Detail of “Thor's Battle Against the Jötnar”

Norway Nasjonaldagen at ICFF

Say My Name table lamp by Northern Lighting
The Say My Name table lamp, designed by Morten & Jonas for Northern Lighting. Image by Kristofer Johnsson.

I’m in New York City attending ICFF with my client Global Lighting and Northern Lighting from Norway. Tuesday just happens to be Norway’s Constitution Day, which commemorates the signing of the country’s constitution at Eidsvoll on May 17, 1814. The day in the Norwegian dialect is called syttende mai, meaning May 17th, or Nasjonaldagen, The National Day.


Birdy table lamp by Northern Lighting at ICFF
The Birdy table lamp in Marsala, designed by midcentury modern maestro Birger Dahl in 1952, is reintroduced by Northern Lighting. Image by Chris Tonnensen.


Norway Nasjonaldagen at ICFF


I am not expecting to see any Norwegian national costumes, the bunad—which differ from region to region, and are inspired by the country’s folk costumes from the 18th and 19th centuries—but I am thrilled I will be meeting the visionaries behind the Northern Lighting brand exhibiting within Insidenorway today. The images in this post are of their light fixtures on view at the fair and I must say seeing the design talent they are drawing to their brand has me believing they will be leaving a strong design legacy when all is said and done.


The Buddy Table lamp in celebration of Nasjonaldagen
The Buddy table lamp, designed by Mads Sætter-Lassen for Northern Lighting.


Until yesterday, I’d never met anyone from that great northern country, but I did fanaticize a couple into the region during a subway ride one day. I’ll leave you with the resulting literary travel meditation as I scamper off to more design events. I’ll be Instagramming if you care to follow along.


Thor wades through a river while the Æsir ride across the bridge Bifröst in celebration of Nasjonaldagen
Thor wades through a river while the Æsir ride across the bridge Bifröst, by Frølich (1895). Image courtesy of WikiMedia.


A Hint of Norway on the NYC Subway


A statuesque couple towered above everyone standing near them on the subway. Their icy blue eyes glinted behind stylish rimless glasses and their fair skin glowed bisque-like against tawny fur and amber leather, even in the feeble light of the late-day train. They were so magnificently tall it seemed to me they must have descended from Norse gods with powerful names like Thor and Radgrid, a fantasy I couldn’t shake as I watched their consideration of the surrounding passengers, a train full of the slumped, weary regulars on the red line at the end of any given winter workday in New York City.


Detail of “Thor's Battle Against the Jötnar”
Detail of “Thor’s Battle Against the Jötnar” (1872) by Mårten Eskil Winge. Image courtesy WikiMedia.


Theirs was an out-of-placeness that conjured chill breezes and snow-bound tundras, the incredibly chic places where unhurried specimens of humanity wear fur boots, laced up to their knees, crimping pale-blue denim jeans in a furry flourish as they stroll to lodges for a shot of Akevitt. Each time they searched the car, gazes darting in disparate directions, they mastered the unengaged stare adopted by most subway riders but their expressions softened intimately each time their eyes met. A slight curl would tease at the corners of his mouth and she would tighten her hand on his sleeve ever so slightly, her manicured nails impressing the spongy crinkled cowhide in the inside crook of his bent arm. I wanted them to speak so I could hear their voices—would their utterances have been staccato sentences or fluid phrases? If they had spoken, what would she have asked of him? What would he have wanted from her?

The Diary of an Improvateur and this literary travel entry © Saxon Henry, all rights reserved. Saxon is an author, poet and journalist, as well as a contributor to Architizer. Her books include Anywhere But Here, Stranded on the Road to Promise and Four Florida Moderns. Global Lighting is an adroyt client but the association in no way swayed the opinions contained within this post.

Say My Name pendant, designed by Morten & Jonas for Northern Lighting celebrates Nasjonaldagen
Say My Name pendant, designed by Morten & Jonas for Northern Lighting. Image by Kristofer Johnsson.

You can find the lighting featured in this post on the Global Lighting site.

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