ÅBEN creates a bridge between emerging talent in the nordics and a clientele seeking a deeper engagement with the objects with which they surround themselves. Through the prism of design we explore people, place and culture.
Our reasons for being
ÅBEN brings you the next generation of Nordic design on a modern platform dedicated to intelligent innovation and considered craftmanship. Our handpicked designers share an unmistakably Nordic aesthetic, but each one brings something different, an edge that makes them remarkable. ÅBEN is a new space for their work and for customers chasing a deeper engagement with design.
At ÅBEN, modern innovation brings you closer to design. We know how technology can alienate and foster anonymity – but we’ve harnessed it to create an intimacy between maker, design and customer. Each commissioned piece comes with the story of how it was made and why.
As the climate crisis deepens we’re working to create products that last, using ethically-sourced materials. ÅBEN is passionate about presenting pieces designed to be with you for life. Sustainability is a founding motivation that weaves together the way we work and who we work with. ÅBEN designers are chosen not only for their brilliance, but because their working practices reflect our commitment to the environment.
ÅBEN means Open. By opening this gateway to the Nordics, we’re giving global access to inspired, independent design; creating a live connection to the entire design process, from the genesis of an idea through to the final, perfect piece.
A NEW BEGINNING
At ÅBEN we are providing a route to market that has never existed before. This path leads from exceptionally talented Nordic designers directly to ÅBEN customers worldwide.
SIMPLICITY & PURITY
ÅBEN’s design talent doesn’t need embellishment, so we’ve pared everything back, creating a space for the work and the story behind it. There’s enough noise in life, ÅBEN is a place for reflection.
TAKING CARE OF THE WORLD
No-one can remain blinkered to the need for change in our society. Each of us has the power to look at our own lives and make a small adjustment. We launched ÅBEN with the goals of sustainability firmly to the fore.
We like telling the story of design; provenance is as captivating to us as the finished product. We’ve formed a personal relationship with our designers and we want our customers to do the same.
TRADITIONAL VALUES: REIMAGINED
True craft is timeless; we utilise modern technology to connect with the substance of craft. The transparent partnership with our designers builds trust in both the quality of the design and the entire process from the workshop to your home.
QUALITY WITH MEANING
We’ve spent a long time in the Nordics finding the brilliant few that make up our Founding Designers. Each one was handpicked for the exceptional quality of their work and their dedication to function, innovation and sustainability. Every last detail matters.
Environmental & Social Responsibility
SLOW IT DOWN
The speed with which we can satisfy our consumer needs has become bewildering and unsustainable. At ÅBEN we advocate for slow-craftmanship and conscious consumerism. We’re taking the time to introduce you to each of our designers because we think that’s important. We want you to know who made the piece you love and why they made it – we suspect it might make you love the work even more.
PARE IT BACK
ÅBEN provides a direct route to the work of emerging Nordic designers, creating a hassle-free way of discovering and receiving fantastic pieces. Not everyone has the resources to track down the most exciting new talent out there, we have, and we’ve streamlined the whole process to make it as environmentally aware as possible.
Transparency at all points means our customers know exactly where their products are coming from, how they are made and who is making them. This basic knowledge has been a black hole in consumer culture for too long.
DESIGNED FOR LIFE
One of the things you will notice about ÅBEN’s stories of design, is how much thought our designers put into the shelf-life of their work. They think about what the product will look like in 10 or 20 years because they know it will last that long and have designed it to be with you for life. Functionality is key to ÅBEN, we’re not interested in things that serve no purpose – we present the most beautiful functionality.
FRAMEWORK FOR CHANGE
From launch our designers will use only FSC certified wood in their work. Local, sustainable wood has long been a defining feature of Nordic design; it’s one of our favourite aspects of its design culture. For every product sold on ÅBEN we will be planting at least one tree in partnership with One Tree Planted. We have a clear vision of how we want ÅBEN to grow. One of our key missions is to be 100% carbon neutral by 2022. This is something we have been working towards since the inception of ÅBEN and we will continue to fight until it is achieved.
There has been a lot of conversation about how effective making changes in our consumer habits can be. We think every small change has an impact, it can be a stepping-stone to bigger action. At ÅBEN we believe the combination of how we choose to operate and how we encourage our customers to think about their purchasing - might prove to be a powerful partnership.
ÅBEN has created a stage for a new generation of Nordic designers and is committed to the evolution of their talent. ÅBEN’s designers have been handpicked for the exceptional quality of their work, attention to detail and commitment to sustainability. Finding these designers became something of a personal mission for ÅBEN Founder David Harrigan. He spoke with lecturers, students and leading figures in the wider design community before selecting the most gifted, curious and inspiring makers to join ÅBEN.
David created ÅBEN so others, like him, could find work from emerging product designers and side-step the mainstream design channels that were failing to champion new talent. David was determined to create a bridge from the Nordics to design-lovers all over the world: “The fragmented nature of the digital marketplace meant these truly brilliant and ambitious creatives were often lost.”
ÅBEN’s goal is to bring to market the very best of new Nordic design, but we want to do it the right way. We are committed to using sustainable materials, progressive techniques and fearless thinking to deliver a more contemporary approach to Nordic design. ÅBEN takes its responsibility to people and the planet seriously, and we are passionate about making functional products which not only balance the contrasts of life, but also celebrate the human and cultural qualities of the pieces we create for our customers.
David’s work as a media lawyer has taken him from Australia to Luxembourg, Hong Kong to London. His journey into the Nordics is the fulfilment of a private passion, and brings to the global market young artisans who openly explore design; bringing the freshest of perspectives and the most authentic work possible.