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Norm Form – an exhibition about design that goes against the grain. 6 Oct 2017 – 11 Feb 2018.

Press Release   •   Aug 22, 2017 17:35 GMT

Have you ever wondered why a woman’s bicycle is different to a man’s? Or why a drill looks so different to a food processor? Norm Form displays the work of 50 designers and artists whose work challenges accepted norms about how an object or place should look and function.

This unprecedented exhibition reveals the hidden political messages we miss in our everyday experience of the designed world, and teaches us how to subvert them.

You can experience design that speculates on how a gynaecological exam for a man might feel; a customised truck that enables disabled people to take direct action on their physical environment; view hijabs designed for the Swedish police force, or clothing designed to enable women equal access to jobs as firefighters.

Norm Form is an exhibition about design that challenges what is considered normal. There’s a strong movement among designers at the moment to work in a way that challenges norms, and the exhibition reflects this movement,” says Karin Åberg Waern, Head of Exhibitions and Education at ArkDes.

The exhibition is a portrait of a radical emerging field with its roots in critical design and protest movements. Curated by a three-strong team of experts in the field, ArkDes hosts an exhibition of work at the fringes of conventional design practice.

Curators: Camilla Andersson, architect and researcher at Aalto University, Maja Gunn, PhD in fashion and Karin Ehrnberger, industrial designer with a PhD in product and service design.

“The Norm Form exhibition shows design that goes against the grain, challenges norms and questions power structures. Among other things, it features the Civil Police truck belonging to the Gothenburg Cooperative for Independent Living, a truck that has been converted to enable it to spray wheelchair symbols onto parking spaces. The aim is to raise the issue of a lack of accessibility for wheelchair users. Also on display are veils specially designed for the police, the armed forces and the fire brigade by Iman Adelbe, who wants to challenge the norm for who is considered to be suitable for occupations in these authorities, and this is Sweden’s bomber jackets, which combine fashion and activism on the basis of an anti-racist agenda,” say the curators.

Press viewing: 4 October, 10:00-11:00. RSVP for the press viewing by 2 October at the latest by sending an email to or phoning +46 (0)73 460 46 99.

At the press viewing there will be an opportunity to test some of the items exhibited and a couple of designers will be available for interviews.

About the exhibition 

Exhibition period: 6 Oct 2017 – 11 Feb 2018. Free entry.

Set design: Jenny Nordmark

Communication concept: Madder in partnership with Bastion and Dotta Doost. 


ArkDes is Sweden’s national centre for architecture and design. It is a museum, a study centre and an arena for debate and discussion about the future of architecture, design and citizenship.

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