Timeless design for 60 years

Choose cutlery carefully..

..and it will last for generations and give as much elegance and style to your dining table in 50 years as it does today.

As a customer of the Hardanger brand you should be able to invest in timeless quality – our task is to make cutlery that will follow you through large and small moments in life. Our designs must be so timeless and sustainable that you will be able to pass them on to future generations.

At the Hardanger brand, we believe that emphasising sustainability through timelessness is the most important thing we can do in the design process, both from a company perspective, but also in meeting the challenges we face in today’s use-and-throw society.

The beginning of the adventure

The Hardanger brand was started as Hardanger silverplated by Odd Leikvoll in 1958. The company was located in the beautiful Hardanger region in Norway. The area is known for its magnificent nature of mountains, fjords, waterfalls, glaciers and hundreds of thousands of fruit trees. With a rich cultural history, world-famous icons and unique nature experiences, it is no wonder that Hardanger has been a destination for tourists for hundreds of years.

The area is also best known for fruit growing since the 14th century, has since 1958 developed cutlery of the highest quality. It all started with the production of silver plated candlesticks in a barn that Odd borrowed from his father-in-law. The fact that an object is made of silver plate does not mean that it is pure silver. 60g of silver plating was used on Hardanger products.

The candlesticks were not a great success, but Odd saw the opportunities that lay in tourism. Back in the 60’s, it was more common to buy a memory or souvenir from the place you had visited. These could typically be thimbles, postcards, magnets or small spoons with place names on them. It was the last thing Odd saw possibilities in and started with cutlery production. Odd himself traveled around Norway in his own car and received orders from well-known tourist places which they themselves were to resell when the tourists arrived. The silver-plated spoons had an enamel mark on them that defined the place where they were sold.

Hardanger tin

Design history

In the early 60’s Odd started to produce pewter cutlery and the company grew to 4 employees. Pewter is a soft silver-gray metal, which is traditionally relatively strong in Norway. The designs in pewter had their inspiration from Norwegian history and the Viking Age. The pewter design was well received by Norwegians, but especially well by tourists and the export market.

The United States became the most important customer for the pewter products. The most famous design was called “The Royal Pewter” and was a pure cutlery line. The Royal Pewter was very important for the Hardanger brand for many years, as it was by far the most popular series in 22 of the first 30 years of the company. In the mid 70’s came Royal Pewter tableware which became pewter products that would fit to the Royal Pewter, this contained everything from beer mugs to candle extinguishers.

The dishwasher made its introduction into kitchens across Norway in the 70’s. And by the 80’s this had become a regular feature of all homes. This meant that products must withstand the dishwasher process. The Hardanger brand had observed this from the sidelines and was now fully committed to steel cutlery that could be washed in the dishwasher.

The first thought was to make the cutlery as timeless and elegant as original silver cutlery. The desire was to design products that would be used for all occasions, and not just the finest occasions that the silver cutlery often was used for. The Renesansse design was our first steel cutlery, launched in 1978 and we still have this design in our range.

We marked the turn of the millennium with a change in style in our designs. Previously, the cutlery designs were brushed steel or patterned. Our intention was to expand the market and make the Hardanger brand international, first out, was the neighboring country Sweden. The designers had to return to the drawing board to create a cutlery with a Scandinavian and modern feel. This can be clearly seen in our designs after the year 2000 with Fjord, Nora and Maria designs.

From design to function

The cutlery is a large part of the table setting and can be seen as the table’s jewelery. We do not think a nice design is enough for us to maintain the sustainability of the design process. In recent years, the focus has been on the functionality of the various cutlery designs. How the cutlery feels in the hand, how to eat with it and how it meets the variety of food is well thought out. We had thought of everything.

How is a new product created?
Design and product development of the Hardanger brand has also changed alongside time and surroundings. Creating new products could previously start by virtue of ideas and initiatives, while today it is characterised by the fact that we map a customer’s need or find a problem our products can help to solve. This helps us to think new, while at the same time helping to give our products a longer life cycle – it is simply more sustainable, as products that solve a customer problem are less often perceived as superfluous.

As a vision at the beginning of a design process, we also relate to the company’s own development strategy – this means that all the company’s values ​​(nature, family and time) must be prominent in the end result. Before we define what we want to make, we have the following thoughts in mind: We sell more than “just” cutlery, we give our customers an increased dining experience around the table. We want to inspire everyone to fulfill both large and small occasions, both for parties, but perhaps most importantly, for everyday use. In this way, family, relatives and acquaintances can gather around a pleasant meal where stories are shared and new chapters in life are written.

Product development

Once we have been through our strategy process and everything has been decided, the actual design of a cutlery or additional product is up for grabs. When a product is created, we take with us all the years of experience and knowledge as an important part of the development – good quality for us is therefore a matter of course.

We often use the word tactility. Object’s we humans use in daily life, such as cutlery, pepper shaker, napkin or toothbrush, trigger our sense of touch in different ways depending on what kind of material the objects are made of. Several of our senses are activated simultaneously. For the objects you have in your hands or use to eat with, the tactile element is central to the experience of many of the products you place into your mouth. Have you really thought about that?

The feeling it gives to let a spoon slide into your mouth you should not necessarily know, but the overall experience or the feeling you are left with after the meal should be good. Therefore, a meal consists not only of the food you eat, but also of the utensils you use to eat with. Properties such as taste, smell, material, weight, design and visual expression suddenly become extremely important for us to be able to help deliver an increased dining experience.

The adventure continues

If you look at how it all started and how it is today, there is probably many things in the Hardanger brand that have changed. But common from then until now are our values, our knowledge and experience with cutlery production, and we still manage it in the best possible way. Our iconic designs have also stood the test of time, and all future product development will focus on safeguarding what we have already created and giving it new and better use value, both within our series, but also across the whole range. When you buy our products, you can be sure that you get cutlery that follows you through all the large and small moments in life.