Snorre Stinessen

Professional in Architecture Design.

About Snorre Stinessen

Stinessen Arkitektur is a small practice located in Tromsø, Northern Norway that have distinguished themselves with award winning projects that are focused on unique designs to meet the requirements of the Client as well as answering to the surrounding landscape/cityscape and it´s inherent challenges and qualities. The studio works on all aspects of the design from the building itself to landscaping, interior design and furniture design - with a holistic approach to all projects. Current projects range from apartment buildings to hotels and resorts, villas, cabins, product design, office and alpine skiing resort.

  • 3-Time Winner of Architecture Design Award.
  • Specialized in Architecture Design.
  • 3 Featured Original Designs.
  • Highly Creative, Diligent and Innovative.
  • All Designs
  • Architecture
Malangen Family retreat

Malangen Family retreat

Architecture Design

Efjord Cabin

Efjord Cabin

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Manshausen Island Resort Hospitality, Sport, Hotel, Wellness/Spa

Manshausen Island Resort Hospitality, Sport, Hotel, Wellness/Spa

Architecture Design


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Interview with Snorre Stinessen

Could you please tell us more about your art and design background? What made you become an artist/designer? Have you always wanted to be a designer?
My education is architecture and industrial design from Norway and Italy. I did not really have a set goal or even a clear understanding of architecture and design when I started my education, actually perhaps just recently ;-) I have also done completely different work in my career, which at the end truly made me appreciate the fantastic privilege it is for me to be an architect.
Can you tell us more about your company / design studio?
It is originally a one man studio, but I now have a very talented assistant working from Italy. We undertake various kind of projects, but always with the philosophy of close interaction with the customer and a search for a strong conceptual idea which answers to both the clients need/scope and the site/surroundings.
What is "design" for you?
Design to me is perhaps an individual or unique approach to both understanding and answering to a task, problem, product etc.
What kinds of works do you like designing most?
Comprehensive projects where I am involved throughout the design process. in terms of a building that is both interiors and exteriors and sometimes even furniture. Large or small is not important.
What is your most favorite design, could you please tell more about it?
In product design Apple is an easy choice because they have been so design driven and focused - and partly by that so far ahead of its competitors. Now we see how an entire industry has followed. But, for me personally the architectural works of Sverre Fehn was an early inspiration.
When do you feel the most creative?
I try very hard not to be fall into routine, because I strongly believe intuition is important to find a comprehensive and interesting approach to my conceptual ideas. So, I guess anytime me and my subconsciousness is ready :-)
What kind of emotions do you feel when you design?
I guess the same as anybody else; joy, frustration, joy, frustration, more frustration etc. But, I just love it when I feel I am on the right track - that´s a good a drug as anything!
What kind of emotions do you feel when your designs are realized?
If the end-result is as envisaged it is certainly a sense of completion; reaching the end of a long journey. But, as we don´t control everything to the end result there are certainly also often some mixed feelings.
When judging a design as good or bad, which aspects do you consider first?
I try not to judge others work. I know what I like, but that is also a personal thing.
From your point of view, what are the responsibilities of a designer for society and environment?
Certainly trying to do your best work on every project. By that I also mean you need to be personally involved.
How do you think the "design field" is evolving? What is the future of design?
Difficult question as I also feel we should be careful to over-design everything, at least just for the sake of design. Nature is the best designer we have and it seems like there is a growing movement of including sustainable solutions, materials and even nature itself in both architecture and design. Hopefully that can continue as a guideline without trying to manipulate nature too much.
When was your last exhibition and where was it? And when do you want to hold your next exhibition?
I was fortunate to have two projects exhibited at Biennale di Venezia last year.
Where does the design inspiration for your works come from? How do you feed your creativity? What are your sources of inspirations?
My sources of inspiration may be many and varied, but specifically it should be site and customer/scope when designing a building.
Where do you live? Do you feel the cultural heritage of your country affects your designs? What are the pros and cons during designing as a result of living in your country?
I live in Northern Norway, small town called Tromsø, and the closeness to nature and sometimes harsh weather conditions have certainly affected my thinking.
How do you work with companies?
I am a strong believer of communication, listening and during the development of the process also discussing and agreeing on the way ahead.
What are your suggestions to companies for working with a designer? How can companies select a good designer?
My main advice would be the same as I would give myself - trusting your designer (or in my case the client); not blindly of course, but in a manner that you try to understand and appreciate the rationale behind their design or critique.
Can you talk a little about your design process?
My process is most often one of trying to understand my customer or the scope as best as I can, and understanding the site if applicable; before I do allow myself to have too many ideas of the design itself. The goal is to find a comprehensive conceptual idea that me and my customer can agree upon. During the project development dialogue is important both to test what you are doing and also to make your customer feel at home with what you are developing.
What are 5 of your favorite design items at home?
Our water cooker by Frank Gehry, our B20 kitchen by Bulthaup, my tea cup found in Rome, my espresso cup from Tazza d´oro and
Can you describe a day in your life?
I try to keep my days as flexile as I can - also because we are a family of five and we all enjoy our time together. But, I too have office time, after which I shop for dinner and perhaps some wine, make dinner which we all enjoy together (often quite late by Norwegian standards to ensure all of us actually can come to dinner) and then I often work in the evenings as well. Work is certainly a large part of my life, but only because I enjoy it so much and have lots of interesting projects.
Could you please share some pearls of wisdom for young designers? What are your suggestions to young, up and coming designers?
Try to find yourself and your own "language". It is the uniqueness of the individual approach that gives us great new ways of thinking and understanding. But, I also believe in studying and a respect and interest for what has been done by others, but from very old times and now in our time.
From your perspective, what would you say are some positives and negatives of being a designer?
Mostly just positives, but I guess that is also my general approach to life ;-)
How long does it take to design an object from beginning to end?
That varies with the complexity of the task and many other factors.
Do you have any works-in-progress being designed that you would like to talk about?
Many very interesting projects from small to fairly large scale. One of the most exciting is an entire alpine destination and resort in Narvik.

Extended Interview with Snorre Stinessen

Could you please tell us a bit about your design background and education?
I was educated as architect in Norway and Milan and started my own practice in 2005.
What motivates you to design in general, why did you become a designer?
I did not have a clear goal of becoming a designer or an architect, but have always had an open mind and positive attitude towards both possibilities and challenges. I have for a few years also worked at the same time in a very different business and today that has given me the insight of truly appreciating every day I have the fortune of working as an architect.
Did you choose to become a designer, or you were forced to become one?
It has indeed been a choice, although not always a very focused choice, definitely my own choice.
What do you design, what type of designs do you wish to design more of?
Architecture with the design of buildings and building environments - both small scale and larger developments. Regardless of size I believe strongly in the importance of planning both the interior and exterior of a building as a comprehensive process. I also do interior and even furniture design - both custom made for specific projects and for production.
What should young designers do to become a design legend like you?
Follow your own heart and your own ideas - that´s the only way to express who you really are as a designer or architect. Of course you need to learn and listen to experience, you need to study and you need to work hard; but you should always try to preserve the essence of yourself and your own approach to design.
What distinguishes between a good designer and a great designer?
A great design has relevance and depth beyond just eye-catching shape or design and a great designer in my opinion works hard to realise their ideas because they believe in them.
What makes a good design a really good design, how do you evaluate good design?
A really good design, in my opinion, give you a good stomach feeling.
What is the value of good design? Why should everyone invest in good design?
Good design is well considered and a meaningful answer to a function or a desired expression. It may enhance the experience not just of the object or graphics designed, but also the very elements the design is made for.
What would you design and who would you design for if you had the time?
If I had the opportunity I would love to design for children, objects or even schools, because I believe there is so much learning and inspiration to be given with an interesting and comprehensive design approach.
What is the dream project you haven’t yet had time to realize?
That would be designing a school where you work with talented teachers to create a comprehensive platform for teaching, learning, inspiring and social interaction with design as an integrated tool in all aspects. Just think of all the elements you can utilise and play with - how opening a door to a class room can be part of teaching and understanding mathematics, the room itself can give an actual understanding of the theoretics you are studying, etc, etc..
What is your secret recipe of success in design, what is your secret ingredient?
I believe in finding a strong conceptual idea that sits well with your stomach feeling (i.e. also subconsciously, not just analytically) and then build it stronger and not diluting it through the design process.
What helped you to become a great designer?
I do not think of myself as a great designer, but hopefully I am able to design something which resonates well with other people and in particular my customers and which is an interesting answer to the individual task.
What’s your next design project, what should we expect from you in future?
I am fortunate to work on several very rewarding and interesting projects - hope they all will become interesting :-)
What’s your ultimate goal as a designer?
To delivery my best work for all the projects that I am given and decide to take on.
How does design help create a better society?
There are so many ways to answer this. The main answer from me would have that when design is able to relay the importance of the object, function, etc that it is set in relation to, it enhances our cultural appreciations, understanding etc. In the ideal world it functions as a language more on the subconscious level than the outspoken.
What are you currently working on that you are especially excited about?
Currently working on many very interesting projects, among these an alpine skiing resort in the city of Narvik that will be hugely important for the city itself.
Which design projects gave you the most satisfaction, why?
Probably Manshausen, because there are so many visitors that understand the underlying thoughts behind the concept and design and at the same time just find their own peace when sitting behind the glass, floating above the moving sea.
What would you like to see changed in design industry in the coming years?
To me it seems too easy to become fascinated by rendered digital images of an object/design, which makes it harder to discern and also value the true fundamentals of the design approach at the basic level.
Where do you think the design field is headed next?
Honestly I have not given such issues much thought. I am approaching design in my own manner and my focus is on my own creations and not what others choose to do. It is important to me that there are individual answers and designs and that this is respected. People will understand and see things differently and that is what makes the world go round :-)
When you have a new design project, where do you start?
Understanding the task, site/surroundings (if relevant) and the customer/client.
How did you develop your skills as a master designer?
I try to have an open mind and also be mindful of not repeating myself or my approach too much.
How do you feel about all the awards and recognition you had, is it hard to be famous?
Fortunately I am not famous, but in a creative work it is truly appreciated to have positive feedback on your work. Awards are certainly a fantastic positive feedback, but it also sharpens your own awareness that the work we do can - and should be - important to many. It also inspires to keep on the hard work needed on the next project, and the next after that.
What makes your day great as a designer, how do you motivate yourself?
Working on interesting projects with interesting clients is all the motivation you need. The desire to find a good answer the the task or challenge I am given drives me.

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