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Studio visit Kastel

What is it like to work as a creative in Norway, today?

We are in the middle of a revolution on so many levels in terms of technology, ethics and sustainability. This is probably the most terrifying and exciting time to work in this field. Ultimately, I think this reinforces our desire to do better, and fills us with a sense of purpose that motivates us on a whole new level. Maybe it can be compared to skydiving; incredibly scary, but with a beautiful view. And hopefully, we will soon land on our feet more in touch with our earth than ever before.


Why are sustainable practices so important to Norwegian designers?

I don't think it is more important to Norwegian designers than to anyone else. I am also unsure if Norwegians are doing a better job at it. But I do think it is in our nature to be more rational in terms of design, and I hope we can use this advantage when designing for a more sustainable future. I think moving forward, we need to become better at deciding when it is time to make a statement, and when it is time to make a difference.


What is your view of Norwegian design in a global perspective?

The world is increasingly moving in a value based direction, and I think this is something that is already well established in Norwegian culture. As our neighbours, Sweden and Denmark, have excelled in many cultural fields, such as fashion and furniture design, we were too busy staying alive in our harsh Nordic climate as one of the poorest countries in the world (100 years ago). I think this frugal lifestyle has left its mark on us culturally, even as we developed as a country. This can be beneficial when the entire world is moving in a more sustainable and inclusive direction. I hope this can be the new golden age of Norwegian design.


What motivated you to found Kastel?

Initially, we started this brand because sneakers were mostly designed and developed for countries with much warmer weather conditions. We wanted to wear all-year sneakers too, but all too often just wound up wet and cold. At the time, our only alternatives were rugged mountain boots or rubber boots, none of which really appealed to us, so we decided to make our own sneakers suited for any weather condition.


What does a day in the studio look like for you?

Every day is like a lottery. One day we will visit a farm to meet the sheep who will provide wool for our next shoe collection, and the next we are testing what blend of beeswax will be more water resistant and flexible. To be honest, I think we are consistently doing less design and more research these days. Although aesthetics are important, I think the focus moving forward needs to be centered around utility, and reducing social and environmental impact. These are changes hard to make from behind a drawing board.

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