Norse Interiors, the Brooklyn studio that makes custom replacement pieces for IKEA storage, is debuting its first-ever furniture collection. The brand can transform the IKEA Besta cabinet into a thousand different iterations across seven colorways.
Norse Interiors founder Lotta Lundaas tells EAL about her influences and IKEA experiences, and lets us know what’s next for her burgeoning brand:
What does it mean to be Scandinavian? How does IKEA—and, now, Norse—communicate that value?
A typical Scandinavian value is functionality. Form and function need to go together, to create an efficient way of living. The systems from IKEA are super modular, which allows you to build any size or form by putting different cabinets together.
Then, we’re empowering customers to be the designers, turning the furniture into bespoke works of art. Norse offers replacement pieces, like doors, sides, tops that fit existing IKEA cabinets. You don’t have to get the sides and tops, but they create a beautiful frame so that all pieces, including the doors, match, making your furniture look like one cohesive unit in the same color and material. All components, including the accessories, make it possible to create 1,000-plus unique pieces.
We’ve also spent a lot of time with the functionality of our website, to make the shopping experience simple and enjoyable. Usually, when you want a custom piece, it takes months to produce, and you need intimate knowledge of the design process. With Norse, the customers just pick the components they like and get them delivered to their doorstep with assembly instructions, which even a DIY rookie will understand.
When it comes to aesthetics, Scandinavian design is defined by simple lines that are easy to integrate into any kind of room. When developing our designs, we strived to create something uncomplicated but with a contemporary feel to it. They span from refined, elegant patterns to more playful, and the color palette is dominated by neutral colors—calm, muted tones of white, gray, pale green and pink, which is a trademark for Scandinavian design.
Lastly, Scandinavia has always been in the forefront when it comes to sustainability, and this is something that Norse embodies. The idea behind Norse is to upcycle/retrofit IKEA furniture, which will increase that piece’s lifespan instead of having it end up in a landfill. We also only work with material that is green-building compliant, certified to the SFI (Sustainable Forestry Initiative), which assures that it comes from responsible sources, compliant with sustainable forestry standards.
Also, all our manufacturing is local, which means that these products haven’t traveled halfway across the world, leaving an unnecessary environmental footprint. Finally, we use IKEA as a basis for our products, and IKEA is working actively to promote the concept of “sustainable lives at homes,” coming up with innovative products that use less energy, save and recycle water, and reduce waste. By 2020, IKEA aims to become completely self-sufficient, consuming only clean energy from wind, solar and other renewable resources.
What are some of your most popular pieces to date?
The most popular piece is the storage cabinet with two doors (47 by 15 by 25 inches), which is based on an IKEA Besta frame that costs $60. When it comes to patterns, the Eleanor is, so far, the most favored one, followed by Eva. People tend to go more classic when it comes to colors, where white (White Lace) and the two different shades of gray (Perfect Gray and Iconic Iron) are dominating. My personal favorite is the Classy Navy, which is a rich navy that has a very luxurious feel to it.
How are you getting the word out?
In everything we do, the customer is the focal point. As I mentioned, we want to empower the customers to be the designers of their dream piece of furniture, and there is nothing we like more than seeing these creations. That’s why we encourage customers to share these with us, either directly on social media, by sending photos to email@example.com or by using #norseinteriors. We want these pieces to be an inspiration to others and show how versatile our products are. By adding different components, you can custom your storage cabinet or TV stand exactly to your personal style, as far from the cookie-cutter style as possible.
We are also collaborating with some fantastic interior designers, and we have some exciting partnerships which we’ll announce later this summer. Obviously, it doesn’t hurt to have industry media outlets, like Editor at Large, featuring our brand and products in the right context.
Do you plan to offer pieces for any other IKEA items in addition to Besta?
Yes, we do. In late fall, we’re planning on introducing a new product line, which will be based on another IKEA system. We want to give customers choices, which is why we’ll keep adding patterns and colors to the existing collection, as well as launch new product lines based on other IKEA frames. Our goal is to be able to offer a Norse product for every room in a home.