Martin Høgh Olsen
My name is Martin Høgh. I am a Norwegian/Dane, and I got my education as a product designer at The Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts. After many years in the retail/project-end of the design industry, and really liking it, while balancing a freelance existence in the other end, I decided to combine the best of everything I knew and start a company. HØGH came to life in 2015, as a small scale manufacturer of contemporary design based in Norway. HØGH now offers a small collection of objects, characterized by clear composition and functional form. Pursuing longevity through a reductive approach in high quality materials. By teaming up with what I see as the protagonists of new Norwegian architecture, and creatives from disciplines outside the traditional field of product design, I wish to engage in a continuous synthesis of ideas. Leading to new volumes, rigor and tactility. Natural materials and surfaces are balanced with precision, and functionality with an affection for pure spatial exploration.
An important vehicle for the project are the FORMAT LIGHTS. These are tiny houses emitting a purely atmospheric light, while echoing the lines and proportions of new Norwegian architecture. An experiment where idea, form and scale changes format. The lamps embody buildings, or fragments of buildings, and kindle a play with the elements of volume, light and shadow. Becoming glowing icons of new Norwegian form. Each year a new office gets to do one lamp, with a one year lifespan. So far – Transborder Studio, Vardehaugen and Sanden+Hodnekvam, have done each their design. With the latter launching this fall. Aluminum, stainless steel, oak and walnut, as well as a small, but well curated palette of colours, forms the basis of the collection. For the production, HØGH works closely integrated with selected workshops in Norway and abroad, and adheres to environmental acceptability throughout the process.
Being based in the old city of Trondheim, a part of Norway with as good as no tradition for design, I usually relate to a historical backdrop of old cathedrals and wooden coastal architecture. Finding this both confusing as well as calming. So while missing the crowd, I do believe in keeping a healthy distance to the most frenetic trends and elusive traits of the industry. And you also get the time and space to clear your mind. It’s not such a bad idea.
HØGH has since its launch shown at exhibitions in Milan, London and Oslo. As well as in publications such as ICON, Wallpaper and Nytt Rom. In addition to this collection, Martin Høgh Olsen provides product- and lighting design consultancy through martinhoegh.net, as well as being an assistant professor at the Faculty of Architecture and Design – at NTNU in Trondheim.