Interdesign Norway 1979

Design for Small and Medium-sized Industries

By the late 1970s, there was still no formal industrial design training in Norway, designers emerged from disciplines such as engineering, architecture, and graphics. The profession was not very widespread and the Norwegian Group of Industrial Designers (NGID) comprised only about 50 people. 

With the intention to promote the use of industrial designers in small industries and illustrate the remarkable skills that this profession has available, an Interdesign was organized by the Norwegian Council of Industrial Design (NCID) under the theme ‘Design for Small and Medium-sized Industries’. Held at the Park Hotel in Voss, planning for the event had begun a year earlier when a core of 10 designers was divided into two groups: one ‘theoretical’ and the other ‘organizational’, under the responsibility of Knut Andersen who with difficulty had obtained the necessary funds from Norway’s Ministry of Industry. Terje Meyer, then-president of the NGID, produced an organizational structure for the Interdesign together with the “organizational group”. The theoretical group,on the other hand, was responsible for selecting the criteria on which the choice of participating producers was made. 14 companies were selected with concrete problems that could be solved in 14 days. They were companies employed in the fields of mechanics, electricity and electronics, metallurgy and plastics. They had no experience in using industrial designers. 

The Voss Interdesign was the first to address the specific needs of individual maintainers, proposing practical solutions. The aim was to develop specific products for these small businesses suited to the particular needs of each, which could be the basis for further future cooperation. The applicants, 30 total, of which half were Norwegian, were asked which of the products of the selected manufacturers they preferred not to work on. They were then divided into five groups of five components each, to work directly with companies, and by the end of the Interdesign, 10 had already declared their intention to continue the work into the future.