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A lesson in Scandinavian sustainability with Nedre Foss.

Norwegian homeware studio Nedre Foss is so invested in sustainability that it coined a term to reflect its objectives: the “century product”—an object built to last 100 years and remain significant just as long. Here, the studio’s co-founder and creative director, Torbjørn Anderssen, talks about looking beyond trends for the sake of the future.

Why is sustainability more important than trends?
One doesn’t necessarily rule the other out, but they can become opposites. If something is nothing but trendy, you’ll probably want to get rid of it pretty quickly. A trend can obscure the actual object, like a coat you throw on over it. Speaking from our own experience, it’s an easy trap to fall into.

Is there a place for trends in timeless design?
The spirit of a moment will always make an impression on an object. Our focus on “century products” is most likely part of an ongoing trend. If you look at Achille Castiglioni’s works, for instance, they were very much expressions of his time. Yet they continue to be meaningful because they are unique representations of unique content. It’s not that a Nedre Foss item shouldn’t be trendy. We just believe that sculptural quality surpasses shifting fads.

What are the hallmarks of timeless design?
A timeless object stays relevant by inherently inviting different people to read it in different ways over time.

  • Words:
    MacKenzie Lewis Kassab
  • Photography:
    Lasse Fløde

Is there anything you have to sacrifice for an object’s longevity?
There’s a physical aspect and an emotional aspect that contribute to the longevity of an object. Physically, solidity is important to us—in terms of a continuous shape in one material, and in terms of sheer mass. We choose materials and surfacing that age well, or no surfacing at all. From an emotional point of view, it is impossible to ensure an object will stay relevant for 100 years. We approach that problem by choosing categories that have been a part of our collective culture for centuries. We draw inspiration from a timeline that stretches well before modernism and the birth of the industry.

Does your interest in sustainability extend to other parts of your life?
I’m not really a slow living kind of guy. However, we only bring high-quality objects into our home. I don’t have a car, and I walk a lot, and I spend a lot of time cooking.

Your objects are meant to be used for generations. Do you have any prized possessions that have been passed down to you?
No, my parents are very much alive and keep their possessions close! [Laughs] However, one of my most cherished items is a small brown bear figurine carved from pine wood. I don’t know the origin because it came from a thrift shop in Arvika, Sweden. It holds a mysterious sadness that I love.

This story originally appeared on Skandiastyle.com

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