Norstaal, one of Norway’s most famous and well-known design companies, has been ahead of its peers for most of its lifespan. What started out as an entrepreneurial man’s dream turned into a family-owned business that shaped the world of design with it’s front-running design ideas from some of the world’s best designers, starting with “Maya” designed by Tias Eckhoff in 1962.
45 years later, on May 15th 2007, Norstaal is yet again evolving and reaching a new milestone – it will join forces with the brand-design-house Stelton A/S. This generation-shift is part of both companies’ strategy to strengthening the Scandinavian way within the world of design.
Norwegian Finn Henriksen was a man with determination, when he founded Norsk Stålpress AS in 1947, later to be simply called Norstaal. Located in Bergen, Henriksen focused early on creating Scandinavian design with a human touch. The concept proved to be right and soon, Norstaal grew to be the only Scandinavian producer of stainless steel cutlery designed by world-renowned artists.
At the same time that Norstaal grew big, another Norwegian appeared on the design-scene, Tias Eckhoff, who is today regarded as one of Norway’s best designers. Finn Henriksen approached Eckhoff in the beginning of the 60s, requesting a totally new stainless steel cutlery series. The result was “Maya” in 1962 and has been Norstaal?s bestseller since then.
Norwegian Design Highlights
Today, Maya is regarded as a pearl in Norwegian design and recently voted by Phaidon as one of the 999 best design icons worldwide. It is also exhibited in most of the well-known museums around the world such as MoMA in new York and The Victoria and Albert museum in London.
Based on this early success, Tias Eckhoff designed other outstanding cutlery series for Norstaal, among others “Una” in 1973, which was even awarded ‘royal’ status, as the associates of the Norwegian Royal Court gave a complete Una-line as their personal gift to the Norwegian Crown Prince Couple on the day of their wedding in 2001.
During the years, Norstaal engaged other famous designers, such as the American-design pioneer Don Wallance, who created “Aztec” and “Magnum” in the mid- to late-Sixties. These cutlery series are today part of Don Wallance’s complete design archive exhibited in the permanent collection of The Cooper-Hewitt Museum in New York.
In 2004, “Capelano” designed by Norway’s “Designer of the Year 2002″ Johan Verde, represented the latest addition to the long line of design classics and can be seen as the young rebel with its unique form-language. The twisting form between handle and blade being an often copied feature, although without rival.
A new milestone
At the turn of the year in 2006, the daughter of Finn Henriksen and now Managing Director of Norstaal, Kari Helen Bell, was looking for a new set-up for what can be seen today the gemstone of Norwegian Design. Norstaal shall grow even further and expand its presence, not only in Scandinavia, but also in the rest of the world.
Together with Michael Ring, majority owner and Managing Director of the brand-design-house Stelton A/S, the two put their heads together and came to the conclusion that yet another generation-shift and growth-stage can be achieved by adopting Norstaal as one of Stelton’s product lines, benefiting from the sales and marketing power of Stelton’s brand-positioning.
On May 15th 2007, this generation-shift will officially take place and a new milestone for Norstaal is reached. The two companies invite on that day press and trade customers for a day-long event, on which the whole new layout of the Stelton norstaal-line is to be presented.
Innovative Shop-in-Shop and marketing material
This includes the new, state-of-the-art Shop-in-Shop system designed by Stelton’s Design Director Mads Surel. The system is probably the most front-running of its kind with perfect viewing angles for consumers and the effect of rusty backgrounds on which the cutlery is placed, highlighting the high-quality Solingen-steel from Germany, of which the design classics are produced.
Also, a brand-new gift-box in A4 format was developed for 4pcs and 16pcs sets of each series. Thus, these are perfect gifts for weddings, birthdays, and similar occasions as well as for storing the cutlery itself, for filing important papers and, possible due to a magnetic sealing, for positioning the box alongside your favourite books in the bookshelf. Each gift box also includes a small care instruction leaflet, so consumers are not left without good tips on how to take care of their new Stelton norstaal cutlery.
Finally, design lovers will be able to pick up the new Stelton norstaal brochure featuring high-gloss images of each of the 8 different lines, including Stelton’s famous EM-series designed by Erik Magnussen, now also part of Stelton norstaal. The brochure includes detailed info about each designer, the form-languages and the available parts within each series.