September 24, 2014
For art director Mikal Strøm growing up didn’t turn out exactly as expected. At 31, he’s happy to have settled in Oslo, a city without flying cars, but a blooming coffee scene. “Over the last 5 years, small niche coffee shops and roasteries have been popping up in Oslo’s short streets and hidden alleyways, roasting and brewing the world’s finest coffee.”
I think I was born a technological optimist. I remember walking to primary school, probably 12 years old, thinking that I will never do drugs because I don’t want to die of an overdose before the year of 2ooo, because that’s when the world will have flying cars. I was convinced that all governments, or a secret top government ruling over all other governments, were planning a year 2000 surprise with all kinds of sci-if stuff. I was really looking forward to it. And I remember newspapers writing about «the ecstasy epidemic» and people dying at rave parties. This epidemic seemed so massive that I saw it as a roll of the dice wether I would experience the new millennium or not.
Now it’s 2014, I’m 31 and I didn’t die at a rave, and there are still no flying cars. At least not in Oslo, where I more or less have been living since I was born. Despite the lack of flying cars, the city is quite amazing. It’s the perfect combination of nature and architecture, grass and asphalt, water and air. And the best part, I think, is the size. I can walk or ride my bike wherever I want to go.
Growing up I have been somewhat restless, thinking Oslo is too small to offer everything I might want in the future. When you’re younger I think it’s normal to want everything, and then as you grow older, settle with having what you need. The beauty of Oslo is not just that the city keeps changing and expanding all the time, but that it’s so small and I know it so well that every little tweak becomes noticeable. Because of that, everybody has an opportunity to take part in the process and together shape what this city is to become.
Working as a creative director, this evolution inspires me to become part of the city’s process. I like to see how new things pop up, get norwegianized, and how people interact with the new wants which quickly become their needs.
An example of this is Oslo’s rising coffee scene. Coffee came to Oslo pretty late. Our first coffee shop opened in ’94, and today we have over a hundred coffee shops. Over the last 5 years, small niche coffee shops and roasteries have been popping up in Oslo’s short streets and hidden alleyways, roasting and brewing the world’s finest coffee. We’re sort of a late bloomer, but when we bloom, we bloom nicely. Pun intended.