Some believe in fate, others believe in creating your own destiny, and others simple luck. Whether these are separate entities or inextricably linked to one other is perhaps better left for the philosophers among us to battle out, but it’s an interesting topic for debate nonetheless. What is the relevance here? You may be asking yourself. It’s a question which came to mind and started dancing around my mind while researching Bernhardt Design’s latest adventure, the Oslo Chair designed by Norwegian design collective Angell Wyller Aarseth. The transparency of how this latest creation was born is a connect-the-dots of interesting moments culminating from hard work, study and perhaps some serendipity which now assists us to understand the design and manufacture thought process, its meaning and allows us to celebrate another beautiful design I’ve since nicknamed “Norwegian Wood” (there’s that The Beatles reference I’ve been dying to make!). So here are the facts; as design students in Europe, the founding members of Angell Wyller Aarseth (Christoffer Angell, Øyvind Wyller and Simen Aarseth) discovered that they shared common interests and philosophies when it came to design. They formed a loose collective and as a trio, found themselves at the 2010 London Design Festival. During the Festival, of course now just over three years ago, a chance meeting between Jerry Helling, the president of and global talent scout for North Carolinian manufacturer Bernhardt Design set the wheels in motion. Ambassador Bjarne Lindstrom organized a meet-and-greet cocktail event, its purpose to connect designers of Norway with influential figures on the international design circuit and as students at the time, the chance for Angell Wyller Aarseth to meet Helling was an opportunity many young designers no doubt could only dream of.
You could sense a light burning in themhe recalled, and dutifully surrendered his business card. After seeing their portfolio, Helling suggested the three apply for the ICFF Studio Program at International Contemporary Furniture Fair in NYC the following year– which in turn is another of those fate/destiny moments – the designs released by Angell Wyller Aarseth, cookware titled “Handle Me” was a critical success, winning an award for best accessories. That was the moment that Helling asked them to collaborate with Benhardt Design. Be it fate, destiny or luck, Oslo’s debut at the 2013 London Design Festival ensures Helling maintains his title as a genius explorer of talent and marks the beginning of a new relationship between these exciting designers and furniture manufacture.