Studio Sløyd

February 22, 2024

The new Archive table lamp from Northern is the result of a collaboration with designers Studio Sløyd. darc’s editor chats with the duo about their first venture into the world of designing lights and how Northern’s Jonas Norheim helped them along the way.

The Archive table lamp is the first collaboration between Nordic design brand Northern and fellow Norwegians, Studio Sløyd.

The collaboration was established during Designers’ Saturday, one of Oslo’s largest and most important design events.

An open competition was hosted to aid in building relationships between designers and manufacturers. Five design briefs were sent out by the manufacturers to which designers could respond. Northern’s brief for a lamp design received approximately 40 different proposals from roughly the same number of designers. Eventually, the team chose Studio Sløyd to be their partners.

Following the acceptance of Sløyd’s design, Northern was then tasked with developing a prototype, which was to be displayed at the next Designers’ Saturday event that takes place every other year. Once the final design is completed, the brand has a choice on whether to release the design back to the design studio who can take it to another manufacturer, or to keep and produce the piece themselves; Northern chose to keep and produce the design.

darc sat down with Herman Ødegaard and Mikkel Jøraandstad of Studio Sløyd, and Jonas Norheim, Director of Northern to find out more about the studio as well as their collaboration on Archive.

“We both grew up in Oslo, Norway,” says Ødegaard. We both attended and met, at the Oslo School of Architecture and Design. The school had a big focus on service and interaction design, so when we found we had a common interest in furniture, we collaborated on a school project and thus, the studio was created.”

Jøraandstad adds: “We established Studio Sløyd because we wanted to keep creating furniture together. We are also good friends, so we thought that starting a studio, and making a career together would be just perfect. The studio was established in 2019.”

When discussing design principals and approaches, darc discovers longevity is key for the young designers. “It can be an expectation that a young design studio is focused on creating objects with a certain “out there” concept and shape, and this can cause objects with a contemporary and short lifespan. We want to create furniture with a long lifespan,” explains Ødegaard. “But it can be challenging to design something completely unique, and something a lot of people want to fill their homes with. It is a big reward when we feel like we have fulfilled both these criteria, as we have with the Archive lamp.

“We think that a long lifespan both in quality and in design is important. For us, prototyping is also important for our process. With the Archive lamp we prototyped using regular A4 sheets of paper. This caused the lamp to be sleek and minimalistic. We also think that a good relationship between the designer and the producer is essential to create furniture that both parties can be proud of.”

Norheim’s first impressions of the studio’s design submission was that they found something that would fit in nicely with Northern’s branding.

He describes it as a “nice lamp, timeless character, and something new”.

Making the prototypes for the Archive lamp from paper allowed the team to perfect the soft curves of the lamp. It was then down to Sløyd’s materials-focused approach to recreate these smooth curves in striking steel.

“Archive is made from steel and stainless steel,” explains Norheim. “For this lamp, the materials choice was a given, because of its shape. There are a lot of curves and small details, which are very suited to steel. Also, it gives it a fine quality and will make it last for a lifetime.”

Jøraandstad continues: “We used paper to prototype the lamp at the beginning of the process, which also played a part in the inspiration for the lamp. The shape is made up of an elongated cylindrical lampshade in stainless steel, which reflects the light downwards. The end of the cylinder is capped with an angled piece of steel that not only creates an interesting composition, but helps the light reflect onto a wider area. The table lamp has two bent pieces of steel that form the base as well as a visual counterpart to the lampshade. The shape of the base lets the light travel down along the two pieces and creates an interesting gradient of light towards the ground.

“We discussed making it in aluminium, but the weight of the lamp in the final product with steel feels right, and it really feels and looks like a quality product.”

Before embarking on this project with Northern, the Sløyd duo’s experience in design was mostly built upon wooden furniture, so the working relationship they built with Nornheim was invaluable as they developed skills and knowledge in metalwork.

“We had a meeting with Jonas shortly after the announcement of the winners, where we discussed the processes further. Northern was very open minded and assisted us with all the help we needed in the design process, but it was very clear that we should do the big design decisions. We really appreciated the trust from them,” says Ødegaard.

“Getting the opportunity to work with the very experienced people at Northern has been very educational for us. Not only does Jonas have a lot of good advice when it comes to the production aspect, but he is also a great designer, so we feel very lucky that we got to collaborate and discuss the design with him along the way.

“Working on a new kind of object and a new material is always challenging. We had never made a lamp before, and the complexity of all the parts and components was a new chapter for us. Northern made it easy for us to understand, but this was probably the most challenging aspect of the process.”

Nornheim adds: “I think the working relationship was a good one. This was their first lamp in production. So, I believe they learned a thing or two. Heman and Mikkel are fast workers, so every time there was some changes needed to be made, they fixed them right away. That is something which is very important when you are developing a lamp in such a short time.”

The Archive features a replaceable LED lamp and a three-step dimmer switch, which is integrated as a design feature. It is available in two colour ways and two sizes, which were carefully thought out. “In the development of the Archive lamp, we explored a spectrum of colour combinations and sizes to discover the most harmonious fit for the intended environments – be it a desk, sideboard, or console,” explains Northern. “After thorough consideration, we narrowed it down to two sizes that perfectly cater to these spaces.

“As for the colour selection, we were drawn to dark green/light grey and black/steel. These particular hues naturally stood out, not only complementing the lamp’s design but also embodying a sense of versatility and timeless elegance that aligns with our vision for the product.

“Naming a new product at Northern is a comprehensive and meticulous process. We conduct numerous workshops to find a name that not only resonates with the essence of the product but also aligns with our brand identity. For the Archive table lamp, we went through an extensive list of over 20 potential names. Ultimately, Archive stood out because it evoked the same emotions and characteristics as the lamp itself, perfectly capturing its spirit and the timeless elegance we strive for in our designs.”