Open Infinity’s shape is directly picked up from a container and then reproduced fifty times over. The curve’s predetermined shape makes the design process more effective as many steps can be excluded. The result is a suggestion — ”it could be like this”
The 100% scrap-based steel wire is bent into shape in Värnamo, Småland. Pine grown in Central Skåne is used to create the lamp base. Like almost all the worlds electronics, the ready made light source is made in China. The light fixture is attached with velcro.
All lamps are numbered and signed.
Recycled steel wire
Standard lamp fixture
W 68 cm D 27 cm H 38 cm
– How do you decide if a smile is true
”One early morning during the covid winter of 2021 I had a rich and vivid dream. I woke up with a clear image of a smiling chair with alluring eyes. I tried to draw it immediately but it was impossible to describe and capture the chair correctly. The smiling chair I saw in the dream seemed to be more of a feeling than something visual.”
Later that spring Jenny Nordberg visited the saw mill of Ingvar Olsson in the woods on the ridge of where she lives. Big slabs of oak wood were lying around and suddenly there it was – the smile. It had the shape and expression exactly like that in the dream.
Most of what characterises Jenny Nordberg’s practice can be found in the Positive Enough chair: A locally based design process, but also a design object that in its brutal and humorous expression presents the materials and manufacturing methods and makes them significant. This is combined with a seemingly carelessly nonchalant aesthetic precision based on meticulousness and experience.
An idea derived from the 19th century neurologist Guillaume Duchenne says that the muscles of the eyes are crucial for a smile to be interpreted as genuine. Spontaneous contractions of the muscles give the right wrinkles, signifying that the smile expresses a true feeling.
Positive Enough challenges the idea of the chair as a utility object, not only because of its unusual proportions that doesn’t put usefulness first – it also appears as anything but a passive object ready to be used. With its roughly-sawn surface the chair has plenty of wrinkles, but eyes are missing. The chair seems to be conscious though, it wants more than just fill up space in the room. Practicality becomes secondary when the chair’s emotional life takes over.
Material: Oak from Trolleholm, Skåne, Sweden.
Surface treatment: Soap
Measurements (hxdxw): Approximately 100x45x300 cm
A 2 meter long cup made during Covid 2021 for the Between Objects project. Shown at The Classen Library during Copenhagen Art Week and at QB Gallery in Oslo, Norway.
The Accumulations lamp was born during the exhibition with the same name, Accumulations, shown at Olsson & Gerthel in 2020.
“The exhibition Accumulations (September 9-26, 2020) at Olsson & Gerthel is based on a library of rejected elements, which through Nordberg’s disruptions are given new function and potential. In the performative presentation, she joints these materials with an assemblage-like technique in order to make unique utility objects, stretching from brutalist bedcovers in textile and metal to lamp constructions, tables and vessels. The leftovers that are used have been collected from subcontractors to Olsson & Gerthel, as well as from Nordberg’s studio, and a declaration of each part’s origin accompanies each final object.”
The floor lamp was an instant favorite when presented in the exhibition. This way of working, presenting three dimensional sketchy objects as possible solutions either as one-offs or smaller series, is one of Nordberg’s preferred working methods .
The production of the Accumulations lamp is carried out in Småland, Sweden. All parts are made from leftover metal except for the brick shaped glass weights that are hand cast in a small glass studio at the island of Murano, Italy.
The lamp and made in close collaboration with Olsson & Gerthel.
A set of jewelry done for What Is Gold.
A digital vendor and loosely arranged art, craft and design initiative. Independent practitioners and non traditional jewelers are offering artisanal produced items, one-offs and more within jewellery. What Is Gold is the place for rare findings. There are no middle hands and the author of the item gets the whole cut. What Is Gold is also about the basic need for fun things to happen. We are starting with jewelry to see where it takes us 🙂
The origin of these objects are a group of mini sculpture. Typical office related stuff such as paper, pens, erasers and glue were cut into smaller pieces and then mounted together to resemble the shape of different jewelry. The “jewelry” was then scanned with a low quality mobile scanner and after that 3-printed.
PLA is a bio plastic produced by fermentation of a carbohydrate source like corn starch or sugarcane.
Am I a ghost?
For several years, Johnny Ståhl has held a position at my studio.
His primary task is to send emails, especially to manufacturers and subcontractors of various kinds. The responses he gets are always helpful, quick and polite. Whenever someone wants to talk to Johnny though, he is never there. He hasn’t even got a phone. Whenever someone wants to include him in a meeting he’s always home, often with sick kids.
Even if Johnny Ståhl doesn’t seem to be very present, he still deserves some credit since he saves the studio a lot of time and hassle. Johnny is hard to meet in person, the only way one can reach him is via email. By making this perfume dedicated to him, one can at least perceive his presence in the room.
The Ghost is a scent made in collaboration with perfumer Nenad Jovanov. Nenad is the last perfumer in Belgrade and runs the Sava Perfumery, which has been in his family for three generations. Nenad was asked to compose a scent for the ghost Johnny Ståhl. He came up with nine different directions and we continued working with one of them ending up with the final scent — The Ghost. Sava’s standard perfume bottle is used for The Ghost, but the cap has been replaced by a wooden piece manufactured by the Belgrade-based Carpentry Production Xylon, which is also a family business, and is now run by Sabina Simović together with her brother and uncle. The company has developed from a traditional carpentry into also having a high tech machine park. Along with the perfume and bottle a hand folded box with a pleated inlay was made. Nova Iskra assisted with graphic design and the production of a folder also included in the box.
Johnny Ståhl was invented after having problems getting in contact with manufacturers and subcontractors. Very few replied and even after a contact was established, it was often problematic getting the right information or even closing the deal. The Johnny-character solved all of this.
If you would like to get in contact with Johnny, please email email@example.com.
This project was made within the Made In Platform. Nova Iskra was the supporting partner in Belgrade. A special thank you to Relja Bobić for all the positive support, organizing skills, translator, negotiator and being the best chauffeur.
Strategies for moving freely
Book about the practice of Jenny Nordberg. Published in 2020 by Nilleditions. Buy it here.
“Jenny Nordberg is arguably the brightest shining star in contemporary Swedish design. Her experimental and forward looking design practice manages to bring together a series of values that for most designers is very hard to achieve, if not unobtainable – It is highly conceptual without feeling factitious, process based yet result orientated, entertaining without being banal, scientific without being technocratic, universal yet markable. At the moment she is running circles around her contemporaries, raising the bar with every new project. She is the guiding light leading the way out of the derivative cul de sac of retro-post-modern aesthetics that has highly overstayed its welcome by now. Designers and design lovers alike – let this book, and Jenny, lead us all forward, and keep moving. In freedom.”
Nille Svensson, publisher.
In several of her projects, Jenny Nordberg has composed new objects out of discarded or rejected materials – for example in the exhibitions Omkompositioner (Recompositions) at Rian designmuseum (2014), Most Common Element at OBRA (2018) and Possibilities at stockholmmodern (2020). The unwanted materials she works with can, as the British anthropologist Mary Douglas suggests, be seen as matter out of place – or as Nordberg self puts it: “assets in need of recontextualisation in order to regain their full potential.” To dig into rejected things is a way to renegotiate norms and to highlight more or less hidden value systems.
Nordberg’s use of waste instead of new materials is not only about optimising resources and sustainability; it is also about the joy of using a heuristic approach. This is a rapid method since it centres on existing knowledge and strategies from previous experiences. For Nordberg, working with elements with a predetermined appearance is a way to optimise the design process, and to find new possible paths despite of restricted parameters. Several decisions are hence avoided – such as material, form and origin – which makes the actual composition both the first and last step in the process. The different objects are put together according to a set of strict rules:
– The found parts can only be minimally processed.
– Size and shape are to be maintained, but bending and making holes is allowed.
– Quick surface-treatment is ok if needed.
– Pop rivets are used for assemblage.
– The materials must be classified as leftovers or trash.
The exhibition Accumulations (September 9-26, 2020) at Olsson & Gerthel is based on a library of rejected elements, which through Nordberg’s disruptions are given new function and potential. In the performative presentation, she joints these materials with an assemblage-like technique in order to make unique utility objects, stretching from brutalist bedcovers in textile and metal to lamp constructions, tables and vessels. The leftovers that are used have been collected from subcontractors to Olsson & Gerthel, as well as from Nordberg’s studio, and a declaration of each part’s origin accompanies each final object.
Tray concept for Vandalorum
The trays at Åry usually get their decorative top layer via a printed paper or fabric. Creating a pattern or illustration to be repeated on the trays does not lie within Nordbergs field of expertise. Instead she wanted to tweak the production process, especially the pressing of the multiple veneer layers which forms the tray itself. The initial plan was to experiment at the tray production site but then Corona happened. The factory was closed for outside visitors. Instead she got a stack of veneers sent to her studio and the process continue in a Covid-adjusted manner.
The standardised side of production, such as the making of canteen trays, has always appealed to Nordberg. Maybe not always the outcome but rather the un-used possibilities that appears around it. Nordberg searched for an interference with the material that would enable a seamless float into the standardised production but still allowing each tray to become different. Various paints, brushes, pens, antennas, tools and methods were tested to achieve a result that did not interfere with the next industrial step. The studio cleaning mop together with a screwdriver eventually became the ultimate interference tool. She then used this as a large rotating paintbrush and painted directly on the veenere.
275 canteen trays, each different, were painted for Vandalorum and the pressed by Åry Trays.
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.