Kristine Five Melvær

NORWAY (1984)

Oslo-based Kristine Five Melvær chose to study design “because I considered it the most interesting intersection between my creative and analytical skills.” She earned a master’s degree in industrial design from the Oslo School of Architecture and Design in 2008 and a master’s in visual communication from the Oslo National Academy of the Arts in 2012. She also did an exchange year to study architecture at The Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts. “I’ve had an interest in making things from as early as I can remember. Creativity had a central place in our home, since my father was very creative and loved to include his three kids in the process.”


Melvær’s focus is the intersection of and communication between industrial design and graphic design. “I often combine the two disciplines through three-dimensional objects with graphic motives. And I’m very concerned with the communicational function of my objects.” Indeed, she sees the potential for an emotional connection to develop between her products and their users. In searching for that connection, she creates objects that combine a sensual element with Scandinavian simplicity.


Her work is an eclectic mix of graphic design, furniture, lighting, tableware, glassware, pillows and blankets, including the Mikkel Throw (2015), a design that according to Melvær “combines inspiration from the Bauhaus movement and Norwegian traditional weaving on one side with a contemporary and exploratory use of color on the other.” Much of her work is textile based, such as flowing fabric room dividers and a lamp with textile “skins”; other pieces are fanciful, such as lampshades shaped like flower buds and vase-style lights that double as trinket holders and decorative objects. Says Melvær, “My objective is to design products that enrich the user in everyday life and last for generations.”


Melvær has worked with many renowned European producers. She was the first Scandinavian designer to collaborate with Belgian company When Objects Work, creating a series of bowls, vases and soap dishes in glass, marble and wood. She also designs colorful glass vessels in nontraditional shapes for Norwegian manufacturer Magnor Glassverk. And her poster series Colour Fold is created in collaboration with Danish cooperative Paper Collective, which donates 10 percent of sales to causes chosen by its artists – in Melvær’s case, Project Nanhi Kali, supporting education for underprivileged girls in India.


Melvær received the Riedel Award for her glasswork in 2014 and won Best Textiles in the 2015 International Contemporary Furniture Fair Editors Awards for the Mikkel Throw. A prototype of her Ray Lamp, with the textile skin shade, was part of the VitraHaus exhibition in 2012.

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