Ope’s Focus Tool Made of Ocean Plastic and Discarded Wood

Focus Tool and Design object from 100% reclaimed materials.

Press Release October 14th 2020

Ope’s Focus Tool Made of Ocean Plastic and Discarded Wood 

Norwegian design company Ope launches its new product, Ope Petrel, a focus tool for the hybrid workplace, made from 100% closed loop marine plastic and reclaimed wood. With Ope Petrel, the company aims to redraw the line between work and private life, to create a better and more productive work environment for home office workers.  

Anchor your focus and communicate it through Ope Petrel


Ope Petrel is a beautifully designed office tool that lets you consciously open and close the workday, build and support healthy work habits, and non-verbally communicate to others your state of mind and availability. 

The digital work lifestyle has blurred the boundaries between work and private. Work extends into people’s homes, and private distractions break up and extend the workday. As new habits form and settle, they become harder to break out of. Even though we enjoy the freedom offered by our digital tools, the merge of work and private life create stress and wear our relationships down 

Strangely, while working from home, communication with our nearest become more difficult. Our bodies might be present at home, but our minds are at work. In this state we lack tools for communication with people around us. Out of frustration we might turn to distancing from or even get angry towards our dearest to solve the immediate situation. 

“During the design process, I came to realize that Petrel, purely by existing in people’s lives, would facilitate conversations that are fundamental for healthy relationships. Through active use, it gives us a agreed upon and non-verbal language when situations of overlapping interest occur,” says Creative Director and Designer of Ope, Eirik Helgesen. 

Show that you are available for those around you – Ope Petrel

The coronavirus pandemic has accelerated the remote workplace lifestyle and increased the friction between people at their own homes that now has become their office space. 

In our time we have a tendency to turn to digital tools for any issue related to communication or managing our work and private life. But humans are not digital by nature, and our natural tools like expressing and interpreting emotions are far richer than what can be digitized. It was natural to use these tools and investigate the analogue universe of form, association and meaning for our solutions to the challenges of the digital age, says Co-founder, designer and CEO of Ope, Lars Urheim. 

Petrel is a completely analog tool that rebuilds the patterns of focus and presence in our work and in our private lives. By positioning the drop shaped wooden handle of the tool, one can anchor one’s own focus, while communicating availability non-verbally to others 

Ope Petrel is in deed innovative, but not only for its functionality. It is a “born circular” product, entirely made from reclaimed materials, and offered in a service model to businesses and organizations, ensuring a completely waste free, closed loop, regenerative value chain. The base of the tool will be the world’s first product made from reclaimed marine plastic offered in a ‘Material as a Service model.  Not only is the component made from 100% reclaimed marine plastic, but the model continually finances more clean-ups in the name of the customer. The regenerative-circular value chain itself is an innovation of Ope and the collaboration project “From Beach to Boardroom” funded by the Norwegian Retailers’ Environmental fund. 

The service offering that includes the object itself, is the result of a partnership between Ope and Ogoori, daughter company of Ope and Vestre, to beat ocean plastic pollution and pushing for a circular economy where waste can find value again. Norway is a circularity novice, with as little as 2.4% of country’s economy being circular. Still, through Ope Petrel, Norwegian Design paves the way for a new circular paradigm, where economic value creation runs hand in hand with cleaning up nature. 

Petrel also demonstrates that owner-less marine plastic is usable and that should be stored in objects to avoid further harm to the environment. In order to safeguard that this plastic does not enter into nature again, it is locked in objects in a rental model and tracked using blockchain technology. In this way, individuals and companies can take environmental responsibility through value chain collaboration, and cut the waste to zero in the process.  

Zero waste initiatives from the industry is really needed. It is estimated that an overwhelming 8 million tonnes of plastic still end up in the world’s ocean every year, and approximately 65 kg of new furniture is purchased by a person per year in Norway. A study has shown that half of over 10 000 tonnes of micro plastic from Norway end up in the ocean each year. Most of this micro plastic come from car tires, paint, rubber granules from artificial turf and textiles.  

 Inspiration for the design and name comes from seabirds, and the base made of owner-less plastic hints to the fact that researchers find plastic in nearly all the bodies of seabirds they examine. The name, Petrel, was inspired from a study by Denmark’s environmental protection agency that was discovered by designer Eirik Høvik Helgesen. The study revealed that more than 95 percent of northern petrels that were found dead off the Danish coast had plastic in their stomachs. The petrel, a seabird, generally hunt for food on the surface of the sea and so are susceptible to ingesting plastic floating on the surface.  

Ope’s vision is to see a world where there is a more balanced co-existence between humans, objects and nature. Ope aims to recreate a system that harmonizes the interaction between industrial activities and the natural ecosystem by providing sustainable products and services, designed for the circular economy. This will open an opportunity to change people’s habit of consumption and leading them to protect the environment.   

 Pre-order can be made on our website: www.ope.eco/petrel  

Close the workday or take a break, anchor and communicate it through Ope Petrel


Bio of the co-founders 

 Lars Urheim, Co-founder and CEO 

Lars earned his Bachelor of Arts and Master’s degrees in Interior and Furniture Design from the Bergen National Academy of the Arts. A true entrepreneurial spirit, he thrives under the pressure of creating new solutions to current challenges. Urheim is the inventor of three patented technologies, and have led Opes innovation projects related to regenerative business and circular economy. 

 Eirik Helgesen, Co-founder and Designer 

Eirik graduated from Bergen National Academy of Arts, specializing in Interior and Furniture Design in 2007. In in 2012, Eirik received his masters in Design Product from the Royal College of Art (RCA) in London. Eirik is responsible for visual representation and in-house product design projects. 


About Ope  

Ope is a cleantech furniture company, that focuses on building sustainable products and services at the intersection of work and private life. Ope aims to recreate a system that harmonizes the interaction between industrial activities and the natural ecosystem by providing sustainable products and services, designed for the circular economy. This will open an opportunity to change people’s habit of consumption and leading them to protect the environment. In 2019, Ope, together with Vestre and an environmental activist, Rune Gaasø, founded Ogoori, a Norwegian ocean impact company that supplies traceable ocean plastic. Ope plans to incorporate this ocean plastic collected along the Norwegian coastline into their design products, whilst also pushing the industrial value chain for plastic to become more circular.   

Contact details: 

Lars Urheim, CEO

Email: lars@ope.eco

Ka Man Mak, Communications Manager

Email: kaman@ope.eco


+47 400 99 899

Ope aims to grow with a negative environmental footprint

Furniture manufacturers Ope and Vestre with beach cleaners, industry and customers as partners, kick off Norway’s most ambitious collaboration to clean up after half a century of marine plastic pollution.

The BIG cleanup

Ope and Vestre, together with Environmentalist Rune Gaasø, have founded the company Ogoori, which will offer traceable plastic raw materials collected from the ocean with a guarantee of origin. A large fraction of the plastic is collected by volunteers from all over the world, through the organisation In The Same Boat on their cleanups along the Norwegian coastline. The 100% ownerless ocean plastic will be tracked through blockchain technology from technology partner Empower. The goal is to upcycle 500-1000 metric tons of ocean plastic to new raw materials in 2020 alone.

The Ogoori company name draws inspiration from Captain Oguri Jūkichi who returned to Japan as a hero, having been lost at sea longer than anyone else in history. Just as he returned to Japan as a hero, the reclaimed plastic that we’ve considered valueless should be treasured for its return from nature. Through Ogoori, the lost plastic will find new value through technology, storytelling and circular economy.

Regenerative Value Chain

“For two centuries, economic growth in the world has been driven by the consumption of non-renewable resources, with 90% ending up as waste after a short time. This is far from sustainable, and an emerging “sustainable” business community is not close enough to rectify the damage that has happened,” says Lars Urheim, initiator of Ogoori and CEO of Ope AS. “Sustainable means “in balance”, but we can’t celebrate balance in a world where 60% of wildlife is lost, greenhouse gases remain in the atmosphere, and the last remnants of untouched nature are eaten up by irresponsible industrialization and development. Sustainability is not enough any more, we need to dig deeper for solutions.”

Ope and Vestre both aim to be at the forefront of the race to be the best at sustainability, and it is natural to work together to reach the goal. With Ogoori, we take it a step further and establish what may be the world’s first company to deliver “Material as a Service” through what we call a Regenerative Circular Value Chain.

What we need now is a massive restoration of degraded nature, and reviving materials that have gone astray. That’s where re-generativity comes in. If we are to have growth in the economy, we must manage to achieve it by cleaning up everything that has gone astray; whether it is returning industrial areas to nature, the extraction of CO2 from the atmosphere, or the cleaning up of plastics in the sea.

This last thing is what Ope and Vestre want to solve through Ogoori, and the principle we call PCS “Plastic Capture and Storage”, an analogy to CCS “Carbon Capture and Storage”. PCS means treating plastic in nature as an oil by-product that needs to be collected and stored in man made objects in infinite to stop it from polluting the environment ever again.

Showcase to inspire

“The world is in a process of restructuring, and Vestre hopes Ogoori can become a showcase for detaching from the correlation between growth and resource consumption. The development of Ogoori will be relevant to the rest of Vestre’s business, and hopefully will inspire other players as well, ” says Jan Christian Vestre, CEO of Vestre.

Ogoori represents a community of beach cleaners, waste-, plastic- and finished goods industries as well as their customers, who jointly take responsibility where others have not, and create a truly regenerative and sustainable economy.

It has been assumed that the ownerless ocean plastic has no value, as it is broken down by sunlight, mechanical wear and consists of a mix of different plastic materials. In addition, it is difficult and expensive to clean it up and recover it. A challenging starting point if profit is the motivation, but it is not, even though the Ogoori founders see the economic value in a market where brand reputation is closely tied to the chosen materials of their products.

The high cost is resolved by Ogoori simply not selling the material. Marine plastic is made available to the industry through a rental model, where the long life of the plastic ensures a manageable price for the customer. – “We have checked with researchers we work with, and dare to claim that we are the first in the world to offer raw materials as a service, at least raw materials that are cleaned up in nature”, says Ogoori co-founder and chairman, Rune Gaasø.

New value from lost resources

Chairman Jon Daniel Nesje and CEO of Ope, Lars Urheim, aims to create growth through cleaning up plastic in nature Photo: Ope

Ope and Vestre also know that this plastic carries something that neither new plastic nor re-circulated plastic from households and industry has, namely a strong history. The plastic is lifted out of nature piece by piece by volunteer and professional beach cleaners through a huge joint effort so that it will not waste, contaminate, be eaten by marine species or broken down into microplastics in the future. Our customers can help facilitate and become a part of this story, by looking after the plastic and at the same time experience the added value that good product and service solutions entail.

Rasmus Hansson, Head of The Norwegian Retailers Environment Fund (HMF) states, “The Norwegian Retailers Environment Fund supported the Ope project from “From Beach To Boardroom” in 2019. We are very pleased that the project is now expanding to an industrial level for re-processing the plastic material to new products in a circular model.”

And while it might be tempting to think of this story as a financial gold mine for the owners of Ogoori, that’s not the goal. The goal is to create exponential growth in the cleanup, and therefore all the profits from Ogoori will be returned to more cleanup, as long as there is plastic left in the sea. The initiative for the establishment of Ogoori has grown out of the close relationship with the beach cleanup community, where volunteerism and public support is the backbone of the cleanup.

We have no desire to exploit volunteers and government support to make money, but will take a role in evolving these initiatives to create a financial result that can be reversed to ensure even more ocean clean up. Ope’s ambition in taking this initiative is to achieve growth with a negative environmental footprint.

From Beach to Boardroom – creating value from plastic pollution

Lars Urheim and Jan Christian Vestre with material samples

Increasing producer responsibility, means less plastic pollution. Ope, IVAR and Vestre have jointly established the project From beach to boardroom. A tangible measure on the part of the business community to address the challenges associated with plastic in nature.

Producer responsibility

The business world has long made a good profit, having unlimited access to our planets limited resources. The results of this can be seen today with the looming global environmental catastrophe. “We want to show the way for the future business community. It is untenable to simply continue as before. The actors engaged in commerce today must take responsibility where our predecessors have not. The business community now needs to find ways to create value by rehabilitating damaged nature.” Says Lars Urheim, General Manager of Ope.

The From beach to boardroom project will take plastic that has gone astray out of nature, and into Norwegian design objects meant for commercial buildings and public spaces. A value chain will be established that places the collected plastic back into a usage cycle and ensures it is kept there.

Lars Urheim and Jan Christian Vestre with material samples
Wants to clean up plastic pollution. Norwegian furniture companies Vestre and Ope will make use of ownerless marine plastic in their products

Research and block chain

Through a preliminary project in 2018, the research institute SINTEF verified for the parties and then partner Fjord Fiesta, that ocean plastic is functionally capable for use in products. The collaboration now also includes the block chain company Empower. Empower has developed a block chain based system for documenting the origin of plastic. In this way, precision and trust are attained in where the plastic was collected from. This safeguards the project’s purpose and ensures that it is ownerless plastic that is being included in the new value chain.

Plastic with purpose

The plastic will subsequently be tagged with the history of precisely where and by whom it was collected. This will make it possible to follow it all the way from the beach to, for example, the board room of the company purchasing it. Through procurement from this value chain, a direct contribution is made to the needed global clean-up. At the same time, one can enjoy quality Norwegian design products – such as Ope’s unique shelving solutions. The From beach to boardroom project will create value from the plastic pollution that today is a global problem.

Broad collaboration

“We are already co-operating with actors throughout the entire value chain. Still we have plenty of room for companies that wish to shoulder their share of the responsibility by choosing products from ownerless marine plastic for their buildings and properties. Large companies such as Google and Adidas have already decided to only purchase products of recycled material in the immediate future. We desire to recruit Norwegian actors with the same level of ambition to partner up with us. The more responsibility taken, the less plastic pollution. A winning situation for everyone”, says Urheim.

The Norwegian Retailer’s Environment Fund has great faith in the project, supporting it with NOK 2 million. Their contribution will ensure the project being implemented at full scale. The goal is to be able to realize From beach to boardroom during the course of the next year.

Did you know that open plan offices can decrease productivity with 15 %?

When we think about open-plan offices we often picture energetic and social work environments. Enthusiastic people in cool locations. Bright, open spaces where creativity and collaboration flourishes. It’s cost efficient, it’s social, it’s motivating, it’s trendy, it’s the future. And it is distracting. It is stressful, and it can actually decrease productivity. Yet more and more employees are now in open plan offices.

But can’t we just give everyone headphones or muting microphones?

Even though humans are social creatures research show that we need shielding and the sense of private space. The most efficient open plan offices have shielding that is so high that you have to stand to see and contact your colleague.

Did you know that research show that open plan offices can decrease productivity with 15 %? A small distraction can make you lose focus up to 20 minutes! And it can create health issues and increase sick leave. We are looking at high costs!

Not to mention what it does to the environment! An open-plan office is constantly changing and every year large quantums of fully functional furniture and inventory ends up as waste. A lot of it comes from offices. We all know it. But changes to work environment does not have to be at the expense of the environment.

We have many satisfied customers, for example Bergen.Works, who says:

With Ope we have made the perfect solution for our Co-Working space. We have managed to create rooms within a rom – using room dividers which give shielding and help to keep the rooms open and light and inspire to creativity and innovation.

Ope is the new thing within office interior that optimizes people’s environment in open-plan offices. Ope is modular and consists of modules that can be built and taken apart according to need – just like LEGO.

So what separates Ope from others, besides that it is modular?

Our solutions transform open plan offices into good working environments through variety and flexibility. Each module can be open or closed. Giving you endless possibilities to customize solutions for different rooms and employees. Wool cushions act as sound absorbers and bring colour to the interior.

So with Ope you get a Kinder-egg; storage, shielding and sound dampening. You get a room divider without closing off light – and which is open enough so that it inspires interaction. You can also create a room within the room and make social spaces.

The click patent in the connectors is the key that enables you to easily assemble the modules so that you can customize solutions to get the best working environment for your office and employees – and you can rebuild and expand with just a few clicks.

Sustainable design // circular economy

Buildings and interiors are constantly changed by their inhabitants. This process normally costs more than you like and puts a strain on the environment through excessive use of resources. Ope embraces this knowledge, and has created a modular system based on the principles of circular economy.

That is way Ope has a classic and timeless design with components that can be used over and over again.

We have reversed vending for all our used components to ensure that none of our products end up as waste.

We rent out components to businesses that only needs furniture for a short period, thereby reducing unnecessary mass production.

In collaboration with SINTEF and IVAR we will now look at the possibility to create a new composite material of recycled ocean plastic. If we succeed, you will by buying Ope, help clean up the ocean.

Designers thoughts..

“We have through our own experiences, education and work learned how limiting and inflexible objects can be. In order to address this and give everyone the opportunity to create inspiring space, we developed the Ope™ modular furniture system.”

Eirik Helgesen and Lars Urheim, Designers of Ope™

Ope™ is built on the vision of providing the opportunity to create

The acceptance in today’s society to dispose of a product, when it is not fit for purpose any longer, lies at the heart of Ope™.  Influenced by the modern Scandinavian lifestyle, we have set out to create a timeless furniture system to address demands for sustainability, flexibility and individuality.

Based on four basic components, the form & function of a piece is decided by the owner.  The Ope™ system can be expanded in three dimensions allowing for endless possibilities whether that is to create simple storage units for the home, room dividers in an office environment or sculptural structures in public spaces. It all starts with the Ope™ connector and the rest is up to you.

Over time the system can be reconfigured and rebuilt as needs change to accommodate a different or expanded purpose.  This provides everyone from individuals, interior designers and architects with the freedom to define and redefine spaces through their furnishing.

Ope™ solves the needs of today as well as tomorrow.

Lars Urheim
Managing Director & Co-Founder

Lars Urheim cofounded Ope AS in 2011 and serves as Managing Director. In this role, Urheim oversees strategy and day-to-day operations of Ope™, an innovative Scandinavian shelving company that challenges the idea that furniture must be a static object.

Urheim has extensive experience in designing pieces for office, retail and leisure spaces, having started his design career renovating houses and working as a carpenter and property developer. Urheim also cofounded TRØKK16, a design collective with three other designers, now still active as a design duo. Urheim was the cofounder of IPI AS and inventor of its patented technical solution. Prior to joining IPI AS, he was dedicated to the development of an automated drawing system for auditorium seating solutions as well as standardized furniture architecture at Skeie Møbelfabrikk AS. From there, Urheim cofounded Fludo, where he was the co-inventor of a user centred navigation software for e-commerce.

As a designer, Urheim has won awards due to his focus on sustainable and environmentally conscious solutions. A true entrepreneurial spirit, he thrives under the pressure of creating new solutions to current challenges. Urheim is the inventor of three patented technologies.

Urheim earned his Bachelor of Arts and Master’s degrees in Interior and Furniture Design from the Bergen National Academy of the Arts. He and his family reside in Stavanger, Norway.

Eirik Høvik Helgesen
Creative Director & Co-Founder

Eirik Helgesen is the Creative Director for Ope AS, an innovative shelving company, which he co-founded in 2011.  In his role, Eirik is responsible for visual representation and in-house custom design.

Before he started his career as a furniture designer, Eirik spent a year with the Royal Norwegian Naval Academy. He graduated from Bergen National Academy of Arts, specializing in Interior and Furniture Design in 2007. During his time at the Bergen National Academy of Arts, Eirik also worked at Myhr Industrial, where he assisted in the design and production furniture and product prototypes. Upon graduating, he started working at the Scandinavian design company, Bolia, while simultaneously founding TRØKK16, a design collective with three other designers. Then, in 2012, Eirik received his masters in Design Product from the Royal College of Art (RCA) in London. In addition to his studies and multiple professional endeavours, Eirik launched his own design company where he designed concepts, objects and interiors for organizations, including the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Denmark and the World Business Summit on Climate Change.

Eirik has been a semi-professional cyclist, peddling throughout Spain, Belgium and Norway. Eirik also has a love for travel and recently visited Cambodia, Thailand and Vietnam.

Photo by Tove Lise Mossestad