Imeüble by Bjørn Jørund Blikstad

Bjørn Jørund Blikstad's MDes graduation project Imeüble was an immediate hit with the design world.

This month sees the release of our forthcoming title Masterclass: Interior Design. The book will be available to pre-order soon and to give a taster of what awaits readers, we dive into one of the alumnus interviews with a fountain of advice to future students.

Frame's Masterclass series is steadily making a mark for itself, with each title featuring up to 30 graduate schools offering master's degree courses in a certain subject area. One of the (many) great things about this book series is that readers get a sense of what life is really like at the featured schools and, to shed light on this, last month we extracted various Q&As that feature in the forthcoming new title (see here).

Now we have caught up with Bjørn Jørund Blikstad, a successful alumnus who graduated in 2009 from one of the featured schools (Oslo National Academy of the Arts, KHIO), to talk about his graduation project and about how life has treated him since he entered the world of design. 

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What has life been life since graduation?
Tough and easy. Fantastic and difficult. I’m building workshops at two different locations, and also teaching at the academy (KHIO) and doing design jobs and producing stuff.

Why did you choose KHIO in the first place?
There is a very exciting mix of tutors there. On one hand you have the Norwegian and Scandinavian design tradition, with a strong anchor in arts and crafts, and on the other hand there’s an international staff with more focus on academic rigour. The mix of these and addition of an anthropologist makes it an exciting place to study to become a designer of artefacts and spaces.

What was the most important thing you learned there?
Discursive discussion, and craft techniques.

What was your graduation project?
A search for a non-symbolic design for the storage and retrieval of personal flat stuff (books, texts and imagery). A conceptual comparison of the link between physical storage capabilities and mental storage capacity resulted in various designs, including the geometrical storage solution Imeüble.

What was the inspiration, and how did you go about taking this from a school project to a viable product?
Imeüble began as a pure idea that was never actually intended for the market, only for myself and the examiners. Mine was a rather different master's degree project and I thought I had to make some 'design' to impress the examiners. After the graduation show, the shelving system was picked up by other exibitions and was on the road basically for 2 years. Meanwhile the 'internet demanded a product'. That was at least my impression. I tried different manufacturers but it seemed very difficult to produce. Many gave up. The technical drawings had the same optical illusions and funny effects on the different developers.

How did you go about getting a manufacturer?
It took us 2 years to finally find a producer that could manage to produce Imeüble to the quality level that the design deserved. Now Imeüble is distributed to galleries, architects and private homes all around the world via Worksby.

How did Imeüble progress – did it inspire you to create other products?
From my perspective, there is still a lot of unused potential in the idea expressed with Imeüble. The shelving system is only one of many solutions to the same concept. Personally, together with other designers, I’m still very interested in geometrical patterns and constructions and their potential usability.

Your geometric design made the cover Wallpaper* magazine in January 2010 – how did that impact on your life/career path?
I think that did a lot… The overwhelming response from around the world in the aftermath of this magazine cover was what triggered the production of Imeüble and enabled me to deliver it to the market.

Any words of advice for future students?
Listen to all your tutors and make consistent decisions based upon your intuition.

Photos courtesy of the designer.

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The new book will be available for pre-order later this month: watch this space!
In the meantime, you can view our earlier titles in the series following these links: 

Masterclass: Architecture

Masterclass: Fashion&Textiles

Masterclass: Graphic Design

Masterclass: Product Design 

Billboard: Frame Awards
Billboard: Frame Awards

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