Now in its fourth year, the Örnsberg Auction takes yet another step in its development from experimental platform to legitimate counter establishment movement. While the auction has always been practice-driven — meaning that designers are chosen, rather than individual works — this year the criteria for inclusion has been honed even further. Participants not only fall within the rather broad category of self-producing designers working with small-scale production, but many to an even narrower and more radical subset of contemporary design. This year’s line-up favours designers with unique practices, whose methods of production are self-invented or who are working collectively.
However progressive its ideology, the primary function of an auction is to sell designers’ work. The success of the Örnsberg Auction lies in its ability to connect experimental design with an audience that is both receptive to the objects themselves and comprehending of the value of supporting independent designers’ practices. The economy of the design industry today is skewed toward the outdated and exploitative principles of mass-production, which have scattered self-producing designers and makers to the economic fringes. The Örnsberg Auction creates a community of these designers, no matter how diverse their practices. And, equally if not more importantly, it creates a community among a growing audience for this kind of working method, one that is turned on to the politics of self-production. The auction presents not only an ideological but an economic paradigm shift, wherein costs, prices and commissions are transparent. Knowing who is paid, why and how much should not be subversive, but it is, and Örnsberg’s is a standard to which the rest of the industry should be held.
— Julie Cirelli, Journalist