Ole Finn Håndlykken is Head of Marketing and Development at Hent, one of Norway's major entrepreneurial companies, and he has worked with Nordic on numerious occasions. When questioned about why he works with Nordic, he replies "because they work with me."
The secret ingredient
"I've been in this business so long that I've learnt the value of human relationships in a project. I mean, there are a lot of architecture practices that can deliver what Nordic do on paper, but Nordic's got this mix of dead serious professionalism and creative ambition that is very attractive to me. It's something about the way they go about things – going deep, but keeping it light, so to speak."
What he describes, more or less encompasses Nordic's work philosophy. The ability to create flow in both the creative process and the finished structure is one of the hallmark qualities that has made Nordic what it is today.
"A good process is not all about methods and routines, it's also about people and how they work together. It's about intangibles such as trust, mutual respect and shared ambitions. After all is said and done, when it comes to drawings, proposals and technicalities, a good project is as good as the people working on it. And Nordic is simply very good at this – picking the right people for the right job – because they have understood that the secret ingredient in every successful project is people."
Collaboration between Nordic and HENT: Comfort Hotel, Bergen Airport
The It factor
Nordic firmly believe in involving the client every step of the way. This also includes the explorative phases, because actually, (maybe contrary to popular belief among some architects), the client is an intelligent and articulate human being with valuable insights and comments.
"I think one of the major strengths of Nordic is their openness and their ability to understand the challenge we're facing. It may sound almost banal, but that's actually an incredibly important part of any project – to correctly assess what we're dealing with and then deal with it."
When Håndlykken talks about it, he means the ability to come up with concepts that actually work within the boundaries of the project. It's a matter-of-fact attitude that sets Nordic apart from many others, because Nordic will never force their architecture upon the users.
"For an entrepreneurial firm like us, it's more important to be willing to co-operate with the architects on finding the best solution for a particular challenge, than to bend over backwards to fulfill some vision of grandeur. And that's a field where Nordic really excel - they're really good at working with something rather than against, over or around it."
Collaboration between Nordic and HENT: Voss High School and Torstvedt School is currently on site.
Safety in numbers
Nordic is one of the largest architectural practices in Norway with more than 130 architects, and this is also very important to Håndlykken.
"I'm not saying that you need to be big to work on the kind of projects that we do, but it helps, to put it that way. You see, we're quite pragmatic about this. To us, good capacity and confidence that the project won't stop or suffer if people quit, move or otherwise leave, is of utmost importance. In other words: Nordic offers a safety in numbers that is very reassuring. Very few practices are able to match that."