Kjersti Kviseth – Work lifecycle
I grew up on a farm near Trondheim, Norway, learning early about appreciating nature and animals. Aged 19 I headed for Germany and music studies, before I found my place to be at the Design Department in the Muthesisus Schule, Kiel, where I got my diploma in furniture design 1987.
Back at my roots I started to work in the Norwegian furniture industry. My first big love relation at work came as product developer at HÅG asa (now Scandinavian Business Seating), the major office seating brand in Scandinavia and among top 10 in Europe. As product developer and project manager, I was amongst others responsible for developing new textile collections. From 1991 I created and developed my position as Sustainability Manager where I stayed for 10 years. Being a designer employed in R&D, I had the best position to create product focused strategies and projects.
I worked with everything from Design principles and Environmental Performance Declarations to Waste management and Supplier development. We were among the very first Norwegian companies to receive ISO 14000 and EMAS certifications, as well as piloting EPDs. Much more than these fact based schemes, my work was about product development or eco-design. I was inspired by The natural step, Deep Ecology and the ideas of closing material loops.
In 1997 we launched a chair with main components made of recycled bottle caps, a joint project with the supplier network. And we set up a take-back scheme for used chairs in Europe, in cooperation with recyclers in Holland and Norway, that never became a big hit because people preferred to take their old chairs home instead, the backside of long lifetime and high quality.
Design principles and guidelines for product development were early in place, being my favourite topic. We focused on reducing resource consumption, closing material loops, long lifetime, designing products easy to assemble and disassemble, as well as recyclable, proving that making sustainable choices were good for the economical bottom line as well. Customers still may get the question we introduced early; Do you really need a new chair? Or can we upgrade your old one? Designing products with easy replaceable and affordable spare parts was part of the game.
In addition we did a lot of training and knowledge transfer to employees, building a corporate global network for sustainability, and our annual report on economy and environment got awarded a few times. HÅG had a great corporate culture of supporting creativity and individuals, as well having fun and “sharing bread and thoughts”. It was for me the best place to grow.
After 10 years of Sustainability management I left HÅG to teach “Eco-Design” at both the Norwegian University of Technology and Science (NTNU) and Akershus University College for a few years, the latter including co-creating a Master Degree program on Sustainable Design. This work brought me to China several times for giving seminars on Eco-Design at Xi’an University of Architecture and Technology with Norwegian and Chinese students.
Design for lifecycles
Already late 90`s I learned about Cradle to Cradle Design and, putting a lot of what I had already done into a new conceptual framework. I cooperated with Michael Braungart and his EPEA office for several years as “Cradle to Cradle” representative in Norway. When starting 2025design around 2005, together with Tore Gulden, we were the first Design office in Europe to be Cradle to Cradle Design approved.
In 2025design we have focused upon consulting industry and business on Sustainability strategies, Cradle to Cradle way of thinking, material choices, product hot-spot screening and Concept developments.
We now use the term Design for lifecycles to describe our holistic approach to product creation, including emotional factors and longevity, not limiting our work to Cradle to Cradle.
Textiles and wool
The last years I have been mainly working with textile industry and a lot with wool, being part of research projects on Norwegian Wool. I represent the International Wool Textile Organisation at the Sustainable Apparel Coalition, and am part of Textile Exchange work on the Responsible Wool Standard. In cooperation with Kristin Støren Wigum GAIA Trondheim, and DOGA I set up an exhibition Lev Vel (Live Well) in 2014, and continue to work with DOGA on raising awareness in the Norwegian textile industry.