Name: Morten Skjærpe Knarrum
Live: Rosenhoff, Oslo with girlfriend Ane (41) and son Arne (1)
Just like the lighting, furniture and interior accessories he is best known for, the home of Northern Design Director, Morten Skjærpe Knarrum is packed with pops of colour and personality.
One half of Norway’s best-known design duos Morten & Jonas, and a regular of TV2 makeover show ‘Tid For Hjem’, we visited Morten at his apartment in Oslo to find out more about him, his family and his home.
I’ve been told I have a playful style and I like nothing more than experimenting with colour, contrast and materials.
Let’s begin with your back story. Where did you grow up, and where did your love for design come from?
“I grew up in on the southwest coast of Norway in Jæren surrounded by open skies, wide horizons and lots of family. The oldest of three curious and creative brothers, we were always up to something and constantly pushing boundaries.
Thankfully my father and grandfather both had this same relentless spirit, channelling their energy into the roads and buildings they constructed, as well as the wooden furniture and other smaller objects they made in their spare time. Seeing them bring their ideas to life every day really affected me, and I’m sure it’s why I ended up working in design.”
How would you describe your interior design style and how has your home evolved to reflect this?
“Perhaps not surprisingly, I’ve been told I have a playful style and I like nothing more than experimenting with colour, contrast and materials. I draw inspiration from the people and places that surround me, and this is where there is real coherence between my work and my home.
When we first moved here, we completely stripped the apartment back and started again, and it was while on a trip to Lisboa that I got the idea for the tiled fireplace. It is such a ‘good mood’ city, and I loved the patterned tiles that covered the houses there. With its mix of matt and shiny, the soft shadows and reflections these tiles cast across our living space never fail to stop me in my tracks.”
Fast-forward to now, where do you live and how long have you lived there?
“My girlfriend Ane and I have lived in our current home for almost three years now, during which we’ve also welcomed our son Arne.
We live on the east side of Oslo in Rosenhoff and it’s ideal for family life: quiet and centrally located. While our apartment block may be the newest in the area, we are surrounded by lots of older, more traditional buildings and there’s also a large communal allotment just around the corner, which every member of the family benefits from immensely.”
Do you think your surroundings impact the work you create, and if so, how?
“Definitely. Even if at first it may not seem obvious. For example, our Tradition Pendant lamp is inspired by the shape of the glass jellyfish I saw everywhere on holiday as a child. We always spent our summers by the sea, fishing, bathing, and playing in the water and these beautiful creatures are commonly found along the Norwegian coast.
This distinct and decorative design, just like the jellyfish themselves, have a super thin structure made from metal and are covered in a delicate knitted polyester which makes them appear as if they are floating in the air.”
What is your favourite room and what pieces hold the most significance?
“If I had to choose a favourite spot, it would have to be our kitchen and dining area. This part of the apartment gets so much natural light flooding through, and we just find it such a calming space to be in.
Taking pride of place on the countertop is a solid pine cutting board my father made when he began wood carving over forty years ago. Our dining table and collection of chairs, all by some of my favourite designers, make the perfect centrepiece. We very much enjoy our family time sat around it eating and talking, with of course lots of cosy candlelight too.”
Finally, can you describe what ‘home’ means to you?
“Like many people my home is my sanctuary and where I can truly be myself. It’s my place to rest, relax and recharge, as well as a place where family and friends are always warmly welcomed.”