A Stavanger designer's best recommendations for Stavanger
“We’re tackling the problem of plastic pollution in our oceans,” says designer and founder Lars Urheim of Ope.
They have set a target of producing as much sustainable furniture as possible and designed a system in 2014 where you can click together components into larger modules without using any tools. Ope primarily manufactures furniture for offices. Such as room dividers, seating and shelving. But they can also be used as TV stands, sideboards or bookshelves etc., in homes.
“When you don’t need them anymore, you can reassemble the parts into something else. Or return them to us and get your deposit back. You can also rent furniture.”
After taking part in a clearing up operation along the fjord, Ope was invited to do something with all the material. Could the plastic they had collected actually be used?
“We didn't think it could be done. Then we received a grant from the Research Council of Norway research and innovation program and together with furniture manufacturers Vestre and Fjord Fiesta, we asked the independent Norwegian research organization Sintef to help us research into the technical properties of ocean plastics.”
He shows us examples of ocean plastics such as polypropylene and glass fiber from ground up pieces of thermoset plastic.
“It's all problem waste, but Sintef managed to mix the glass fiber into a plastic raw material that was able to be molded into shapes and tested. This showed it could be used.”
Ocean plastics don’t necessarily have the same qualities as “virgin” plastic as the plastic has become weathered.
“But once we know what properties it has, we can design products that can be made from it.”
Ope has joined forces with garden furniture manufacturer Vestre and waste company IVAR.
“With the support of the Norwegian Retailers’ Environment Fund, we are going to create a value chain for ocean plastics ‘From beach to boardroom’. And inspire others to join us in the great cleanup.”
“Along the beaches of the west coast of Norway, you can gain inspiration and take part in environment projects,” says Urheim.
Here are the designer's recommendations for Stavanger:
“You can spend a whole weekend in this colorful street,” says Urheim. The street is actually called Øvre Holmegate, but everyone knows it as Color Street thanks to all the small, turquoise and pink houses. There are many cafes, bars and stores along the street. The passageway was originally an ordinary Stavanger street with white houses and cobblestones, but according to the Norwegian broadcasting company website, a hairdresser called Tom Kjørsvik had the idea of painting the houses in “crazy” colors. He thought the street was dull and boring otherwise. If everything is painted in new colors, people will come just to have a look, he decided. And that's what happened.“There are bars and restaurants for every taste here,” says Urheim. “But the street is about more than the sum of its parts and its identity. The street tells a story of modern Stavanger.”
Øvre Holmegate, Stavanger
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The streets in Stavanger are full of energy, satirical comments and colors. The city has long been a stage for artists who use walls as their canvas. The Nuart festival has been arranged in the city since 2001. “Nuart offers you an opportunity to see another side of the city,” says Urheim. The festival invites artists from all round the world, along with Norwegian artists. Both the municipality and the local enterprise sector are involved.
Learn to surf at Borestranden
“The beach is easy to access and you can surf off this beautiful sandy beach without worrying about sharp rocks or pebbles. It's really exhausting, but a fantastic way to experience the coast.” You can combine a surfing course here with a trip along the coast.
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“What’s Brewing is a small, annual beer festival where you can sample beers from expert brewers. The people behind it work with design and concepts and manage to come up with a new angle every single year.” “Is the beer good.” “You bet.”
Clearing the beaches is naturally something close to Urheim's heart. “CleanShores is a voluntary organization that clears beaches. They are very active and offer you another way to experience the coast.”
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“This trip along Nordsjøvegen/Highway 44 between Sola and Egersund is Norway's answer to Highway 1 in California. Or maybe Highway 1 is their answer to this stretch,” says Urheim. “Watching how the weather changes on the horizon is a spectacular sight.”
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Published: January 13, 2020