ÅBEN: The Gateway to Sustainable Nordic Design
ABBA, IKEA, the Skarsgård brothers: Nordic countries have given the world so much. But perhaps their biggest contribution to the global cultural landscape is the minimalist aesthetic. Brands like MENU and Muuto have led the way with purposeful objects that embody quality and beauty along with functionality. Now, a new online studio and retailer called ÅBEN, launched in August, is contributing to the movement by providing a digital space for up-and-coming makers in Scandinavia to share Nordic designs focusing on sustainability and craftsmanship.
ÅBEN is the brainchild of David Harrigan, a former lawyer whose devotion to design and passion for fostering new talent prompted him to look to universities in Copenhagen, Stockholm, and Helsinki to find young designers in need of a creative outlet. Currently, the ÅBEN roster of eight designers focus their palettes on wood, glass, and ceramics. Through the prism of ÅBEN, Harrigan explored people, place, and culture across the Nordic countries, translating what he found into a portal through which people can connect with makers and trace the lineage of the piece they are acquiring.
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