Landing at Oslo airport is an experience Norway design in itself – the Norwegian capital boasts a spectacular location between the sea and the forests, the fjords and the mountains. Oslo begins where the famous ski jumping hill Holmenkollbakken sits enthroned on the slopes above the city. Anybody catching the tram from the centre of town finds himself, after a trip lasting only 20 minutes, right in the heart of nature, close to rambling trails and cross – country ski runs. “I wouldn’t want to live in any other town”, says Norway’s currently most prominent designer ANDREAS ENGESVIK. At his office in a yellow turn-of-the-century villa in Oslo’s trendy Frogner district, Andreas conceives tables, chairs, vases, and home accessories for illustrious companies such a e15, iittala, FontanaArtre, Louis Poulsen, Muuto, and Menu. “Oslo is the ideal family town, “he says. “It takes 10 minutes to cycle to the fjord to swim in summer or to drive to the ski slopes in winter. And the cultural scene has come on a great deal in recent years and it now boasts fantastic museums, galleries, and restaurants”. At the ASTRUP FEARNLEY MUSEUM (afmuseet.no), Oslo’s premier address for modern art, we come across Andreas again two days later, showing his children works by Damien Hirst, Richard Prince, and Charles Ray, Opened in 2012, the Renzo Piano-designed building with its attractive exhibition program, museum shop and cafe overlooking the fjord is real crowd-puller in the redeveloped Tjuvholmen neighborhood. Close by the museum, numerous art galleries have taken residence, such as GERHARDSEN GERNER – also with an outpost in Berlin – as well as Norway’s first design hotel, THE THIEF, created by STOKKE AUSTAD, with its luxury spa, Fru K restaurant, and rooftop bar with a panoramic view over the port. It was the emblematic Opera House, opened in 2008, that marked the start of Oslo’s current urban development program with its ambitious major architectural projects surrounding the new main train station, scheduled for completion in 2019. The program includes the new building for the MUNCH MUSEUM, designed by Herreros Arquitectos (to open in 2018), and the BARCODE PROJECT residential complex. This building, designed by prominent Norwegian architects Snøhetta has become one of Oslo’s new landmarks. The iconic edifice of white marble, aluminium and glass juts out of the fjord like an iceberg. Oslo residents and visitors throng the ramps and slopes that form the opera house’s forecourt, parts of its façade and the world’s only accessible opera house roof. They come to relax, read or enjoy the fabulous view out over the water, the city and the mountains. Snøhetta’s masterly design encapsulates just what architecture and design stand for in Norway‘s booming capital – high aestetic standarts, functionality, pragmatism, a democratic and user-oriented design principle – and the accomplished interweaving of nature and culture. Directly opposite the rear of the national theatre is the foremost address for buying unusual Norwegian and Scandinavian designs, NORWAY DESIGN SHOP. At first glance, nobody would guess that this shop, which opened in 1957, boasts a sales area of 1000 square metres. At street level there is department full of tasteful bathroom accessories and children‘s things, high-quality Røros tweed blankets by award-winning designer Kristine Five Melvær, and pieces by Norwegian architects Snøhetta, designers Anderssen & Voll and artist and filmaker Bjarne Melgaard, as well as international contributions form people such as French designer Inga Sempé. In the basement is a splendid stationery departament, along with jewellery, glass, ceramics, fashion, and home accesories by local designers, and other Scandinavian labels, such as Vipp, Muuto, iitala, Marimekko, Hay, and Ferm Living. Other stores for Norway design and gift specialising in Norwegian products, A. HUSEBY & CO selling classic and comtemporary Scandinavian furniture and NORWAY DESIGN SHOP. Grünerløkka or simply „Løkka“, as it is known by insiders, is Oslo‘s equivalent to New Yorks‘s Greenwich Village – young, hip, alternative, and the place to be. Originally a working-class district with old industrial and factory buildings, which, over the past 10 years have been trasnformed into office lofts and apartments, the area on the east bank of the Akerselva now boasts a tempting and seemingly andless array of bars, cafes, and restaurants. On Thorvald Meyersgate you will find a string of falafel restaurants and American diners, coctail bars and coffee shops, vintage stores, and designer boutiques. The southernmost tip opens out onto a quiet little square which for three years has been home to one of the best nad most popular Italian restaurants, TRATTORIA POPOLARE, run by Nevzat Arikan and fifted out by designers Anderssen & Voll. The latter‘s successful interior concept combines Scandinavian and Italina influences into a happy marriage. Espen Voll and Torbjørn Anderssen run one of Norway‘s most successful design firms, creating furnishings and fittings for customers such as Magis and Muuto. They have recently put the finishing touches to their latest restaurant project Nedre Foss Gård with a menu featuring everything from burgers to caviar. A prime example of Norway design, Norwegian functionalism and definitely worth a visit is VILLA STENERSEN. Completed in 1939, the villa, designed by Arne Korsmo, is often mentioned in the same breath as Le Corbusier‘s Villa Savoye in Poissy, Gerrit Rietveld‘s Haus Schröder in Utrecht, and Mies van der Rohe‘s Villa Tugendhat in Brno. The architect‘s client, art collector Rolf E. Stenersen was inspired by Le Corbusier‘s construction principles and wanted a villa with masses of open space for his impressive collections including works by Edvard Munch. In 2014 the National Museum took charge of the building which was need of renovation and currently runs guided tours. Norway design can be found at Restaurant YLAJARI which reopened in 2012 after extensive renovations. Run by award – winning chef Even Ramsvik, it presents itself as a piece of art with its tasteful interior featuring candelabras, stucco ceilings, a natural stone bar, classic Scandinavian designs and contemporary art and offering a unique variety of Norwegian delicacies served on earthenware and china designed by the chef and handmade by Anne Udnes, an Oslo ceramics artist. FUGLEN is an institution in Oslo, having served coffee since 1963. Recently under new owners it has expanded to include a cocktail bar and offer a selection of vintage Nordic furniture and objects from the 1950s and 60s. At APENT BAKERI CAFE, Norwegian pasties and bread – perfect fuel for a long day of design viewings – attract a crowd.