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Over the last 15 years, Northern has grown into a widely recognised innovator in modern lighting, furniture and home accessories. I recently talked to CEO and founder, Ove Rogne about how the Norwegian brand began and what spending more time in his own home has meant to him.
Here’s what he had to tell me:
Where do you call home and how has spending more time there this year changed what it means to you?
For me the city of Oslo will always be home. It is where I live, work, and more importantly where Northern is based and continues to get its ideas and inspiration from.
Like many people over this last year, I’ve spent long periods of time in my apartment trying to juggle work time and home life all in the same space. While there have certainly been moments when I’ve found these changes difficult to manage; whatever our daily lives entail, our homes remain special places that offer sanctuary as well as stimulation.
When you launched Northern 15 years ago what inspired you, and how do these same ideas still influence what you do today?
When I launched the company back in 2005, which was then named Northern Lighting, I wanted to create unique objects that were also beautiful, functional and sustainable. Now as Northern, and with a wider collection focussed on lighting, furniture and lifestyle objects, our mission remains the same.
Working with talented design partners and craftspeople from around the world, as well as our strong internal team, we produce quality products, that we hope will be used and enjoyed for years to come.
Every Northern product has a unique design story to tell, but which pieces mean the most to you and why?
As with the people we cherish in life, every product means something very special to me and marks significant points in the Northern journey.
One product in particular, the ‘Snowball’ lamp, is incredibly important. Available as both a table lamp and floor lamp, this was the first piece we produced. Thanks to its timeless design, and the recently launched matt black and brass versions, it continues to be hugely popular.
Without the Snowball we would not be the leading brand we are today.
The way we shop for our homes and what we are looking for from the products we choose is changing. What do you think we can all learn from these unprecedented times?
In these difficult and challenging times, I think we have all realised just how important our homes are, and that the ‘things’ that surround us need to bring joy and comfort too.
At Northern, we create flexible and multifunctional products that are unified in style; helping people to reflect who they are and the lives they lead, whilst making the most of the space they have.
Before bringing a new purchase home, we all need to think more about what function it will fulfil and what practical solutions it will provide. Most importantly of all though, we need to learn to cherish the things around us more, stop this cycle of mass consumption, and start to buy less but invest in better.
As someone who is passionate about lighting and how it affects us all, what are your top tips for creating a warm and welcoming home?
Getting the lighting right in any room not only helps us to see better but feel better too. With such an enormous range of lamps to choose from these days, the first thing to do is to find your own personal style and really understand what its function will be.
Use your lamps to create light and shade, think about what you want to illuminate and what you want to direct attention away from. Use them as pointers to highlight possessions as well as to focus on specific areas of the space, such as soft lighting for social activities or directional light for tasks.
Finally avoid a flat spread of light. It needs to come from above, below as well as the sides. Instead create layers, as different lights at different heights add atmosphere and warmth, as well as help you to see what you are doing.
What is exciting you in the design world right now, and what can we look forward to seeing next from Northern?
For me working on new projects gives me a focus on the future. Spending time thinking about how the Northern collection will evolve yet remain true to its history and foundation is very exciting.
The way we live is taking us in new directions, and as societal and consumer needs change, the design world must adapt too. We all must listen to the many different emerging voices coming through, experiment more with the ground-breaking new materials being developed and focus on designing meaningful products that reflect the times we live in now.
Together, Nordic brands like Northern, are creating a blueprint for a greener and more equal future for us all.
Thank you so much to Ove for chatting with me. This interview first appeared on the Northern website.
To find out more about Northern and to shop their collection please visit the Northern website.
Like this? Then why not read my chat with the Founder and CEO of Mater, Henrik Marstrand.
All photography courtesy of Northern.