Maria Bjørlykke

Words by: Maria Bjørlykke
Photography by: Andris Søndrol Visdal

In my work as an interior architect and furniture designer I’m driven by curiosity about the simple. Right now I’m refurbishing a house, and I’m struck by the small things, like the way that light affects a room. It’s nothing new, but there’s something about the first time you notice it yourself. I like to work with those small details, not completely exposing everything but leaving it there for those who look a little bit closer. 

I used to be a dancer and I recognize the same things in my work now as influenced me then. I would cultivate a specific movement or a beautiful line. I see it again and again in my work, without it necessarily being intentional. I think it’s important to let your expression come through, without trying too hard or forcing it. It’s in intuitive creative work that the interesting and exciting stuff happens, even though it’s always a challenge to trust your intuition to lead the way.

There’s no particular message I want to convey through my work, no narrative I want you to read into it. I’ve thought a lot about that and I think it’s interesting to just let the work be what it is, without there needing to be a deeper story behind it. Accepting that opens up the possibility of the pieces speaking to you. They tell a story through the way that you touch them, through their scent, they say something about your everyday routines. They’re the small, poetic everyday things that surround us. Every object has that poetic function in the way that we relate to it. This is something I emphasize in my work.

I grew up with Norwegian nature. It’s not something conscious, just something that follows me. Our culture is closely connected to nature. It’s connected to its simplicity and roughness. It’s connected to people who live close to nature and have a pragmatic relationship with it, where nature isn’t necessarily picture perfect, where you have to relate to the weather and the wind and the dangers of nature. For my master’s degree project I studied the elements and changes in Nordangsdalen, a dramatic mountainous landscape in Western Norway. I tried to simplify and abstract, extracting elements with room-like qualities. I discovered the complexity of nature, but also how interesting it can be to transform a shape or materiality into a component of a building or a product, such as wood, wool or stone. It’s related to nature, it comes from nature, but it’s no longer nature.

Maria Bjørlykke is an interior architect and furniture designer, whose projects range up and down the scale. She creates everything from chapel interiors to tiny tea tins.