Montaag is a multidisciplinary design studio with offices in Berkeley (CA), Stavanger and Oslo, Norway.

Our passionate and eclectic mix of designers and researchers are driven to create insightful, functional and, perhaps, unorthodox design solutions — solutions that add value and distinction, and ultimately, sharpen your competitive edge.

Contact us

Berkeley

Montaag
1818 Harmon Street,
Suite 3 Berkeley,
CA 94703

T: (415) 794-5634
E: brk@montaag.com

Oslo

Montaag
Rådhusgata 9
0151 Oslo

T: +47 99 54 07 42
E: osl@montaag.com

Stavanger

Montaag
Ryfylkegata 22
N-4014 Stavanger

T: +47 48 11 22 00
E: svg@montaag.com

LeSEE Concept unveiled in Beijing

MONTAAG User experience design for LeECO

Wednesday, 20 april 2016

 

While traditional industries adapt to technology-enabled new realities, tech companies are seeing exciting new opportunities emerge. In response, they are rapidly diversifying their product portfolios, offering services historically provided by car companies, not only increasing diversity within the mobility marketplace, but also accelerating product development across industries. As boundaries between physical and digital platforms are blurred—whether for recreational or commercial purposes—seamlessness in user experience is becoming increasingly important. 

This was exemplified on April 20th, 2016, when Chinese OEM LeEco (formerly LeTV) launched it's first mobility offering at a private event in Beijing, China. LeEco simultaneously launched not only an electric car—the LeSEE—but also a VR headset, a new televison set and a new smartphone. 

MONTAAG was tasked with creating a digital user experience for the LeSEE's interior environment that reflects LeEco's ambition and unique offering. Taking inspiration from a rich Chinese cultural heritage we designed an experience that plays on the overall interior design concept, yet provides synergies with the company's multiple platforms. 

MONTAAG MONDAY: ANNE GRESS

Meet the Minds Behind the Designs

Introduce yourself…

YOUR NAME, PLEASE.
Anne, but please call me Annie. If you want. Anne works too.

AND IN WHICH STUDIO DO YOU WORK?
Berkeley

WHERE ARE YOU FROM ORIGINALLY?
Oakland

SO, WHY A DESIGN RESEARCHER?
I have an unconventional background, as in: I didn’t go to school for design, or research. My background is in psychology, but I’ve always liked the creative and visual arts. I like how design brings together the way things look and feel with the way they affect us as human beings. Ultimately, I see design research as this really dynamic and creative way to use psychology to improve people’s lives.

I get to think and learn about why people do the things they do, how and why they use things or go places, how spaces affect them...it’s great.

WHAT DO YOU LIKE ABOUT WORKING AT MONTAAG?
Montaag is so much fun. We have all sorts of different projects, which keeps things really interesting. I like how collaborative we are—everyone’s voice is heard. I like our diversity—everyone has a different perspective and background and different interests. It makes for some interesting conversations. And we’re really freaking nice to each other.

On process and routine…

HOW DO YOU APPROACH NEW PROJECTS?
I try to get in the right mindset, which to me means letting go of any assumptions I’ve made in the past about the subject or industry at hand. The first step in design research is often to set out and test your assumptions, but I find most people can’t really do that without first being open to the possibility that their assumptions could be wrong. The way I see it, the first step is really to detach yourself from your assumptions, and then you can be open-minded.

HOW DO YOU SEGMENT YOUR DAY? 
Morning coffee and afternoon coffee. 

WHEN ARE YOU MOST PRODUCTIVE? 
I think in the morning, especially if I manage to get here before anyone else. 

WHAT DOES YOUR WORKSPACE SAY ABOUT YOUR WORKSTYLE?
It’s organized in some ways, and chaotic in others. My workspace usually has a healthy dose of clutter, but generally it’s stacked pretty neatly. At least, to me it looks that way. :-) I think my work style is sort of similar—I have lots of things going on at the same time, but I keep them separate and in some sort of order.

DO YOU HAVE SPECIFIC TOOLS YOU RELY ON?
My phone. I use it for everything—taking notes, pictures, looking things up on the go. I also use a few books on design research quite a bit, and I discuss ideas and get feedback from my team all the time. Is that a tool? 

And pens! I rely on pens.

On recharging and inspiration…

WHEN/HOW DO YOU KNOW WHEN YOUR BATTERIES NEED RECHARGING?
When a project doesn’t feel interesting anymore, it’s usually because I’ve been looking at it and thinking about it for too long, and from the same perspective. That’s when I need to get away from my desk and go think about something else for a little while, or go talk to someone unrelated to the project to get a fresh perspective on it. 

WHAT DO YOU LIKE TO DO TO STEP AWAY AND GAIN PERSPECTIVE?
I like to get away and go somewhere nice. Weekend trips are the best. I like going to Point Reyes, Sonoma, Muir Beach. If I can’t get away, just long walks are good, too. 

FROM WHERE DO YOU DRAW INSPIRATION?
From all sorts of things. I like watching old movies especially, though. And I also really enjoy and get lots of ideas from flipping through pages of art books in bookstores. There’s this great shop in Oakland that has tons of really different and obscure hobby and fashion magazines. I like discovering all these niches I never knew existed before—like, a magazine for backyard tomato gardeners who also love to crochet (or something, that’s not a real magazine. That I know of.)

And of course, traveling is inspiring. 

DO YOU HAVE ANY HOBBIES? 
I like knitting things, but it takes me forever. And I play the piano. Both of these are really relaxing for me and I enjoy them, even though the results are usually nothing great. 

On design thinking and thinking about design…

WHAT IS INTEGRAL TO THE WORK OF A DESIGNER?
I think a good designer keeps the human at the center of his or her design. Maybe everyone in design says that, but what it really means is that the designer has to understand and respect the human at the center, the user. It’s really important. So I think compassion and empathy are integral. 

HOW IS DESIGN MOST COMMONLY MISUNDERSTOOD?
Design is such a broad profession. There’s so many different types, and the word itself has so many different meanings, it’s not surprising that design is considered and believed to be a whole bunch of different things. Most often, I think people misunderstand that design is decorating or styling, though. That, or they think “industrial design” means designing factories, or furniture made of recycled pipes or something. 

IN WHICH INDUSTRIES OR AREAS WOULD YOU LIKE TO SEE DESIGN PLAY A BIGGER ROLE?
I think design could help medical devices and prosthetics in a lot of really interesting ways. They could be lighter, for instance. More comfortable, more affordable, more useful. 

WHAT IS THE MOST DIFFICULT OR FRUSTRATING ASPECT OF DESIGN?
Starting over can be difficult. It can feel like a big waste of time and effort to get toward what you think might be the end of a project, and instead find that you have to go back to the beginning. But there’s no way around it, and it ends up making the final result better, so in the end it’s a very good thing. I always feel more satisfied knowing that I’m on the right track toward the best solution. 

WHAT SETS DESIGN APART FROM OTHER CREATIVE PROFESSIONALS?
Design has to be engaged with something beyond itself to really have meaning. You can’t design for the sake of design, you know? It’s not like art or music for example, which can stand on their own and don’t have much to do with utility. Design on the other hand, needs to serve someone—it needs to be useful—to be of value. It’s when you apply it to something else that things get interesting.

MONTAAG ON: DEMYSTIFYING DESIGN

It's not all black turtlenecks and Moleskine® sketchbooks...

ANTHONY POND

Designer - Representing Team Berkeley
HANNAH NORDSTRØM BERG

Designer - Representing Team Oslo

Hallo, Hannah in Oslo!  

So, let’s discuss: How do you explain the design process to non-designers and clients who are new to working with designers?  

 

Hi, Anthony!

So, this is such a challenging topic, I have to say, but let’s try.

First off, can we dispel a couple of popular myths?

Myth: all designers know how to draw.
Very wrong. No, we don't all know how to draw. I'm not very good at drawing by hand and prefer to draw directly in 3D.

Myth: all designers dress in black
This one is almost true, but in some rare cases it's not...

 

Well, someone is playing Mariah Carey Christmas songs VERY LOUDLY in the studio right now---surely that must dispel some additional designerly myths.

Perhaps, Anthony.  Ok---let’s get serious now.

 

Right:  I think one of the inherent skills good designers have is their ability to synthesize ideas from all the information and noise that exists, especially at the start of a complex, multifaceted project.

But what is the mental process a designer goes through, to achieve this?

So far I have experienced different approaches:

One is to let the designer use their own internal taste and thought process to come up with ideas that fill the blank piece of paper at the beginning.  The upside of this is that lots of ideas are created quickly, but may lack the strong framework that can be used to justify a design when it is presented along with a business case. The client has to trust the designer.

The other process, which is more prevalent here in Montaag Berkeley, is to document the process carefully and use the research and data gathered to create conclusions. These conclusions are then used to build designs around. This process takes longer and is more involved, but leads to an outcome that can be validated, so can easily be justified with a business case.

Should a designer consider both approaches simultaneously? Maybe this is the best way.

What do you think?

 

Thanks for sharing your insights, Anthony----I agree with you in a lot of things.

The design process is a more fluid process with a lot of things happening simultaneously. It can be very messy, and, like you said, I think a good designer sees opportunities and solutions where others see mess and problems.

The different processes that a designer goes through I think depend on which area of design you work within and where you work as well---for a small company or a big company, and where you are geographically.

If you work in a small company and you are the only designer, often there is no time and no money for a long research period. So it's very much up to the designer to possess enough information to make a good project. This is off course not the ideal way to design good projects. But makes a very hectic process full of shortcuts.

Ideally a design process has time for research in form of interviews, observations, role play and data. This was the way most designers were trained during their studies. Since Montaag Oslo is a smaller office, we don't always have the possibility to do as much research as we want, but must rely on each other's knowledge and experience from previous projects. This I find very useful since practical experience makes us realistic and efficient in making feasible valid projects.

In my opinion I think the best projects have a mix of the designer's personal experience, valid data and the client's needs.

 

As you mentioned at the beginning, Hannah, this is a hard topic---and one of the most challenging for designers---trying to explain the process and convince others that it is repeatable.

And, it's definitely a myth that designers just make things pretty!

Well, anyway, I guess you and I should probably get back to improving the world...using design.  

Bye, Hannah!

Yes, back to work!  

Bye, Anthony!

 

(Hero Photo: "Defective compact fluorescent lamp x-ray" by Jan Gräser, Germany)

NIMA makes TIME's "Best inventions of 2015"

Latest greatest press for NIMA/MONTAAG Collab

Thursday, 19 November 2015

TIME magazine announced this morning their “Best 25 Inventions for 2015”---and 6SensorLabs’ NIMA gluten sensor is prominently listed in the pack. 

We couldn’t be more excited for our friends and colleagues at 6SensorLabs, as helping design the NIMA has been a project very near and dear to our collective heart.  

Our collaboration on the NIMA Sensor has been a rewarding one. NIMA is one of those rare products that will make a real and meaningful impact on the lives of those that use it.  

Heretofore, if, as a gluten-allergic or -averse person dining out, you want to test your food for gluten, you have to roll with and roll out a mini-chemistry set, and then wade through a 20-minute process for the results. It’s an option neither attractive, convenient, nor cost-effective, essentially adding to the stress of the overall experience. 

NIMA addresses all of the above: a smart-looking, portable, palm-sized device that gives easy-to-understand test results---smiling or frowning face---in around 2 minutes. 

The NIMA is the full package---both literally and figuratively---in its demonstration of how design, science and technology can come together to address real problems in innovative and thoughtful ways.

Congratulations, 6SensorLabs!  

 

MONTAAG MONDAY: HANNAH BERG

Meet the Minds Behind the Designs

Introduce yourself…

YOUR NAME, PLEASE.
Hannah Nordstrøm Berg

AND IN WHICH STUDIO DO YOU WORK?
I work in Montaag’s Oslo, Norway studio as designer specializing in interiors.  

ARE YOU FROM OSLO?
No, I'm from a farm outside a small town called Mysen, which is one hour outside Oslo.

SO, WHY A DESIGNER, HANNAH?
Because you get the opportunity to participate in shaping a small part of your surroundings into something better.

WHAT DO YOU LIKE ABOUT WORKING AT MONTAAG?
I like the variety in projects and work tasks---and that I'm constantly learning new things.

On process and routine…

HOW DO YOU APPROACH NEW PROJECTS?
I like to research the area/problem, see who the users are, and try to identify the tasks that needs to be solved.

HOW DO YOU SEGMENT YOUR DAY? 
Normally I start with reading and answering emails, and prioritizing my projects for the day. Then I might move on to finding inspiration, drawing, editing drawings, making renderings, finding technical specifications, etc. I also find I'm normally most productive after lunch.

WHAT DOES YOUR WORKSPACE SAY ABOUT YOUR WORKSTYLE?
It's a bit of an organized mess, normally with some mints and gum since I'm addicted to them. Aside from that, my desk is quite impersonal.

DO YOU HAVE SPECIFIC TOOLS YOU RELY ON?
I like to sketch in Rhino; not by hand.

On a rewarding project…

TALK ABOUT A SPECIFIC PROJECT YOU’VE ENJOYED WORKING ON?
I’m loving working on a new Oslo cafe for Bit, a cafe franchise in Norway. This is still an ongoing project, but I love that we get to design so many special-made pieces of furniture and help to make this a unique cafe.

WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR MOST CHALLENGING PROJECT?  
Designing a kiosk concept with interior in 4 days was pretty challenging.

DO YOU HAVE A DREAM PROJECT?
Yes---I’d love to have a hand in designing a landmark.
 

On recharging and inspiration…

WHEN/HOW DO YOU KNOW WHEN YOUR BATTERIES NEED RECHARGING?
When I have absolutely no ideas or images about things I want to do in my head.

WHAT DO YOU LIKE TO DO TO STEP AWAY AND GAIN PERSPECTIVE?
When I run into a wall during the workday or week, I like to sleep on it if there is time and let it be for a day or so. If there is not time, I'll go and have a coffee and, perhaps, ask other people for their advice and opinion. On the weekends, I really enjoy walking or biking around the city looking at my surroundings, I especially like to find places I've never been. When I travel, I love going to places I've never been before and to see different things from what I see everyday.

FROM WHERE DO YOU DRAW INSPIRATION?
I'm a big fan of Pinterest and Instagram, and it always amazes me how many beautiful images and places there are that you might not notice in your everyday life. Everything looks better with a filter!  But, I also draw inspiration from the people around me and  my surroundings, as well as old movies, exhibitions, architecture among many other things. When working on a specific project, I’ll do a lot of searching online, consider new products and materials from different producers, as well as new ways of using materials---and I’ll always refer to my Frame magazines.  

DO YOU HAVE ANY HOBBIES?
Yes!  Walking, biking, music, snapping pictures with my phone, reading, snowboarding.  
 

On design thinking and thinking about design…

WHAT IS INTEGRAL TO THE WORK OF A DESIGNER?
Tenacity and curiosity.

HOW IS DESIGN MOST COMMONLY MISUNDERSTOOD?
That we only work with superficial things like deciding wallpaper or color on a product.

IN WHICH INDUSTRIES OR AREAS WOULD YOU LIKE TO SEE DESIGN PLAY A BIGGER ROLE?
Gyms, housing for elderly, and public universally-designed toilets.

WHAT IS THE MOST EXCITING ASPECT OF DESIGN?
Being able to work on a wide range of subjects, and to learn about things you didn't know.

WHAT IS THE MOST DIFFICULT OR FRUSTRATING ASPECT OF DESIGN?
The skepticism to changes and things that have not been done before.

WHAT SETS DESIGN APART FROM OTHER CREATIVE PROFESSIONALS?
The need to design for interaction between the user and a physical object/environment along with integrating materialism, construction, form and intuitive use.
 

MONTAAG MONDAY: ANTHONY POND

Meet the Minds Behind the Designs

Introduce yourself…
 

YOUR NAME, PLEASE.
Mr. Anthony Nicholas Pond

ANY PRONUNCIATION TIPS?
I’m from London, so it’s “Anthony” with a silentish “h."

AND IN WHICH STUDIO DO YOU WORK?
I work in Montaag’s Berkeley, CA studio helping design and create the future for our clients.

SO, WHY A DESIGNER, ANTHONY?
Well, I love being involved in design and shaping the future of products and how people will interact in new ways in new scenarios. I enjoy the breadth of work and exposure to a variety of work when consulting, and how you have to act like a sponge to absorb and learn new information regarding different products, markets, technologies etc.  And then you get to use all this new knowledge to create a meaningful and relevant outcome. The other option was to study Geography---I made the right choice.

WHAT DO YOU LIKE ABOUT WORKING AT MONTAAG?
It’s an Intriguing place with no boundaries. Everybody has an equal voice, and brings different opinions and approaches to the table.
 

On process and routine…

HOW DO YOU APPROACH NEW PROJECTS?
Generally I need sometime to digest the project and its scope; spending time researching the project and building a good understanding of the problem that is trying to be tackled. Sometimes reframing the problem can lead to a more relevant and creative solution.

HOW DO YOU SEGMENT YOUR DAY?
I always try and make a to-do list, breaking up large tasks into smaller more digestible chunks. I always find time to step away from my computer in the middle of the afternoons, even if it is just to make a coffee.

WHEN ARE YOU MOST PRODUCTIVE?
Either first thing in the morning or last thing in the evening. During the day the studio can be rather hectic with meetings and conversations happening all the time. Although some of the most useful meetings are those that can happen around the studio’s kitchen table.

WHAT DOES YOUR WORKSPACE SAY ABOUT YOUR WORKSTYLE?
I do like some order and predictability, and sometimes my desk can be a bit tidy. Then someone comes and puts Post-it Notes all over it. It’s hilarious. (It’s not hilarious.)

DO YOU HAVE SPECIFIC TOOLS YOU RELY ON?
Conversation and interaction with others in the studio is one of the most important. I rely heavily on this.
 

On a rewarding project...

TALK ABOUT A SPECIFIC PROJECT YOU’VE ENJOYED WORKING ON?
I was involved in the creation and realisation of a new Human Machine Interface for controlling an OSCV (offshore subsea construction vessel) for Norwegian shipbuilder VARD. Basically, we moved a product that had only received incremental improvements into the 21st century with a radical and disruptive redesign. This project combined both physical and digital user-experience---aspects of design I really enjoy being involved with.

HOW DID YOU PLUG INTO THIS PROJECT?
By chatting with and learning from the Montaag research team (they are totally amazing), I was able to gain a truly priceless perspective on our specific end-users and how they currently work, as well as insights into how new innovations could have a big impact. As a team we worked with many physical prototypes makes changes as we learned through testing.

WHAT CAN YOU SAY ABOUT THE FINAL RESULT?
The final outcome was a result of VARD having the foresight to allow Montaag the freedom to innovate in this very conservative industry, adding value, and helping VARD to sell ships in this very challenging time in the oil industry. 
 

On recharging and inspiration…

WHAT DO YOU LIKE TO DO TO STEP AWAY AND GAIN PERSPECTIVE?
I find cooking a particularly relaxing and therapeutic. For me this isn’t a creative a process---it is just careful time management, and then you have something to share with friends and family, that, hopefully, brings a smile! I also like to escape the city to spend time in areas of natural beauty, as a reminder as to what is important.    

WHERE/HOW DO YOU FIND INSPIRATION?
As a designer you are always absorbing inspiration, so you can pull it out when you need it. I love photography---especially when I am away on vacation. Additionally, I enjoy a bit of Skiing when there is some snow around.  And, as I’m new here, I like to visit SF’s many art galleries, cafes, and restaurants---especially with a group of friends or family.
 

On design thinking and thinking about design…

WHAT IS INTEGRAL TO THE WORK OF A DESIGNER?
Understanding problems, great designers can comprehend very complex, multi-faceted problems, and synthesis a simple solution.  (I clearly think designers are amazing, and can do anything!)

HOW IS DESIGN MOST COMMONLY MISUNDERSTOOD?
As improving the aesthetics… this is not design… but is always the by product of good design.

IN WHICH INDUSTRIES OR AREAS WOULD YOU LIKE TO SEE DESIGN PLAY A BIGGER ROLE?
Good design can improve efficiency in the way people behave and interact with their environments in both the macro and the micro sense. Design can really add value in public organisations by enabling improvements in efficiency.

WHAT IS THE MOST EXCITING ASPECT OF DESIGN?
The creation and definition of the future: designers shape the objects and experiences of products and services that have not yet been conceived. As technology advances, it is design that shapes the future, it is not what is possible; it is what you can conceive.

WHAT IS THE MOST DIFFICULT OR CHALLENGING ASPECT OF DESIGN?
Often the best idea/solution you have comes at the end of the process, once you have gained all the experiences and knowledge.

WHAT SETS DESIGN APART FROM OTHER CREATIVE PROFESSIONS?
Design education is more of a way of thinking, rather than a set of skills. This way of thinking can be applied to  nearly any industry. Design and design thinking is still very much in its infancy as a skill, and more and more corporations are seeing how valuable design can be in adding value.

WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR MOST CHALLENGING PROJECT?
I have worked on many challenging projects, as a designer working on a project is never complete.

DO YOU HAVE A DREAM PROJECT?
To be involved in the creation of a full ecosystem - redefining all the experiences and touchpoints of the system.  

 

MONTAAG ON: THE END OF EMAIL?

An email conversation between international colleagues about the challenging nature of email conversations between international colleagues.

STEFFEN MØLGAARD LARSEN

Designer - Representing Team Stavanger
MARISSA PALMER

Designer - Representing Team Berkeley

Hello, Marissa! Greetings from Stavanger!

Let’s have a conversation about long distance email as collaboration tool, shall we? 

Based on my experience, I would say that long distance collaboration easily can create more frustration than satisfaction--- especially when the time difference is more than 5 hours.

Do you have the cure? :)

 

Hi, Steffen...from 9 hours behind you in Berkeley.

I totally agree with you: using email to collaborate and share ideas for design just doesn't work that well.

One area where I find it lacking is in the time to construct an email---writing a message, making sure your message describes your points, having the right tone, including images (but most the time you have to construct the image with call-outs to point out your points), then copying everyone involved...it’s exhausting!

I hear you, but...email did kind of revolutionize the way we communicate. It has made it possible to communicate instantly over a long distance. However, it totally lacks the human touch---and, no, smileys do not make up for that. :-)

Human touch? What do you call the mass “reply all”? Where a small number of answers/responses are helpful, but many voices lead to confusion and more questions?

There’s the human touch. ;-)

But to return to your previous point about the time difference, when it is more than 5 hours, you may have to wait another day to get a response. So, I guess, the amount of time that goes into trying to collaborate through email makes me wonder: is there a better solution out there? And as designers, why don't we design one?

 

I agree, Marissa, we are totally ready to take the next step.

I am thinking telepathy. Or why not a teleport with time difference elimination?

Teleporting would be cool---and would save so much time!

Although I’m just not sure how close we actually are to that solution.

 

True, it will probably not be in our lifetime...if anyone's. But, yeah, how cool would that have been! :)  

So, for now, we will have to settle for email, skype and live chat---what a shame!

Such a shame, Steffen.

I am a big fan of chat, though. Even when working with people within the studio I use G-chat to ask questions, get someone's attention, or just say “Hi.” That may be the collaborative method of the near future.

Not to plug their products, necessarily, but Google's suite of online tools (Docs, Slides, Sheets) also allow for group editing and group chats. I find that super helpful for working in teams, we can all work from wherever on the same doc. It doesn't, however, help with the time difference…

 

Well, maybe our salvation for that problem lies with Google, too, then.

I’m going to write a very detailed email, cc:ing all of Google (and bcc:ing Elon Musk), laying out the complexities of the problem (with visuals) and asking them to consider tackling it (if they’re not already).

Wish me luck!

Great idea, Steffen!

Good luck!

JOIN OUR TEAM

Berkeley is Hiring a Visual / Interaction / UI Designer

Are you a digital design nerd? Do you geek out on apps that come to life through design, visual details and animation? Are you bored with working on one project? Do you wish you could work on a variety of projects with creative people of different backgrounds and interests?

We are looking for a bright, digital designer to join us in our Berkeley studio. This is an amazing opportunity to join a mixed group of exceptionally talented and smart people (if we do say so ourselves), and work on a wide range of exciting projects with a varied clientele--from startups to large, innovation-friendly corporations.

US:  
We are a new and rapidly growing studio (currently 30 teammates spread across two countries & 3 cities) located in the sunny streets of South Berkeley (easy walking  distance to the Ashby BART station). We maintain a friendly, supportive, open atmosphere that encourages creativity, thought, collaboration and growth as designers, and as people. In our office everyone contributes; noone is a wallflower.

Some examples of projects you’ll be getting your hands on as part of our team:

  • Mobility interfaces
  • Design Research
  • Websites and mobile apps
  • Interfaces for consumer electronics
  • Full branding and identity projects
  • Environmental graphics
  • Packaging design​

YOU:  
A digital design nerd.

Design fundamentals (image, type, color) are part of your vocabulary, and you have 5 black belts in Adobe software. You are excited about your job and are enthusiastic about joining a team and learning a lot, very quickly. In the wise words of our principal designer, “High ambition; small ego.” Other people might describe you as a positive, grounded and open-minded individual, as well as a kick-ass designer.

Must-Have:

  • 1-3 years experience designing digital interfaces as an Interaction, UI, and/or Visual Designer.
  • Demonstrable skills and knowledge as a visual designer working primarily with digital platforms (web and mobile) and bonus points for print and packaging knowledge
  • Prototyping: interfaces and animations 
  • Confidence ideating, conceptualizing, generating, and presenting content through a whole project life-cycle, as well as creating production-ready files
  • Interest in projects that range from branding and interface design to much larger system-wide, user-experience design

Bonus:

  • Coding skills
  • Experience working with developers, product designers and UX designers
  • Excellent writing skills
  • Experience in user research

If this sounds like something you’d be into, please email visualdesigner@montaag.com with your resume, a link to your portfolio, your favorite interface, and a small note with anything you think we ought to know about you. Although we’d love it if we could have a nice chat with you all, please refrain from calling the studio to inquire about the position or status of resume.

Thank you--we look forward to hearing forward to hearing from you!

Montaag is committed to equal employment opportunities.  We do not consider an individual’s race, color, national origin, ancestry, religion or religious creed including dress and grooming, pregnancy, childbirth or related medical conditions, gender, gender identity, gender expression, age, marital status, sexual orientation, physical or mental disability, medical condition, genetic information, veteran’s status, or political affiliation in any employment decision.  

MONTAAG MONDAY: STEFFEN MØLGAARD LARSEN

Meet the Minds Behind the Designs

Steffen, industrial designer from our Stavanger team, gives serious answers to serious questions...

HOW WOULD YOU RATE YOUR LATTE ART SKILLS?
Definitely not good. I can make coffee change color by adding milk.

WHAT ARE YOUR DESIGN MOTIVATIONS?
I love when things are done right---like when a product solves a problem in a way where someone doesn’t have to think twice about how to use it, and, at the same time, can take a step back and admire it.  Unfortunately, too many things---products, designs---fall outside this category.

DO YOU HAVE ANY FUNDAMENTAL BELIEFS THAT ARE BEYOND CHANGE?
I don’t believe that meat is good for you. Yes, it tastes amazing, but healthy? Nah!

WHAT IS YOUR SECRET TALENT?
When joking around, I have the special ability to very gently prod a given topic past the point of comfortableness. Let's just say, it helps that my friends are open minded.

WHERE DO YOU GO FOR INSPIRATION?
For problem solving, I try to find inspiration in similar solutions within other fields of expertise. For inspiration in general, it is the things surrounding me: my Danish design furniture and carefully chosen electronics, nature, cars, etc.
And, of course, I follow a bunch of blogs: Core 77FastCo DesignKickstarter and Nyhederne, just to name a few. 

MONTAAG MONDAY: MARISSA PALMER

Meet the Minds Behind the Designs

Marissa, an industrial designer in our Berkeley studio, gives serious answers to serious questions...

WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE DAY OF THE WEEK?
I should say Monday, but it's probably Tuesday/Wednesday. I get the most done on those days.

WHEN DO YOU TAKE YOUR COFFEE?
Only in the morning. For some reason I don't like coffee after noontime---it's a morning drink!

WHEN DID YOU LAST FAIL? HOW DID YOU PICK UP THE PIECES?
I fail a bit everyday, but that's what's fun about design. Failing makes you rethink, relook and try again to find a solution.

HOW DID YOU BECOME INTERESTED IN DESIGN?
I think I've always been interested in design; I like to problem solve and figure out how to make something better.

IF YOU WERE NOT A DESIGNER WHAT WOULD YOU BE?
I really wanted to be a gymnast, but I peaked at 12.

HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT FORCED BRAINSTORMING?
All brainstorming is good!

DO YOU HAVE ANY FUNDAMENTAL BELIEFS THAT ARE BEYOND CHANGE?
All kids deserve a trophy!

DID WE EVER WALK ON THE MOON?
Yes! I just saw it happen on Astronaut Wives.

14 September 2015

 

MONTAAG ON: THOUGHT LEADERSHIP

An Inter-studio Dialogue on Timely Topics

First rule of thought leadership:  
You do not talk about thought leadership  

PER IVAR SELVAAG

Founder / Principal Designer - Representing Team Berkeley
MATS HENRIKSEN

Partner / Principal Designer - Representing Team Stavanger

Good morning from California, Mats! So, does the mere mention of the term Thought Leadership make your hair curl as much as mine?

And good evening from Norway, Per. So, maybe, this is an American concept? Would you be kind enough to explain it to me---without coloring it too much with your personal distaste?

I’ll do my best to provide an objective description without passing out. Basically, Mats, Thought Leadership is a way of distinguishing, presenting and promoting yourself or organization as A, or even THE source of expertise in a certain field or discipline. It’s not a new concept, but has become rather fashionable, lately. It's all the rage, in fact and to not engage in it is a mortal sin for us creative types.

I thought it had to do with thinking before you lead. ;-) Or just thinking about leadership (a decidedly more passive leadership style). This sounds like what we call Floskler in Norwegian---made up words that mean nothing. In this case, marketing people inventing words that give meaning to what I think is more about managing common sense; about knowing people and knowing how to respond to their needs. But that wouldn't look too nice on a business card: VP of Common Sense.

That has a distinctly Norwegian ring to it, actually.

Maybe. Regardless, Per, in this TED-infused generation, when we all need to have something to share, this old idea has obviously found new life. Thought Leadership is all about sharing ideas and thoughts, right?

Ultimately, yes? I think the actual term is probably fine, but the way it has been put to use is comical. I mean: Barack Obama never officially engages in Thought Leadership.  He's just not that insecure. It's like this: "People! I am about to engage in some Thought Leadership. Line up and listen carefully!" It's sort of patronizing, no?

You are right, of course. Setting aside my discomfort with the phrase, I must admit I can understand its popularity. I think Thought Leadership can help you focus on the bigger picture.

I'm listening...

I would guess that too many "leaders" use most of the their time managing business, instead of actually leading. For Barack, leading is in his DNA; it's natural. For all the rest of us, we might need a little extra help. Are you only managing or are you leading? Leadership is about inspiring people to do something. Management is just telling them to do something.

Per?

Oh, sorry Mats---I was just filling out this TED "speaker nomination form." What's your availability over the next six months?

God natt, Per Ivar.

Oh, good night, Mats.

MONTAAG MONDAY: MATS HENRIKSEN

Meet the Minds Behind the Designs

Mats, Montaag Partner and Principal Designer in Stavanger, gives serious answers to serious questions. HOW DO YOU TAKE YOUR COFFEE? Mostly standing and usually orally. HOW DID YOU BECOME INTERESTED IN DESIGN? Hmm...nothing spectacular. I was always good at drawing; I think it started there. WHAT ARE YOUR DESIGN MOTIVATIONS? I think you can really change something being a designer---and there is always something that needs changing. IF YOU COULD CHANGE ONE THING IN THE WORLD WHAT WOULD IT BE? The weather in Norway. HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT FORCED BRAINSTORMING? Anything forced is good. DID WE REALLY WALK ON THE MOON? It would be a giant leap backward if we didn't. 07 SEPTEMBER 2015

MONTAAG MONDAY: PER SELVAAG

Meet the Minds Behind the Designs

Montaag's Founder and Principal Designer gives serious answers to serious questions...

WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE DAY OF THE WEEK? Today, but I'm really partial to whatever day it is.

WHAT ARE YOUR DESIGN MOTIVATIONS? I'm motivated by the possibility of improving utility and illuminating opportunities that are right there, hidden in plain view.

WHEN DID YOU LAST FAIL AND HOW DID YOU PICK UP THE PIECES? DID YOU CRY? I fail at stuff all the time. I pick up the pieces by trying to give myself another chance. And I cry on the inside, which is just more manly.

IF YOU COULD CHANGE ONE THING IN WORLD WHAT WOULD IT BE? I would make evenings longer.

HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT FORCED BRAINSTORMING? I'd like some time to consider that. 31 AUGUST 2015

THE ALAMEDA PROJECT

No time like the present for doing some good

Why, in one of the wealthiest regions in the world's richest economy are so many families going hungry?

Through THE ALAMEDA PROJECT, Montaag aims to inspire more people to ask this question.

Nationally, local food banks are serving 1 in 7 individuals. But in Alameda County, in the heart of the Bay Area---which includes the populations of Oakland, Fremont, Hayward and Berkeley---that figure is a startling 1 in 5.*

Our vehicle for shining a light on this issue? An irreverently customized 1966 Porsche, naturally. 

Please, join us in the weeks ahead as we announce our community partner and highlight their work---and showcase the rebuild, customization and ultimate purpose of the project's centerpiece.

*“Hunger in America” — a quadrennial study commissioned by Feeding America, the national network of food banks.

BASIC IDENTITY 2

Index Book Taps Montaag for Slåke Work

The good people at Spanish publishing house Index Book clearly have consummate taste, and, as such, we’re very pleased they’ve selected Montaag to be included in their latest branding compendium, the forthrightly named Basic Identity 2. Index Book specializes in books on graphic design and visual communication. As described on their website, “Basic Identity 2 features different corporate identity projects developed by designers from around the world, showcasing a broad range of styles.” The Montaag project featured is our work for Norwegian furniture producers Slåke. Inspired by Scandinavian design traditions, and taking our design cues from the company’s Hjelmeland surroundings, we created a minimalist expression to reinforce Slåke’s focus on their products. We offer a heartfelt Montaag “tusen takk” to Index Book for the opportunity to share our work with a wider audience. To learn more about Basic Identity 2, visit indexbook.com. To learn more about our work for Slåke, visit slaake.no.

PRESS RELEASE

Nor-Shipping 2015 Ushers in Norwegian/American Design Company

Former BMW Designer Per Ivar Selvaag’s California Agency Joins with Celebrated Stavanger Firm GHOST to Form International Design Consultancy

OSLO, NORWAY – In tandem with the Nor-Shipping 2015 unveiling of their first major design endeavor---for energy industry heavyweight VARD ---Berkeley, CA-based MONTAAG announced its recent acquisition of a majority stake in GHOST AS; one of Norway’s most acclaimed design services firms. The two companies will operate as a single corporate entity under the name MONTAAG DESIGN.

The new agency, with studios also based in Stavanger and Oslo, will offer clients comprehensive, strategic design consulting services including an integrated research approach. With the rollout of VARD’s near-future Offshore Vessel, the full breadth of the newly expanded MONTAAG DESIGNS’ capabilities will be on display. From form factor, and user-experience and -interface, to CMF and interior architecture, both projects reflect the application of next-generation design thinking that aims to not only ensure the companies’ favorable returns on investment in increasingly competitive marketplaces, but also offer user experiences that increase safety, efficiency and attract future talent.

Montaag was established in 2013 by principal Per Ivar Selvaag of Finnøy Kommune (NO). With accumulated talent and expertise that extends to include a research team with experience in marketing, psychology and the lab sciences, the team has a collective skill set equipped for multi-dimensional projects. Montaag works with start-ups and established enterprises alike, in a wide range of industries including technology and robotics, consumer electronics, automotive, maritime, and interior architecture. It is the agency’s distinct perspective and emphasis on research-based design has won Montaag contracts with clients in more specialized and heavy industries, such as global energy.

Ghost, a 10-person agency, with recognized talent in UX, branding, graphic and industrial design, was formed in 1998 by principal designer, Mats Henriksen. Under Henriksen’s direction, the agency has provided design solutions to an impressive array of Norwegian clients across industries. “Teaming up with Per Ivar and his talented team at Montaag, is both humbling and exciting,” says Henriksen. “In a short timeframe Per Ivar has built Montaag into a solid agency that perfectly matches Ghost´s profile and ambition. I am confident that joining Montaag will make ours a stronger more diverse agency that will benefit all our clients.”

“Mats’ is a team built on Scandinavian design values, with an enviable track record and an established client base,” adds Selvaag. “Together, with footholds in two hemispheres, we will create an agency with a clear and unique voice. This is truly an exciting opportunity for our company and I look forward to combining our skill sets and experiences in order to offer our current and future clients the insights that will add real value to their business.” 2 June 2015

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At Montaag, we design solutions that sharpen your competitive edge. This is in many ways our raison d’être and, to us, the only meaningful measure of a job well done. Designing experiences is what we do.

Facebook: facebook.com/montaag
Instagram: @MontaagDesign
Twitter: @MontaagDesign

Game-changing food sensor

NIMA for 6SENSORLABS

2014 - Product design / User experience

6SensorLabs is a San Francisco tech startup offering consumers suffering from food allergies long-desired peace of mind at mealtime. Born out of MIT, the company has developed breakthrough technology for accurately and quickly detecting even the most minute traces of protein in food.

To make manifest their vision and technology in their premier product—a gluten sensor—6SensorLabs partnered with Montaag to collaborate on its design.

The result is Nima: a sleek, discreet, and ultra-intuitive portable sensor.

Nima enables consumers to easily and subtly test their food for gluten-content, empowering them to take control of their dining experience and eat with confidence. For an ever-growing population of food-intolerant and -allergic diners, Nima is truly a game-changer: it’s small enough to fit in your pocket, is incredibly easy to use, and it integrates seamlessly with mobile, tablet, and desktop screens.

This last bit is key, as Nima users will be able to share results directly from the device, and thereby contribute to a growing, verifiable world-wide community that maps allergen-free menus, dishes and products.

In advance of its mid-2016 ship date, Nima has already received an abundance of glowing reviews, among them making Time Magazine's "25 Best Inventions of 2015." 

NimaSensor.com

UX for Next Wave Car Chargers

ZapCharger Smart for ZAPTEC

2013 Product design / User experience / User Interface design

With the number of electric cars beginning to outpace the availability of public charging units, Norway's Zaptec has created a new breed of chargers that transcend the limitations of the current paradigm.  The ZapCharger Smart is a cost-efficient, simple-to-install, easy-to-use charging station that works perfectly as a stand alone, but really shines as one-of-many in larger installations. As part of a connected series, Smarts communicate with each other and can efficiently deliver more power to the least-charged car plugged into the system.

Based in Stavanger since its inception in 2013, Zaptec commissioned Montaag's Stavanger team to work on its overall design language for its entire line of products beginning with the Smart Charger and its physical interface, but also to help craft the digital experience and subsequent feature-rich app interface for end-user and system administrator alike.  The challenge Zaptec posed to Montaag was to define a design language that would leverage Zaptec’s new concept of smart power: power is not only a thing you consume—it can be managed and controlled. Montaag consider this challange to be a communication task: our design of the products is the result of an effort to accentuate this big idea of intelligent power.

The ZapCharger Smart, rolling out in 2016, is the first offering from Zaptec. Building on their core technology—a super compact and super efficient electronic transformer that outperforms transformers up to 10 times its weight and volume, using up to 100 times less copper and iron—the company plans to expand into near-future solutions that will power homes, communities, and even off-planet outposts.

Learn more at Zaptec.com

 

A Bespoke Oasis in Bustling Oslo

BIT UNION Akersgata for BIT with MAVERICK

2015 - 2016 Interior design / Furniture design 

 

BIT UNION opened in January 2016 on Oslo’s Akersgata and is an expansion on BIT, the fast-casual restaurant concept that has served salads, baguettes and pastries since 1998. This is the first BIT UNION—with one forthcoming in OSL’s new international terminal later in 2016— and executes on a concept that showcases the company’s strong commitment to cooperation.

The overall concept was developed by BIT A/S with longtime partners Maverick with the aim to demonstrate BIT’s ambition and commitment to invest in real craftsmanship and create unique solutions in a world of mass production and standardized solutions. To do so, BIT and Maverick assembled a highly skilled team of local professionals: industrial and interior designers from Montaag’s Oslo design studio and furniture company Interiørverkstedet.

BIT has coined the effort “UNION MADE” and the result is a detail-oriented design and layout both purposeful and organic that creates an interesting and conversation-sparking tension between the classic and modern. Diverse and thoughtfully selected materials and surfaces—marble, leather, brass, wood, ceramics and Corian—create an eclectic exuberance and dynamism, with finer details, touches of humor, revealing themselves over repeated visits. These hallmarks for a unique and quality experience are aspects BIT feels its customers have come to appreciate and anticipate more and more.

Photos: Paul Paiewonsky

 

 

ABOVE: The marquee moments in BIT UNION Akersgata culminate around the organic sweep of the floating Corian service counter. Clean lines form from brass, glass and wood finishes, neatly showcasing cafe offerings. BIT UNION incorporates familiar objects, patterns and materials, but in new ways: here the age-old delivery fruit crate has been repurposed as an eclectic shelving system, providing strategic storage via an “organized mess.” BELOW: Overhead, the undulating, three-dimensional, oak drop-ceiling introduces an element of the psychedelic into cafe proceedings.
ABOVE: Warmly-lit exterior “globes” beckon passersby with a hint and promise of the unique and manicured cafe experience within. Fashioned of marble with brass trim, the cool and clean street-facing bar finds a warm counterbalance in its contoured oak stools. BELOW: A seemingly open seating area is slyly intimate thanks to subtly divided upholstered leather banquettes.
ABOVE LEFT: Seating sections are paired with adjustable tables, each distinct from the next---alternately fabricated from wood, marble and brass. ABOVE RIGHT: Occupying the middle space is a subtly whimsical greeting table made with oak, brass and marble that is a modern spin on the Gustavian classic. BELOW: This table celebrates the “Union Made” cooperative spirit behind the cafe’s concept, design and craftsmanship through embossed hallmarks representing all contributors.
ABOVE, LEFT AND RIGHT: BIT UNION design and materials extend to the cafe’s toilet. Special to this space, though, is the matte black faucet that extends from the ceiling to the washbasin below.

VARD

Near future OSCV concept

2014 - 2015 Industrial design / User experience / Service design

VARD is a major global designer and builder of specialized vessels used in the offshore oil and gas exploration industries, as well as production and oil services. VARD’s long shipbuilding traditions, cutting-edge innovation and technology coupled with its global operations give the company significant standing in the fastest growing oil exploration markets.

Montaag was commissioned by the Ålesund, Norway-headquartered company to conceptualize and design, from the inside out, the next generation OSCV: a 180-meter long Offshore Subsea Construction Vessel that houses a crew of up to 150 people. The two overarching goals for our concept: a significantly more economical and efficient ship that results in a wider operational window, and an elevation of onboard quality-of-life to attract future captains and crew to their new “home away from home.”

Kicked-off with extensive and immersive research, and achieved through close working relationships with all VARD stakeholders, the resulting VARD/Montaag collaboration, named “A Step Forward,” makes its debut at Nor-Shipping 2015, in Oslo, Norway.

VARDxMontaag: A Step Forward

Exterior

The exterior of the VARD near-future OSCV cuts an unmistakable profile on the horizon. Designed to further increase the ship’s efficiency, durability and sustainability, the exterior details are integrated to unprecedented levels, and directly informed the layout of the ship’s interior. The configuration increases visibility from the bridge, lowers the center of gravity, and maximizes both fuel efficiency and deck space.

Form Language

This OSCV vision features a new, bold and distinctive form factor that scales well between different vessel types and sympathetically integrates complex functionality with the need for a strong, brand-specific character.

Modular Bridge Design

This OSCV’s wheelhouse/DP station hovers above the ship in a focus-enhancing “cockpit” constellation. The traditional bridge below becomes a general-access, multi-purpose room. Both are units in a modular bridge design that can be utilized across multiple boat types.

Helideck

The helideck design integrates fully and seamlessly with the multi-purpose bridge and general ship architecture, allowing for easy access for visitors both arriving and departing. Built into the structure of the ship, the helideck is larger than conventional decks and easier and safer for helicopters to land on---a welcome feature in harsher conditions.

Interior

Creating a 21st Century “home away from home” is the overarching design principle for the ship’s interior architecture. This has meant complete focus on improving the quality of on-board living and user experiences. For example, larger, more traditional dayrooms have been replaced by a series of smaller, efficient and unique social areas that are cosier, more welcoming, and offer different opportunities for relaxation or socializing. Additionally, by providing onshore-level connectivity on board, old ship-bound socializing paradigms are replaced by new. These and similar considerations extend throughout all living and working spaces. Uniting them all is a recognizable form and graphic language, designed to easily distinguish a VARD ship’s interior from its competitors.

CMF & Monogram

The CMF concept for this ship represents four distinct characters, a reference to the Norwegian tradition of celebrating all four seasons. These characters are created through color palettes, mood lighting and material selection. Subtly applied to different types of surfaces throughout the ship, in a wide variety of finishes and methods, is a new custom monogram for VARD, inspired by its logo’s “varde”-like “A.”

Wayfinding

Frequent, meaningful and intuitive wayfinding signage with higher legibility makes navigating the ship both safer and more user friendly. A robust system of graphics and icons works to alleviate disorientation and enable the user to more easily and quickly learn his or her way around the ship.

Conference Rooms

With sweeping ocean views and plentiful light, the conference room provides a bright and positive work environment and facilitates focused collaboration. The room connects to a smaller breakout room designed for small discussions and informal meetings, and creates a gathering place before and after meetings. The rooms and furniture are carefully balanced, allowing for free movement of people, both before and during a meeting. Benches along the back wall provide overflow seating so no one is ever left standing.

Cinema

Not only designed for watching movies in a large group, this multi-use room with integrated stage and screen also acts as a conference room, karaoke bar, and debriefing and presentation center. The cinema is a warm and inviting setting with subtle lighting around the steps and felt wall panels. Made for long periods of sitting, the cinema seating is comfortable. Tiered seatings allow for an unobstructed view of the screen and stage, while felt panels throughout dampen distracting room noise. L-shaped steps provide easy access to seating from multiple areas.

Mess rooms

With large windows allowing for natural light, sweeping views, and access to an outdoor terrace, the mess room is a refreshing environment. Semi-transparent dividers separate the space from serving area to dining area. Versatile seating options give the crew the ability to sit and socialize in large groups, smaller booths, and to sit alone at the bar. Layout ensures that the line does not interrupt the dining area and flows smoothly through the three serving stations. Galley entry behind serving station allows easy access for the cooks, and a connected scullery and serving area provide easy transfer of dishes and food containers.

Crew Cabins

Creating real opportunities for privacy and personal space were serious drivers for the entire ship, but especially important with regards to crew cabins. Montaag designed a layout that provides all crew members with their own private sleeping and living quarters with a shared bathroom, unprecedented on a ship of this caliber. Flexibility and efficiency define these cabins.

Captain's Cabin

Larger than the standard cabins, the Captain’s cabin has ample daylight and generous windows. A private bathroom divides the sleeping and living space, which includes an office area and a sitting area with large sofa, recliner, and coffee table for relaxation and socializing. Felt panels add warmth and visual interest to the living space and reduce any noise from the wetunit behind. The integrated Corian countertop and sink provides a wet-bar with space for a mini-refrigerator. The smart digital wall display is placed in both the sleeping quarters and living quarters, allowing the captain to connect and transform his space to his desires.

Ocean Lounge

With fantastic sea views and natural light, the expansive, aptly named Ocean Lounge is the perfect place for watching the sun set on the open ocean. Directly above and connected to the Mess Room, the Ocean Lounge features four separate areas that allow for several activities.

The Bridge

Heightened focus, smoother, more efficient workflows, and an overall enhanced bridge experience for those stationed here - these are the attributes of the new VARD bridge system. Starting with the deconstruction of experiences from the traditional Captain’s and DP Officer’s chairs, all the way through addressing the complex array of bridge devices and respective interfaces, this new bridge constellation takes advantage of every opportunity to streamline work while increasing comfort—both physical and psychological.

Bridge Levels

A bridge constellation unlike any other brings fresh opportunity for streamlined communication between officers in different areas, while providing a dynamic and uniquely focused control environment that provides an unprecedented field of vision. The Captain sits perched above the ship, overlooking the helideck, in a compact, comfortable and focused environment called the Cockpit Bridge, which boasts a 360 degree, uninterrupted view of the ocean. The main bridge level is focused around an open floor plan giving the occupants a spacious, tailor-made and highly attractive professional work environment, as well as unobstructed, clear views to the exterior.

Command Station

This is a distinctive mariner's chair built for absolute comfort and concentration. Comfortable yet supportive for long stretches of sitting, the Captain’s Chair seat is upholstered in supple, sturdy leather, and framed in light, rigid carbon fiber. The headrest features an integrated gooseneck microphone for non-taxing, hands-free communication.

Levers

A radical user-experience departure, both functionally and ergonomically, the levers’ domed design language fits perfectly in the hand and provides precise tactile and customizable haptic feedback. The super-low profile frees the area immediately beyond the levers, allowing the user to reach the touch interface with minimal hand movement, providing not only a technological step forward, but also a new paradigm in ergonomics and comfort.

Armrest Consoles

Like all aspects of the chair, the arm rests were designed with long working periods in mind. Their shape fits perfectly with the natural resting position of one’s arms, simultaneously reducing fatigue and the risk of repetitive strain injuries. The arm rests are adjustable---both vertically and horizontally---to best fit each of the chair’s occupants.

VARD Levers

Marine Azimuth and thruster levers

2014 - 2015 Industrial Design / User Experience

A radical user-experience departure, both functionally and ergonomically, the levers’ domed design language fits perfectly in the hand and provides precise tactile and customizable haptic feedback. The super-low profile frees the area immediately beyond the levers, allowing the user to reach the touch interface with minimal hand movement, providing not only a technological step forward, but also a new paradigm in ergonomics and comfort.

Azimuth & Thruster Levers

Built for fingertip input with precise tactile feedback, these groundbreaking levers report high-level data instantly, reducing users’ cognitive load for improved performance in high-pressure situations. Closely positioned with a consistent design language between levers, the low-effort, multi-device azimuth and thruster controllers are readily distinguishable from each other---both visually and tactilely. Integrated fully with the VARD OS, the levers are digitally represented on the console screens, in immediate proximity, providing a clear and understable connection between the two.

VARD Captain's Chair

Designed for next generation VARD ships

2014 - 2015 User experience / Industrial design / Furniture design

This is a distinctive mariner's chair built for absolute comfort and concentration. Comfortable yet supportive for long stretches of sitting, the Captain’s Chair seat is upholstered in supple, sturdy leather, and framed in light, rigid carbon fiber. The headrest features an integrated gooseneck microphone for non-taxing, hands-free communication.

Capacitive touchscreens are within natural reach on each armrest. The screens are adjustable to the optimal angle for the chair’s occupant, putting more control of the ship’s complex functionality at his or her fingertips. Fully integrated into the bridge operating system, screen content can be “pushed” to larger bridge displays to create a custom dashboard of information from different sources.

National Oilwell Varco

Trident concept crane

2014 - Industrial design / User Experience

National Oilwell Varco is a worldwide leader in the design, manufacture and sale of equipment and components used in oil and gas drilling and production operations and the provision of oilfield services to the upstream oil and gas industry. Through immersive research and ongoing collaboration, Montaag is working with NOV to reimagine the subsea offshore crane for the 21st century.

Alongside NOV’s crane engineering team, we are not only reconceptualizing crane construction and functionality to dramatically increase safety and widen the operational window of any given mission, but also recasting how such cranes are operated. The main elements of this near future concept are the implementation of fiber rope technology and the introduction of a new Lifting Operation Station.

The result is a crane with significantly reduced weight and improved hook-capacity in deeper waters. This concept is an excellent example of NOV’s drive for purposeful innovation and was presented for the first time at Nor-Shipping 2015. NOV has a pending patent application directed to features and methods of the lifting crane design.

For more information, visit www.NOV.com 

All images presented here used with permission from NOV. 

NOV Trident Crane Concept

The Anza

Hand-made espresso excellence

2013 - Product design / User experience

The Anza is an in-house endeavor of Montaag. Hand-hewn and differently-shelled, the Anza irreverently expands on the traditional espresso machine material vernacular, while showcasing streamlined construction for an improved user-experience and ease-of-maintenance.

Shipping now, see and learn more at www.AnzaCoffee.com.

Photos by Jun Belen and Laura Bucholtz, 2014.

Slåke

Identity inspired by the Hjelmeland surroundings

2013 Visual identity

Since 1938 Slåke have produced Jærstolen as a modern Norwegian tradition furniture. Scandinavian design, Norwegian production and the use of the tree as a basic material characterize Slåke's products.

For Slåke, furniture carpentry means care for the materials and quality of the finished product. Slåke celebrated their 75th anniversary with a vision to create new classics in Nordic design. The team consists of young, innovative designers charged with safeguarding this company’s heritage while uniting the past with the future.

For this occasion, Slåke commissioned Montaag to refresh their visual identity. Inspired by Scandinavian design traditions, Montaag created a minimalist expression to reinforce Slåke’s focus on their products. The colors are inspired from Hjelmeland surroundings---the sun, sky, mountains, cropland, grass, sand and sea. As a counterbalance to an otherwise tight visual profile, we employed the circle to provide a contrast in both shape and color.

Magni Partners

Bold runic references for new management consulting company

2014 - Visual identity

Magni Partners is Tor Olav Trøim’s newly established management consulting company. Commissioned to create the company’s new corporate identity, Montaag created a brand based on the runic lettering around the name Magni (Norse for Magne, the son of Thor). The lettering was then used as the foundation for the Magni Parters’ logo symbol: the logo is formed when all the runic letters spelling Magni are present.

EGE

Reflecting tailor-made doors with bespoke quality

2014 Visual Identity / Web design

EGE is traditional manufacture of tailor-made doors and have made quality products for almost a century. With solid craftsmanship and enthusiasm they have created tailor-made doors for architects, construction companies and private clients who wants one of a kind door.

Montaag was commissioned to create a new identity for EGE in regards to a relaunch of the company. After researching EGE’s traditional way of craftsmanship we wanted to create a brand that in the same way conveyed their bespoke quality. To treat it as a high end brand that does not have the need to say to much, but just simply be, and speak for itself.

The logo was created after studying and simplifying to the least necessary form needed to visualize a “door”, also the guest of it being open gives a welcoming connotation. The whole identity from the Logo, stationary to the website is created to be clean and subtle in order to let the products tell the story of history, tradition and craftsmanship.

egedorer.no

ALTUS Intervention

New identity for North Sea well intervention specialists

2014 Visual Identity / Web design / User Experience / Exhibit design / Furniture design

ALTUS Intervention are well intervention specialists in the North Sea, offering wireline, wireline tractor, coiled tubing and pumping and logging services in Norway, Denmark and the UK. Formerly Aker Solutions Well Intervention Services, the company was purchased by private equity fund EQT in january 2014, necessitating a rebranding of the entire company. The business was subsequently rebranded to Qinterra AS, comprising the North Sea well intervention service business ALTUS Intervention and the international well intervention technology business Qinterra Technologies. Montaag was commission to create and implement a new brand into ALTUS Intervention’s website, brochures, business exhibition stands, catalogues and much more. The majority of the company’s rebranded print and digital assets were produced and rolled out within a 9-month timeframe.

altusintervention.com

Qinterra Technologies

New identity for global specialists in well intervention technology

2014 Visual Identity / Web design / User Experience / Exhibit design / Furniture design

Qinterra Technologies is a specialist well intervention technology company operating globally. They solve customers’ well intervention challenges by offering combinations of innovative and field-proven well intervention technologies and tools. Formerly Aker Solutions Well Intervention Services, the company was purchased by private equity fund EQT in january 2014, necessitating a rebranding of the entire company. The business was subsequently rebranded to Qinterra AS, comprising the North Sea well intervention service business ALTUS Intervention and the international well intervention technology business Qinterra Technologies. Montaag was commission to create and implement a new brand into Qinterra Technologies website, brochures, business exhibition stands, catalogues and much more. The majority of the company’s rebranded print and digital assets were produced and rolled out within a 9-month timeframe.

qinterra.com

IK

Interior graphics for IK'S new building

2014 Graphic design / Interior decor

IK is a niche supplier of solutions, products and service for subsea, pipe and pipeline, focusing on the worldwide oil and gas industry. Montaag got commissioned to make interior graphics for IK’s new building. The brief was to decorate a three story staircase and three floors of space. Inspiration originated from studying the meaning of the word ‘echo’ – “A close parallel to an idea, feeling, or event” – “repetative”. We wanted to make the decor resonate throughout the building with a interesting ambiant. The solution is based on a system of nine different squares that was deconstructed then generated into a new pattern, the outcome of that prosess became the graphics we scattered throughout the building as the original decor for the space.

First Geo

New identity for industry leader

2014 Visual Identity / Web design

First Geo is a leading provider of operations and wellsite geology services. For the past 20 years, the company has delivered expert subsurface advice and products to E&P companies worldwide. Their focus is on geophysics, geology, petrophysics, reservoir engineering and well management. Clients engage First Geo through all phases of a field's life cycle---from exploration to tail end. Previously part of Aker Solutions, when First Geo was purchased by private investors in 2014, the company required a completely new identity and corporate branding. Enter Montaag. We worked together with company stakeholders to facilitate the process, fully redesigning their coporate identity and branding, including a new website. first-geo.com

Rodeo

Sculptural, playful & unconventional

2013 - 2014 Naming / Visual Identity / Package design

We sit. We sit a lot. Consequently, according to product developer and physiotherapist Frode Skretting, back pain from sitting too much is the most common cause for sick leave. To combat this, Skretting, in cooperation with Hareide Design, developed and designed the Rodeo chair, focusing on motion and ergonomics. The round Rodeo chair is sculptural, playful and unconventional. The chair's form encourages an active and balanced posture while accomodating people's natural tendency to move. The Rodeo was launched in spring 2014 in both the public and private sectors, and from that context we developed the visual identity and brand. Montaag authored the chair’s name, Rodeo, reflecting the way you sit on the chair while also lending a feeling of playfulness and masculinity to it. Since this project is about public health, and therefore applicable to a wide audience, we chose to accentuate the cardboard box in which the chair is delivered. The use of the upper case "O" as an identity element in the package design strengthens the identity, but also promotes the product individuality, in a playful and indirect way. The “O” form on the carton is a shape between letter and graphic form, just like the chair challenges the boundaries between sculpture and furniture. Montaag’s Rodeo chair package design was awarded a diploma at Visuelt 2014.

rodeochair.no

Sandnes Kunst & Kulturhus

A new website for Sandnes ARTS CENTER

2013 - 2014 Web design / User Experience

The Sandnes Art and Civic Center (Kunst og Kulturhus) is a cultural venue that brings together three different arenas: the Sandnes Cultural Center (theater and events), KINOKINO (art house cinema and movie club), and RAS (contemporary dance).

Montaag was commissioned to create one easy-to-use-and-navigate website that would embody all the three arenas' needs and unite them with the same visual language. The functionality of our straightforward website design is twofold: (1) the home page presents the calendar for a quick and easy navigation option to select your event and purchase tickets; (2) by selecting your desired arena from the home page, site visitors are transported to an overview allowing providing further information about the events offered.

Ryger Lawfirm

Reflecting quality, efficiency and professional standing

2012 Naming / Visual Identity / Web design

Ryger is a lawfirm in Stavanger, Norway. The firm offers legal services in most areas of business, with particular focus on real estate, building and construction, as well as labor and bankruptcy. Montaag was tasked with crafting the identity for the company, beginning with their name: Ryger.

Ryger is the old Norse name for the inhabitants of Ryfylke, which is the geographical area in which Stavanger is located. In collaboration with Ryger, the identity created by Montaag reflects their quality, efficiency and professional standing.

The website allows visitors to get involved in the work that Ryger engages in, inviting them to see what Ryger is about while also experiencing the beautiful photography that reflects the origin of the company name. The aim of the photographs was to capture the landscape and colors of the Stavanger region, the changing light and all facets. The photographs, by Minna Suojoki, are partially abstracted, providing unique imagery that is both decorative and functional.

ORG Geophysical

Defining identity for Norwegian company specializing in hydrocarbon exploration

2013 Visual Identity

ORG Geophysical is a Norwegian oil service company that specializes in developing methods to find oil. The company’s unique methodology (Induced Polarization technology for hydrocarbon exploration) enables their customers to reduce the margin for error when drilling. ORG Geophysical sends signals to the sea bottom and the analysis of the data received is converted into valuable insights for ORG Geophysical customers.

Inspired by their business practices, Montaag designed an identity that visualizes this method. The idea behind the logo symbol was to visualize the echoing signals with use of the positive and negative space created by the arrows, In addition the drill bit was also a source of inspiration for the symbol. The identity is simple to use and understand for the employees in the company. It imparts symmetry, design and structure.

Modularity for High-End Home Audio

The EC Living for ELECTROCOMPANIET

2011 - 2014 User experience / Product design

Norway’s Electrocompaniet is a long-revered manufacturer of high-end sound equipment for recording studios—even receiving a “special thank you” from Michael Jackson in the liner notes of his HisStory album.

The EC Living marks the company’s foray into the home audio market. It’s a modular audio system of compact high-end, wireless speakers that can live on the kitchen counter, in the living room, bedroom, etc. Engineered to allow for building or changing the system as desired, one can easily supplement with additional speaker units as part of a larger house system, or to simply provide more sound in a given room.

Electrocompaniet turned to Montaag to translate the company’s elevated and exacting audio standards into the design of The EC Living experience. The results of our collaboration extend to not only to the components’ polished but understated form and materials—copper, black aluminum, natural aluminum, wood and a select palette of colored plastics—but to the experience design of the system’s controlling interface.  

With modularity as the project’s primary design focus, and the company’s Scandinavian heritage providing an influential filter, Montaag helped create a home audio system that seamlessly and elegantly integrates into any room in the house, and is both intuitive and enjoyable to use.

ECliving.electrocompaniet.no

 

Barnestemmen

Amplifying children's voices in society

2013 Visual Identity / Web design / Package design / Print design / Book design

Barnestemmen is a company with the vision to amplify children’s voices in society. They develop educational support tools to use when working with children in difficult life situations, such as violence, sexual abuse, alcoholism and other traumatizing experiences. The tools are practical and have a solid research-based foundation. Founder and initiator Sølvi Schei is an educationalist (Can. paed.) specializing in educational psychology. For Barnestemmen, Montaag was commissioned to develop the company’s visual identity, website, book design and related packaging. With a limited budget, a large dose of humility and a fantastic illustrator (Anders Emil Sommerfeldt), we began a process which fully engaged us, both professionally and emotionally. Barnstemmen’s “Painful Secrets” book series will similarly engage children and, at the same time, be a useful tool for adults. While children can relate to the situations illustrated even if they do or don´t have "a painful secret," the series should not be perceived as a traditional children's book. It should be treated as a professional support tool for educators. It was important that packaging, size and design generally took this into account. To strike the necessary balance between the books’ academic and "childish" parts, we employed few, but clear design elements, colors and illustrations that would appeal to children’s curiosity. And, placed on the bookshelf, the use of color makes the books easy to locate and select theme and subject.

www.barnestemmen.no

Bavaria

BMW Art Cars - The book

2012 - 2013 Print design / Book design

In 2012 Jeffrey Koon's painted BMW M3 was safely with the utmost precision placed on Pulpit Rock, a major tourist attraction in its own right located in Forsand, Ryfylke, Norway. Some days afterward, the car rolled into Stavanger Art Museum, along with 6 other cars from the storied and priceless collection.

To commemorate the event, Montaag, along with Scandanavian BMW retailer Bavaria and with spectacular images from Bitmap, developed the concept and design of a book befitting of such a unique project.

inPed

Tools to give children a meaningful upbringing

2010 - 2014 Visual identity / Package design

inPed creates tools for daycare personnel aiming to provide children with a meaningful upbringing. These unique products are the result of and response to many years of experience with the Norwegian kindergarten curriculum. Montaag was commissioned to create the company’s corporate identity. The logo, based on the company name, uses abstract lettering from circles and straight lines to project an unbroken line to symbolize lifelong learning, community and care.

To differentiate inPed products, like Puzzle, from the visual landscape of clipart and cute drawings, we developed a unique, playful, colorful and humorous design that engages both children and adults. To enhance the expression of its products and overall identity, the design we employed on the various inPed boxes is a typographic play, open for individual interpretation of the reconfigured forms taken from the logo. Puzzle illustrations by Jonathan Calugi. Awards 2013 - Diploma, Visuelt 2012 - Nominated for the Honours Award for Design Excellence 2012 - Award for Design Excellence 2011 - Gold, Visuelt

Ross Offshore

A website for a company that stands out

2012 - 2013 User experience / Web design

Ross Offshore wanted a website demonstrating how the company stands out from the other oil service companies through their innovative and creative approach. The design and user experience is inspired by the London Underground and the iconic title sequences of the 60ies. The website is designed and developed by Montaag Design in collaboration with the Communication Manager of Ross Offshore, Ole Marius Norvik and illustrator Ståle Ådland. Ross Offshore gave Montaag the task of designing a new intranet solution, with a clear company profile. Where they could integrate common features from SharePoint and Lync seamlessly on mobile, tablet and screen. Along with Bouvet and the client Montaag Design have developed a solution that is user friendly and engaging.

www.rossoffshore.no 

Rethink Dance

Dance under development

2011 Visual Identity / Print design
 

Rethink Dance is an art-driven forum for inspiration, exchange and expertise, and features performances by choreographers who are dancers themselves. The forum, aimed at artists, art students, academics, and dancers, is held at a new location each year and is in continuous development. For Montaag’s identity work for Rethink Dance, we worked with rough brushes on large canvases, which were then photographed. Invigorated by budgetary constraints, we found a complimentary solution in visualizing the spirit of Rethink Dance: dance under development. By painting by hand with brushes on large canvases, we have tried to adopt the fluid, impulsive and intuitive expression indicative of the contemporary dance performed through Rethink Dance.

Shift

Fine organic foods and dietary supplements

2010 - 2015 Product branding and identity / Package design

Vitalkost is a reputable producer and supplier of fine organic foods and dietary supplements based on reliable scientific evidence. The company has developed a new product line of vitamin supplements in an already overfilled health market.

Vitalkost’s Shift concept is meant to stimulate the public, and subsequently the market, to shine a critical light on such products and the lack of information, transparency, honesty and concrete benefits found therein. Each Shift product aims to individually challenge the established brands of any given subcategory.

Montaag was commissioned to create the identity, packaging and related print materials for this new product. The Shift logo is based on a symbol of an “S” changing form. The product needed to communicate well in terms of packaging and labeling, within the retail environment and to their employees. To assist in this pursuit, each product box was assigned a unique colour palette and decorated with that product’s QR-code. A scan of this code takes users directly to the product’s website and lays the foundation for transparency through access to detail-oriented information and documentation.

Altibox Chill

Live TV and video on all your devices

2010 - 2015 User Experience / Web design

Altibox Chill is a product from Altibox that lets you watch live TV and video on all your devices. Chill portal is open to all Internet users located in Norway.

During 2015 movie rentals will be possible on the iPad and mobile via Altibox Chill. This gives you the freedom to watch what you want, where and when it suits you.

Unlimited Entertainment! Montaag has designed the Chill desktop portal and is in continuous collaboration with Altibox developing new products.

Trekløver

A new identity for small manufacturer of children's furniture

2009 - Corporate branding / Product design

Trekløver is a small furniture manufacturer specializing in children's furniture. Initially we were contacted to consider the design for a new crib. Trekløver wanted a new flagship.

Their main challenge was that they failed to maintain a profitable production line, even though they had a high turnover of goods. During this process, we found that the company´s identity had to be changed to enable the company to reposition itself as a high-end manufacturer.

Rather than competing with cheap foreign manufacturers about tiny margins. This entailed the development of a new vision and a new business model. The new concept should reflect the values of high quality, modernity, tradition, craftsmanship and the certain little something to surprise and engage.

As part of this effort, a new logo and profile materials were developed, deriving their inspiration from old enamelled advertisement signs. A new production line including a crib, nursing table and cupboard were the mark of Trekløver's new market position. The product line focused on the high-quality- and high-end segment.

Cyviz

Identity & UX design for purveyors of sophisticated collaboration systems

2009, 2013 - 2015 Visual Identity Web design / User experience & Interface design

Founded in 1998, Cyviz is a global provider of high performance visualization, collaboration and command & control environments.  Based in Stavanger, with Experience Centers in Washington, DC, Houston, Dubai and Beijing, the company has created a new paradigm for the way organizations (across various industries) deploy, use and support large numbers of feature rich collaboration environments. 

Montaag was commissioned to rebrand the company, creating a new identity and, subsequently, its website, printed materials and other sales and marketing-focused collateral, including a Montaag-produced product movie. Additionally, Montaag helped develop the user interface and related application icons for the Cyviz Display Controller---the operating system for the setup and administration of the company’s AV equipment, used in advanced conference and meeting rooms.

Cyviz.com

Collaboration - Redefined by Cyviz

Nu Jäklar är det dags!

"Replace guilt with inspiration"

2009 Print design / Book design

“Nu Jäklar är det dags!” is a 400-page book project Montaag designed in collaboration with meteorologist, author and speaker Tone Bekkestad. The book was published in Sweden and launched at the COP 15 climate conference in Copenhagen in 2009.

Energy-saving production is ripe for dedicated and advanced research on new energy sources, on recycling and on profitable investments in new energy-efficient technologies. The thought behind “Nu Jäklar är det dags!” is to replace guilt with inspiration. Ms. Bekkestad has chosen to focus on facts, not complicated reasoning. The examples in the book do not look to necessarily provide solutions for energy production and consumption quandaries, but, rather, present the amazing possibilities out there.

Montaag chose an alternative tack for this textbook, which addresses and communicates advanced research, and present its information the way rock ‘n’ roll communicates music. The punk rock band Ramones’ song ”Blitzkrieg Bop” was the foundation for the book’s rhythm and design: straight forward, simple and catchy. Or as Joey Ramones sings: ”HEY HO, LETS GO!”. Large imagery and clear messages. Headings are stretched over several pages to inspire the reader and spark curiosity. The body is large and easy to read, to make it less intimidating and to break the barrier easily created by advanced subject matter. All photographs were shot by Knut Bry.