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Studio Sløyd’s furniture

Mikkel Jøraandstad, Herman Ødegaard, and Tim Knutsen have provocatively investigated the mistreated building material of the Scandinavian furniture conventional industry, ironically referring to this as “hellish”. The three designers are the heads behind Studio Sløyd, established while they were still studying at The Oslo School of Architecture and Design, in 2019. In 2020, they released their first design collection, Furuhelvete which is a cultural manifesto. I contacted them to dig more. 

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Images Curtesy of STUDIO SLØYD

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FURUHELVETE COLLECTION

Literally translatable as “pine hell”, Furuhelvete has its roots in the traditional use of the wood in Norwegian homes which is by then associated with a distasteful style. 

“For the collection, we chose to work with pine as this was an opportunity to showcase the sustainability and for us to counter the bad rep the material had gotten from overuse during the 70s and 80s” Studio Sløyd stated when I happened to ask the role of the material in their work.

By relieving the pine from a dead faint in which it has plunged, the wood, living material for definition, breathes fresh air again.

Studio Sløyd strips the entire collection of blind faith in the long industrial chain and focuses on a new interest for a local resource. The driver for the rediscovery is a conceptual furnishing oriented at rebuilding an intimate connection with the material: by introducing contemporary shapes, the designers explore to the bone all the potentialities that the wood can express, creating fertile ground for a new Norwegian pine context.

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“We wanted to create an object that used pine in a contemporary manner. Using a common typology, we explore how far we can push the shape and structure of the wood to create something unique. The result is a bold stool with massive legs that displays the intricate patterns within the material itself.”
(Studio Sløyd)
FH.02 STOOL, FURUHELVETE COLLECTION

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FH.06 CABINET, FURUHELVETE COLLECTION

The reason it was looked down upon in Scandinavia was because of a large overuse which stripped the material of its exclusivity” answers Tim Knutsen to the question on the reasons of the actual distastefulness of the wooden pine as furniture building material. “Over the years the pine furniture became very warm in its color which opposed the values of the Scandinavian design principles and thus made it unattractable, which I assume the Japanese design industry can relate to as it shares some of the similar values to Scandinavian design. 

Despite the unfortunate period, they predicted what a kind of resurrection design trends should have taken years ago, and what should guide the core need of the furniture industry, by now.

“We were lucky enough to release our furniture collection Furuhelvete just before COVID hit”, explained Tim Knutsen to ADF. 

According to ArchDaily the use of reclaimed and exposed wood is one of the interior design trends that is going to shape the next decade.

As a matter of fact, it is not just a passing fashion wind. What happened in the current “interesting times” has shaped needs and fixed points from which restart thinking to the near future.  

The urgency COVID brought to the surface on the rehabilitation of sustainability requirements for interiors is portraying an instinctive domestic spaces’ re-shaping, throughout local/sustainable resources.

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FH.05 BENCH and FH.02 STOOL, FURUHELVETE COLLECTION

Furuhelvete collection consists of a cabinet, a table, a bench, two stools, a chair, a lamp and a punched-needle rug, the unique non-wooden piece serving as a fil-rouge for the collection, and inspired by the mushrooms that grow on the pine trees called artists` fungus. But it doesn’t end here. 

Besides the modernist taste of the collection all, it is worth addressing deeply the resort to building methods and techniques the designers embraced for tracing the intrinsic but unexplored versatility of the Norwegian pine.

Does the word sløyd sound familiar? 

Sløyd is a core module in Scandinavian primary education. The educational sløyd is a system of handicraft-based schooling that focuses on the exploration and respect of materials, while engaging the children with environmental issues, with cultural and aesthetic values and with the sensibility in the design working processes. 

Not by chance, Furuhelvete is one of the ways they explored pine wood potential.

By staying true to the sløyd holistic approach to the matter ennoblement, the designers explored forgotten materials or play with them.

For example Dross: the pure material exploration on the impurities of the aluminum smelting process which ended up with the making of a lamp. The product is not the goal itself, but rather the re-enhancing process of a production waste whose working techniques are unknown at most. 

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Dross - Material exploration

Or 10 WEEKS 10 CHAIR, a fascinating project which combines time and creativity, form and function. 

The time frame was used for us to set rules for our exploration. More time would have given us a more in-depth look, but that’s not what we wanted. We wanted an honest, impulsive and intuitive design process where we could create without limiting ourselves.

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“We created one chair each week for ten consecutive weeks. The goal was to explore and learn from the typology and through a hands-on approach learn as much as possible in a short amount of time. Each chair was given a characteristic to explore and was drawn and made in 7 days”
(Studio Sløyd)

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Designers are shaping new interiors, they are affecting the way we experience our living spaces. Such experiences make noise reverberating a clear message: designing mindful pieces of furniture, raised with no significant harm to the environment, is the emerging path that could help developing greener and even more intimate spaces, by connecting the inside with our near outside and ennobling the material we belong to and that surrounds us.

Let’s see what is coming up for 2021.