Olssøn BarbieriOB

Nykr

The beauty industry is increasingly embedding technology into their products, feeding into a narrative of flawlessness and homogenisation. At the same time, and in parallel with the body acceptance movement, niche innovator brands are connecting with a contrasting consumer desire for natural and inclusive beauty through organic formulas.

Nykr is an all-natural, gender-neutral handmade skincare brand from Oslo, founded by the scent artist Cecilie Egeberg. Cecilie’s attraction to the duality of light and dark and the good and bad in the Nykr, is emblematic of the honesty which mirrors the slow beauty and natural skincare philosophy.

The name is a Norse word for Nøkken; a shape-shifting water spirit in Scandinavian folklore who was believed to hide in lakes and waters, luring children and women below the surface by playing enchanted songs on the violin or assuming beautiful and alluring shapes – most commonly in the form of a "brook horse". At the end of the 19th century, many Norwegian artists looked back in time to rediscover their old myths and legends. The myths of Nøkken inspired the paintings of Theodor Kittelsen, the poetry of Henrik Ibsen and the music of Edvard Grieg.

The formulas of Nykr are popular with the actors at the National Theatre in Oslo, and for the redesign of the brand we were inspired by how the theatre is constantly interpreting classics. Through the contemporary and fluid illustration style of Magnus Voll Mathiassen, we reinterpreted motifs, myths and superstitions connected to Nykr.

Nøkken in Norwegian art

In Norse mythology every animal, plant, rock, river, lake, what we call "Natural world" had its animated spirit. The Scandinavian 'Nøkken' was a shapeshifting water spirits who played enchanted songs on the violin, luring women and children to drown in lakes or streams. They also could appear as floating objects or as an animal – most commonly in the form of a "brook horse".

At the end of the 19th century, many Norwegian artists looked back in time to rediscover their old myths and legend. Theodor Kittelsen (1859-1914) was Norway's most famous illustrator from the golden age of illustration. He became famous for his nature paintings, as well as for his illustrations of fairy tales and legends. Henrik Ibsen (1828-1906) is mentioning Nøkken in his 1871 poems “Spillemænd” and “Med en Vandlilje”. A reccuring theme in Ibsens work is that the characters are faced with self-realization and struggle with the clash between the individual and societal pressures. Edvard Grieg (1843-1907) composed an opus based on these poems in 1876 and he was one of the leading Romantic Era composer in Norway.

Every illustration is dedicated to a category. The Face Oil is represented by water lilies, which was believed to hide the Nykr below the water. The Hair Oil is inspired by an iconic Kittelsen painting of the Nykr in the shape of a horse. The Body Oil represents superstition and protection. By shouting the name of the Nykr out loud, it was believed he would vanish. The lip balms are named after three of Ibsens female characters: Hedda, Nora and Fanny.

As many niche cosmetic products are black and white, we also wanted colour to play a larger role. The bottles are staple vessels, but the spray coating and the silkscreened illustrations contributes to elevating each product. The concept of duality is also manifested in the two different sides of the bottles – the scientific, typographical side and the magical, illustrated side portraying the legends of the Nykr. Each glass bottle is spray lacquered and silk screened with organic ink in three different colours.

2020
Stavanger Ysteri
The cheese maker that made it to Maaemo
2020
Ambijus
The Lab is our terroir. A range of alcohol-free wine alternatives.
2020
Hovelsrud
A farm on the island Helgøya doing regenerative agriculture, with ecological chickens and an edible garden
2019–
Rekedal Pølsefabrikk
Traditional, family driven sausage factory in Follebu
2019–
Nykr
Handmade and ecological skincare made by Cecilie F. Egeberg
2019–
Himkok
Oslo is the home of the world's most sustainable bar
2019–
CF18 Chocolatier
A Norwegian engineer-turned-chocolatier
2019
Gullmunn Spritfabrikk
The creation of Marthe Bøhn, pioneering in a male-dominated business
2018–
Holmen Crisp
Bringing back the joy of baking to a gluten-free living
2018–
"Du, jeg, og Erik"
A naked and vulnerable first novel by the photographer Morten Andenæs
2018
Tales of (33cl)
These are the tales of Vodka, Gin and Rum
2018
Pins
A selection of our projects made into pins
2018
Oslo Tre
Good and honest buildings sustainably produced in wood
2018
Sepoy & Co
Indian tonic, made in India, by Indians
2018
Tales of (70cl)
A captain, a barman, a mule and two lucky friends
2017
Gilde Juleaquavit
Celebrating 30 years and giving honour to a master distiller
2017
Snåsa Water
Creating a contemporary vessel for the most humble of all drinks
2017
Løiten Aquavit
It all started when small farm distilleries around Oslo got together
2017
Babylife
Ecological mother & baby products from Norway
2017
Hellstrøm Sommer
Medicinal plants are at their strongest if collected on Midsummer night
2016–
Backe i Grensen
The last standing family-owned department store in Oslo
2016
Malbrum Parfums
Norwegian parfumes by Kristian Hilberg and nose Delphine Thierry
2016
Balholm Handverkcider
Craft cider from deep inside the Sognefjord
2016
Balholm Epledram 6666
The story of the gardener and his 6666 apple trees
2016
Balholm Fruktvin
The Medieval Scandinavian wine was made of fruit
2015
Lysholm No 52
After 52 trials of the recipe, distiller Ivan Abrahamsen was satisfied
2015
Cantina Zaccagnini
In Norway, this is called the "Pinnevin" – the 'stick wine'
2015
Territoriet Winebar
An unpretentious wine bar with serious wines in the center of Oslo
2015
Hellstrøm Gløgg
A traditional Scandinavian winter beverage of warm wine with an infusion of spices
2014
Karin+Sondre=Sant
When you find the other half - a wedding invitation
2014
Fiin Gammel Portviin
In 1923 a deal with Portugal ensured port wine to Norwegians in exchange for cod
2014
Hellstrøm Juleaquavit
Recovering pagan agricultural symbols for the spirit of Christmas
2013
Pietro di Campo
A range of wines inspired by Italian gestures
2013
Principiano
One of the first natural wines in Norway
2013
Bamsrudlåven Gårdsis
Mysen is famous for Jan Garbarek – and now ice cream
2013
Bodega La Serrana
A rural organic wine from Bierzo
2012
Cuvée S
Shakespeare, Sonia Delaunay and concrete poetry in a bottle
2012
Animasjonsdepartementet
Oslo-based production studio doing animations, films and installations
2012
Alberto Fenocchio
Creating a sense of place through local decorated ceramics
2012
Hellstrøm Aquavit
A Michelin starred Chef and his Aquavit - redefining a category language
2012
Villa Cafaggio
Pioneering the use of premium Italian papers to elevate wines in BIB