring three different shapes, the vases are made from sheet steel which Nordberg folds and welds by hand. Unique to the pieces is the unexpected, brutal and vivid surface treatment that Nordberg has developed through experimentation with powder-coating in her studio. Whilst powder-coating is most commonly used to achieve a uniform surface treatment, here Nordberg uses it to achieve an expressive decoration.
Hem’s decorative accessories collection commissioned by Modern Design Review intends to present objects that are the essence of their makers. For Jenny Nordberg this has meant a work that demonstrates her commitment to her industrially-inspired workshop production and is a continuation of her ideas-led, yet ultimately covetable, collection of works.
A special thanks to Laura Houseley at Modern Design Review.
Site specific commission for Hallands Konstmsueum (the Art Museum of Halland). Aside from setting the artistic and interior framework, Nordberg also designed all the seating furniture for the new auditorium. The chair collection is based on a short story by the Halmstad-born writer Klara Johanson (1875–1948; pen name Huck Leber) from her book Oskuld och arsenik (Innocence and arsenic), published in 1901. Johanson dedicated one of the chapters to Halmstad where also the Art Museum of Halland is situated. She describes how Halmstad differs from Stockholm where she lived most of her life.
Man skall näppeligen bland invånarna i Stockholms nyare stadsdelar anträffa någon individ som icke är anfäktad af snufva och hosta, och detta är ju också oundvikligt när de ständig måste röra sig på oblygt öppna gator, som skära hvarandra i räta vinklar, hvararaf det naturnödvändigt uppstår ett olidligt korsdrag. En liten krökning här, en liten svängning där, en parkanläggning till vänster, en fontän till höger, och Nissens bröstkarameller skulle sjunka i pris!
I min födelsestad finna de sannerligen inte många afnämare, ty där har stadsplanen allt från början varit ägnad att afvärja förkylningar. Där skall man aldrig lyckas skåda tvänne parallella husrader, som i oändlighet draga sig fram, tills de försvinna i det blånade intet och på regelbundna distanser korsas af andra lika beskaffade rader, som förlora sig i ett likadant intet. Nej då, för det första stå inte husen så där hopkörda och hålla varandra under armen gatan utefter, utan de samla sig i smärre slutna sällskap, allt efter sina personliga sympatier, eller dra sig misstroget ifrån hvarandra med litet plank och småsaker emellan. Inte häller stå de och fåna på samma linje, utan somliga spatsera ett stycke ut på trottoaren för att se sig om och delta i världsvimlet, under det andra, som äro blygare af sig, förskrämda hoppa tillbaka och gömma sig innanför ett staket eller några popplar.
Which can be translated to:
You will hardly ever find any individual who is not challenged by colds and coughing among the inhabitants of Stockholm’s newer neighbourhoods, and this is also inevitable when they have to constantly move on unobstructed open streets, which intersect at right angles, where it naturally occurs an unbearable draft. A little bend here, a little swing there, a park on the left, a fountain on the right, and Nissen’s cough drops would fall in price!
In my city of birth, they certainly do not find many venders, because there, from the beginning, the city plan has been devoted to warding off colds. There one should never be able to see two parallel house rows, which endlessly extend, until they disappear into the blue nothing and at regular distances intersected by other equally acquired rows, which lose themselves in a similar nothing. No no, firstly, the houses do not stand together like that holding each other under the arm street along, but they gather in smaller closed societies, according to their personal sympathies, or distrust each other with a little plank and small things in between. They do not pour and stand on the same line, but some walk a bit out on the sidewalk to look around and participate in the crowd, while others, who are shy of themselves, frightened jump back and hide inside a fence or some poplar .
Klara Johansons description of the city planning of Halmstad in the early 1900-hundreds became the basic concept of Nordberg’s chair collection. All the different seating devices are based on steel structures that “do not pour and stand on the same line, but some walk a bit out on the sidewalk to look around and participate in the crowd, while others, who are shy of themselves, frightened jump back and hide inside”.
The rectangular shapes steel tubes in the structures of each chair are cut in unexpected ways and directions are altered. A beachy sand like coating is covering the steel frames as a reminiscence of the long white beaches of Halland.
The Baloney Sandwich
For several years, Nordberg lived next to a supermarket with absurdly low prices, and it was this context that served as the starting point of The Baloney Sandwich. The store was always a last resort for groceries, but now and then Nordberg wandered the aisles looking for something edible. Some of the bread had a shelf
life of three months; some tasted like hay. The butter had no butter in it, and the salami was packed with nitrates and antibiotics. For a long time, this inedible baloney sandwich was on her mind – a sandwich which could not be classified as food but rather was something else. During this time, she was also absorbed by a range of casting techniques. Could the inedible baloney sandwich work as a mould material, or be incorporated in some other way in the casting process? It seemed logical to treat the sandwich more as a material than a food. However, Nordberg struggled to find a way to use the soft food-like material in casting production, and after a while she forgot about it. That is, until recently. As it turned out, transforming the baloney sandwich into a frozen state made it durable enough for casting, and the hard sandwich finally became the material by which to create a hollow cavity for a negative casting mould. Together with some other casted elements, the baloney sandwich was then used to construct a candleholder.
Throughout her practice, Nordberg has turned a critical eye on contemporary conditions of production, adopting an experimental and research-based approach. However, finding manufacturers who are willing to experiment is not an easy task. As a counter-strategy, she has developed her studio workshop such that it accommodates a variety of industrial techniques, including powder coating and metal casting. This framework has functioned as a stimulus, rather than a limitation, enabling the development of experiments that would not be possible in a large-scale manufacturing context. The Baloney Sandwish was made in 2019.
A loose continuation of Most Common Element, this project further explored the craft of welding. Here, it was accompanied by other industrial techniques, including metal casting, powder coating and vari- ous surface-treatment processes. All components of the different assemblages were metal offcuts and scraps from industries surrounding Nordberg’s studio, which she collected and stored in a “library of possibilities”; there, she arranged them into objects with a variety of possible functions. Employing an assemblage-like process, and leaning on improvisation within a set of predetermined rules, the project further investigated the tension between the uncontrollable and the standardised.
Auditorium, Halland Art Museum
In 2017 Hallands Konstmuseum invited Jenny Nordberg to serve as lead creative of a new auditorium, which was to be built as an extension of the museum’s 1930s-era building. Having grown up in this part of Sweden, she developed a concept that was based on the heritage and surroundings of the specific site. Everything from materials and colours to the invited artists and manufacturers has a connection to the region. For example, the museum’s archive, along with architects and poets from the area, served as inspiration for many of the artworks and furniture she developed for the auditorium.
As she worked with the concept, time became a central aspect, which led to the title 80+ – a reference to the lifespan assigned to new buildings today, and a comment both on the historical perspective and on the urge for things to last. As a way of expanding the project, Nordberg also invited Byggstudio (Hanna Nilsson and Sofia Østerhus), Hilda Hellström, Milan Kosovic and Kajsa Willner to contribute to specific parts of the auditorium. Aside from setting the artistic and interior framework, Nordberg designed a collection of chairs based on a short story by the Halmstad-born writer Klara Johanson (1875–1948; pen name Huck Leber) from her book Oskuld och arsenik (Innocence and arsenic), published in 1901. Nordberg also designed a twenty-two-metre-long curtain with a large appliqué depicting the four different angles of Villa Simonsson – a modernist home designed in 1930 by the groundbreaking architect Ingrid Wallberg.
Byggstudio (Hanna Nilsson and Sofia Østerhus) – Wall panels
Hilda Hellström – Floor
Milan Kosovic – Lectern
Jenny Nordberg – Lead creative and all chairs
Kajsa Willner – All tables
INGER – Optical Illusions
Homage to Inger Ekdahl
Inger Ekdahl (1922-2014) was an artist and Swedish pioneer in spontaneous painting during the middle of the 20th century. In many of her later paintings and sculptures she worked with optical illusions and prismatic effects. Ekdahl often worked from home and used, among other things, a vacuum cleaner as an aid in the production of her works. Inger Ekdahl has become more known for a larger audience and placed in an international context after her death.
There is a clear relationship between Jenny Nordberg and Inger Ekdahl’s work including methods that are both strict and controlled parallel with random elements and effects. The collection “INGER – Optical Illusions” consists of two objects that both generate rainbow phenomenons. One solar powered and the other one electrically powered. In the same way that Ekdahl worked in a home environment, Nordberg has developed a kind of home-adapted production line for the final surface treatment of the rainbow makers. The process is relatively controlled but also has some indeterminate elements.
“INGER – Optical Illusions” are designed during 2018 on behalf of Ystad Art Museum.
Photos by Korta Ben.
In Vitro Printer
This 3D-printer is influenced by the bone healing process that takes place within the body (in vivo). The In Vitro Printer however, runs outside the body – in vitro. Layer by layer, altering different materials, the printer bilds a bone like structure. And just as with bone healing the printer uses no electric power nor computer control. The human body is the machine.
The In Vitro Printer is a 3D-printer influenced by the bone healing process that takes place within the body (in vivo). The In Vitro Printer however, runs outside the body – in vitro. Layer by layer, altering different materials, the printer builds a bone like structure. And just as with bone healing the printer uses no electric power nor computer control. One could even argue that the printer doesn’t exists since it only runs when the predominant part, the human body, is present. The human body is the machine. The printer is programmed by physical matrixes in resemblance to how cells are programmed to organise bone healing. There are also an arrangement with scaffolds to make the process easier, comparable to assisted bone healing that bridges large fractures with small calcium scaffolds.
Real bones are made of collagen and calcium in microscopical thin layers. When a bone is injured the bone healing process within the body starts immediately. The formation of bone demands an in vivo (within the body) environment and it’s a process that seems almost magical as the bone heals automatically. The bone “wants” to heal. However, when a massive bone defect occurs the bone needs help to heal. Professor Magnus Tägil is a specialist and researcher within bone healing at the Department of Orthopaedics at Lund University. The origin of this project is the conversations held with him.
The material printed in the In Vitro Printer is a vegan version of collagen, calcium and other substances closely linked to bone. The aim is not to print bone though, but to be influenced by (or embody) the “bone-making-process” and then move freely around this topic. The outcome of the In Vitro Printer is both rough and erratic, the human presence is inevitable.
Exhibited during Dutch Design Week 2018 with the support of Konstnärsnämnden.
Nationalmuseum Mirror Installation
The National Museum in Stockholm opened again at the 12th of October 2018 after being closed for over five years due to a major renovation and restoration. Jenny Nordberg was invited to make a permanent mirror installation for the café and restaurant. The room where the mirror piece is placed used to be a portrait hall and a mirror itself could be seen as a temporary portrait. The mirror technique used originates from the 19th century. A painting in the museum collection, Portrait of a Young Lady as Flora painted by Louise Vigée-Lebrun was made during the same period. The few female painters who worked during that time were almost exclusively assigned to paint portraits, which was lower in rank. The white background color in the mirror is the same as in Floras dress.
The traditional mirroring process from the 19th century where a silver surface is developed on glass is rarely used today because of high cost and technical difficulty. Nordberg has been developing this technique and chosen to eliminate all the unnecessary moments as well as the requirement for perfection to achieve a more multi-dimensional mirror effect in an indeterminable form. The glass comes from one of two flat glass factories that remain in Sweden, both located in Malmö.
The technology was originally used for the first time in the 3 to 5 seconds – Rapid Handmade Production project. This projects is like many other of Jenny Nordberg’s projects part of a larger and ongoing work about how we produce and consume today, how we’ve done historically and how we could do it in the future. In the project 3 to 5 Seconds she examines how different properties from the handmade and mass produced can be combined. 3 to 5 seconds is about bringing together contradictions and hard to achieve qualities. The project combines the uniqueness of the handmade and the speed of the mass produced. Is it possible to make one of a kind handmade items really fast?
Assemblage was originally designed for the restaurant at Nordic Light Hotel in Stockholm that went through a major restoration in 2017/2018 lead by Marcus Bergström. The concept of assemblage were materialised in this lamp as groceries and objects found in the kitchen were stacked in different three-dimensional collages. Butter together with a bowl, a plate and a rubber ring for preservation became the final composition. The re-chargeable LED lamp is made of recycled aluminum, glass and rubber and produced by Ateljé Lyktan.
Most Common Element
The project/exhibition Most Common Element took place at Obra, a post artist-run, post-alternative research oriented art gallery located in Malmö, Sweden, between March 23 and April 21, 2018.
Jenny Nordberg (Halmstad, 1978) is an industrial designer with an exploratory practice currently concerned with the recovery of processes and material. Her design projects develop through conversation and research in and outside her Studio. Questions about time, role play, efficiency, hierarchy and progress are recurrent in her practice. While the finished and functional aspects of design remain central, her conceptual concerns take a profoundly serious importance yet are addressed in a playful manner. In her methodical performative activity a quasi-mystical persona conveys not only the mechanical aspects of production but the alchemical elements of material transformation.
For her exhibition at OBRA, Jenny has undertaken the exploration of a technique (welding) and a material (iron) that played an important influence in the history of the area where the exhibition will take place. Iron –the most common element on earth by mass– was a central metal in the modern shipbuilding industry and played a central role in the socio-economical landscape of the city of Malmö where the hosting gallery was recently established.
Additional to the opening date, Jenny will be welding on-site and producing unforeseen objects that will gradually depart the working table to be displayed at the back room of the gallery along the exhibition period.
Tomás Feener, Obra
For inquiries, please contact Obra, www.obra.se.