Coffee With Maria Hole, ‘RED Ambassador’ in Norway

Maria is located in Oslo. Noes offers a wide range of marketing services.

Maria is located in Oslo. From her beautiful showroom, Noes offers a wide range of marketing services to design editors and manufacturers in a global furniture industry. Her mission is to communicate the extended value of good design and to bring Spanish modern design to Nordic homes. Good design is good business.

She knows very well Spain and the history of the habitat industry since the economic crisis hit the construction industry in Spain in 2008, disappearing 70% of all actors. Only the best stood. Maria was able to see the void left by others during the years of crisis in Spain, has given rise to a new wave of young designers, entrepreneurs and craftsmen who settle in an environment where the rules are vaguely defined and the will is strong.

Noes represents a selection of best Spanish design brands, all with high standards towards quality, design and social and environmental sustainability. 

I love her slogan!: “Bringing hot design to cold climates”.

 

RED – Hello Maria, how did you start your career in the habitat design sector?

MH – For a long time I thought it was more or less accidental, but looking back, my path to the present looks more obvious. Brought up in the center of Norwegian furniture production, on the west coast of Norway, I have been brought up with a mentality that quality design furniture is a good investment that should last for generations - in comparison to the “buy cheap and throw away” culture that we have witnessed since the early 1990´s. My grandparents were early holiday-makers with a traditional villa in the then rural area outside of  Benidorm, and my childhood summers were spent playing under the almond trees in “casa numero tres”. With a love for the Mediterranean lifestyle I have spent me early adult years working with design furniture both in Spain and in Norway. It all comes down to the love of sunny design.

RED - How do you think the Spanish companies have evolved with which ones you started working?

MH – I find the Spanish brands very eager to reach out. The markets are distinctively different from each other and the survivors in the industry knows that you have to adapt to succeed. I guess the economical down times have made people even more hungry for success.

RED – Is Norway an opportunity market for Spanish habitat design? Are the Spanish brands well known is Scandinavia?

MH – Not well known at all. Therein lies our challenge. The reception is great, and the feedback is that the Spanish design brands have an edge to it that the Nordic doesn’t have. I do believe that the differences are merely strengths and not weaknesses. The design is very easily adaptable to our Nordic spaces, although the signatures, materials and the color schemes are slightly different.

RED - Do you think that the companies in our sector really know how the Norwegian market works? What would you suggest to them?

MH – There is a main difference in Norway compared to the rest of Europe, concerning the contract market. The interior architects of Norway has a solid competence in building spaces for business that simply works, and for that, they have an incredibly strong voice in what businesses purchase when decorating or building new office spaces. The main sales process is thereof more focused on the information to the influencer than a traditional sale towards the purchaser.

Maria Hole Lavopp. Red Ambassador

RED – Scandinavia is recognized for its design culture, what differences do you see with other Southern European countries?

MH – Materials mainly. We do a lot of wood! I guess you use what you have access to. I think each region in Europe has its own quirkiness to it, but with the increased exchange of designers working across borders with brands of all origins, the modern design voice is sounding more and more alike. We travel more and inspiration is infectious, so I think the lines between will just keep fading in the years to come.

RED - Give me some advice you can pass on to design companies that want to introduce their products in Norway.

MH – Remember that Norway is a HUGE country geographically but very small in population. Use someone local that knows both contract and retail to break into the market, and prepare to invest a small amount in branding to get known in the right circuits.

RED – What communication and promotional activities have you been planning for this year 2017?

MH – I am proud to represent Nanimarquina and Treku at Oslo Design Fair in the end of August, and with a baby on the way, I will personally be slowing down for a few months while a substitute runs the daily affairs. A lot of the main activities are daily updates on the website and in social media, and I am happy to see monthly appearances in the various design magazines in Norway.

RED - Finally, give me your favorite design blog, an object and a brand.

MH - 

Blog:

design-milk.com is one of of those that I always come back to for inspiration, and they always have great content.

Object:

I have to say my favorite lamp, Sponge Up! by Potteryproject. A perfect combination of the art of design and engineering made by hand with Spanish terracotta, giving out a beautiful ambient light when lit - exactly what we need in Norway when the dark fall and winter months come upon us.

Brand:

Nanimarquina just keeps on surprising me in the very best way, their professionalism, the warmth of the people and the ethics in production are all areas where they continue to be top of the class. All to the highest quality, with constant innovation and exciting design collaborations with some of the top designers in the industry, makes me proud to represent them in the Norwegian market. 

Noes pressebilder Maria Hole. Red Ambassador

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