August 24, 2017 marks the 70th anniversary of Vestre, a Norwegian, family driven furniture manufacturer acknowledged for its colorful, high-quality and long-lasting design. The anniversary celebrates three generations of expansion and success – from the establishment by Johs. Vestre in 1947 to recent global conquests with the Vestre family still at the helm.
Snøhetta gives life to this exciting family saga through the design of both an exhibition at the Norwegian Center for Design and Architecture (DOGA) in Oslo, and the publication of a two-volume book set, both titled “Folk+Form”. Through exhibited work, art pieces, film, text and photography, the installation and books pay tribute to the art of design and manufacturing and to Vestre’s incessant commitment and ambition to make quality and sustainability accessible on a global scale.
Having been involved in both the design of Vestre’s production facility of Torsby (2013) and the refurbishment of the company’s headquarters and showroom (2017), Snøhetta applies and synthesizes previous concepts and work into both exhibition and books. They melt together to form a visual, physical and intellectual experience where historic and contemporary elements tell the 70-year long story of Vestre.
As the books are placed in the slip case, the perforation reveals geometrical and colorful portions of the coloristic book covers.
The Vestre book set consists of a comprehensive and exclusive two-volume manifesto, one purely textual and the other pictorial, both contained in a perforated, bright yellow slipcase.
The books are decorated by the title and an enveloping pattern foil stamped on colored paper in bright colors, echoing the design and shape of the emblematic steel plates adorning Vestre’s production facility in Torsby and the interior of the company’s headquarters and showroom in Oslo. The original plates are a bi-product of the laser-cut steel plates from production and emphasis Vestre’s sustainable approach to design and manufacturing.
The books form a rich mix of images and text, tracing the history of Vestre – from the startup year and up until today. Whereas the text-driven book, “Folk”, follows a linear and chronologic storytelling logic, staring in 1947 and working its way forward, the book “Form” takes an opposite approach, starting in 2017 and tracing events back in time exclusively through images.
From the high-end districts of Aker Brygge in Oslo, to the redesign of Times Square in New York: throughout the years, Vestre’s furniture has managed to penetrate markets in both Northern Europe and Northern America, ensuring the brand a global presence and an internationally renowned status.
The exhibition at DOGA, runs from 24 August to 3 September and features selected pieces of Vestre furniture as well as an installation comprising a total of 12 perforated and colorful plates, each representing different aspects of the Vestre brand, philosophy and identity.
Just as the book, the perforated plates are inspired by the cladding and decoration present at Vestre’s production facility and their headquarters.
The design shows pieces of Vestre furniture and people in full scale. Together, the plates form a unity, echoing Vestre’s philosophy of creating furniture for people in movement in the public space. Separately, the plates capture a frozen moment in time in the public space: a Vestre bench or simply people conversing or playing.