All posts filed under: Product and Industrial Design

Björn Steinar Blumenstein

Björn Steinar Blumenstein creates projects that offer a distinct perspective on the bewildering pipeline of contemporary production that enables our daily lifestyles. With a critical yet solution-oriented eye, he explores fresh ways we can consider and engage with our globalised world beyond our typical default role as a purchasing consumer. We met up with Björn Steinar to discuss two new exhibitions he will be presenting at DesignMarch and his talk at this year’s DesignTalks conference. Your work strikes me as a form of design research. What is the main reason for this approach? In Iceland, design is still quite experimental. There is no fixed place for the designer within society so we are quite free. That’s the best thing about it and also the most limiting. We have relatively few material resources and the infrastructure is even less developed. That sparks all these funny projects where designers do hands-on material experiments and push it to the limits. Can we dive a bit into your DesignMarch 2018 exhibitions and the design processes behind them? Catch of …

Hanna Dís Whitehead

Hanna Dís Whitehead graduated from Design Academy Eindhoven’s product design programme in 2011, and today has her own design studio in southeast Iceland, Studio Hanna Whitehead. This year’s DesignMarch will provide visitors with two opportunities to view her work: her private exhibition Another Dialog at the Culture House, and through her contributions to the collaborative exhibition Illikambur, to be held at Gallery Harbinger. “The product line usually revolves around designing stuff that doesn’t necessarily have a predetermined purpose, but this time I’ve turned that around, to some extent,” Whitehead says of her line Another Dialog, explaining how the project actually came about as a result of her conversations with attendees of her previous exhibitions. “For the first time, I’ve made a conscious effort to adapt and develop the product to better suit the public’s ideas on its usefulness and practicality. This particular line is largely ceramic in nature, so I’ve used a variety of different glazes to produce varying textures. That way, I can make pottery that feels plastic to the touch, or even rubbery.” …

Erling and Helga Ósk

The exhibition Breathe presents the first collaborative line of jewellery designed by goldsmiths Erling and Helga Ósk, although the two have operated a shared workshop and retail space together since 2016. They explain that after sitting across from each other for almost two years, freely sharing ideas and design solutions, a closer collaborative venture came about quite naturally. While their respective approaches to their subject matter might seem divergent to the casual observer, they both agree on a certain shared attitude toward jewellery design, with plenty of room for overlap between the two. It was clear to both of them from an early age that their paths lay toward craftsmanship, and goldsmithing in particular. While Helga Ósk has immersed herself in traditional Icelandic design, creating works with aesthetic roots deep in Iceland’s past, Erling has experimented with the creation of forms hitherto unseen. They both, however, make a habit of venturing outside their comfort zones, breaking from their own aesthetic sensibilities whilst building on the well-established bedrock of their years of professional experience in the …

Studio Trippin
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From by-product to designer product

Design team Studio Trippin is blazing new trails with its utilization of horse hides and, in so doing, is transforming a previously unused by-product into an interesting designer product. Horse hides haven’t been used much in Iceland, which clothing designer Kristín Karlsdóttir and product designer Vigdís Steinarsdóttir see as an interesting challenge. “Unlike most other pelts, these hides come from an animal that has been treated well and is otherwise fully utilized. As such, we think it’s much better to make use of them, rather than dispose or export them, as has been done up until now. Also, this is a more environmentally friendly material than fake fur,” says Valdís. The inspiration for the project came from a class that Valdís attended as part of her product design studies at the Iceland Academy of the Arts, which emphasized the importance of the horse in Icelandic culture and opened up a discussion about an increased use of its by-products. “I became totally obsessed with this raw material and, in time, Kristín and I started talking and …

Student Series 2017

Blikur by Dagný Björg Stefánsdóttir

Blikur by Dagný Björg Stefánsdóttir is an investigation into ways we can sensorily relate to the weather. Poetic and meditative, the project transmits quiet strength as it melds contemporary design with old traditions and methods as a way to reconnect us with our bodies and the environment. These four minimal artefacts are a direct comment upon our dependence on technology and its corresponding loss of traditional knowledge for reading nature. As beautifully observed by Thomas Pausz, the power and beauty of Blikur lies in its reactionary nature: “Change is happening and we are learning to listen again. Blikur participates in this new consciousness.” Hello Dagný! How would you describe your project? Blikur is a series of four objects made out of materials that change in dialogue with different atmospheric conditions to reveal patterns of the weather with movement rather than numbers. The objects are sensors measuring atmospheric pressure, temperature, humidity levels and wind direction. They encourage the viewer to learn how to read into nature—into its surroundings and seek to reestablish the connection between humans …

Student Series 2017 / Through the Looking Glass

Interview with professor Thomas Pausz

Through the Looking Glass is a series of spotlights showcasing new design talent. The series offers an in-depth look into six exceptional graduation projects from the Iceland Academy of the Arts, along with an introductory interview with Thomas Pausz—a professor of product design at the Iceland Academy of the Arts and the curator of the 2017 BA degree show TEIKN / GESTURES. In the interview below, Thomas helps us gain a greater perspective on this year’s graduating students and insight into what young designers are making today. Through the series, we hope to gauge the upcoming creative pulse in Iceland and offer a window into how a new generation of creatives is responding to times of environmental anxiety, political instability and redefined values. — As the curator, how would you characterize this year’s graduating projects? I was very inspired by the humour with which the students are addressing difficult topics. We live in confusing times, with a disturbing political and ecological crisis, but this generation is making the choice to challenge the gloom and to …

DesignTalks 2017 Spotlight

Michèle Degen

In our DesignTalks Spotlights, we’re going into the Who, What, When, Where, and Why of what you should know about each of our DesignTalks speakers and why we are so excited about their work. We covered Christien Meindertsma in our first post, Alexander Taylor in our second post, and Ersin Han Ersin in our third. We will now look into the thoughtful work of Michèle Degen:   Who? Michèle Degen is a young Swiss designer whose work seeks to break norms through visual and experimental methods. For Degen, design is about “connecting disciplines and merging thoughts, translated into a communicational outcome.” Her methodology is based on offline research, directly interacting with everyday circumstances. What has she done? What is she doing now? Degen graduated cum laude from the Design Academy Eindhoven in 2016. Past projects during Degen’s studies explored how humans value stones and the creation of printed patterns derived from material research on sand. Another project of note, Sheeker, is a sneaker sourced entirely from Drenthe Heath sheep. The production of Sheeker “offers an …

DesignTalks 2017 Spotlight

Alexander Taylor

In our DesignTalks Spotlights, we’re going into the Who, What, When, Where, and Why of what you should know about each of our DesignTalks speakers and why we are so excited about their work. We covered Christien Meindertsma in our first post, which you can read here. Next up, Alexander Taylor:   Who? Alexander Taylor is a British industrial designer and leader of Alexander Taylor Studio, an industrial design studio that creates diverse products ranging from furniture and lighting to footwear. The London based studio was established in 2002 and has a strong focus on research and development of manufacturing techniques, material process, and technical collaboration. What have they done? What are they doing now? Experimenting with material processes and explorative collaborations, the studio has created successful products for companies such as Hunter, Established & Sons, Adidas and more. Fold lamp, first released in 2005 by Established & Sons, launched Taylor’s career. A small lamp folded from a single sheet of metal and accented with a brightly colored braided cord, Fold cleverly paired an innovative new manufacturing technique with the …

DesignTalks 2017 Spotlight

Christien Meindertsma

In our DesignTalks Spotlights, we’re going into the Who, What, When, Where, and Why of what you should know about each of our DesignTalks speakers and why we are so excited about their work. Short and sweet, yet substantial, we hope you enjoy this series.   First up, Christien Meindertsma: Who? Christien Meindertsma is a Dutch artist and designer who graduated from Eindhoven Design Academy in 2003 and is currently living and working in Rotterdam. Meindertsma is a artist and designer whose work investigates the life of products and raw materials. According to her personal biographical statement, Meindertsma “aims to regain understanding of processes that have become so distant in industrialization.” Meindertsma’s projects excel at using a single focal point—e.g. an object, a raw material or a geographical source—as a window into demonstrating the global scale of industrial products and its implications. What has she done? What is she doing now? In 2008, Meindertsma gained international attention with the publication of PIG 05049, a research project that tracked end-products created from a single anonymous pig. Over three …

Cabinet of Curiosities

IAA Product Design Graduates 2016, Part 1

Autumn is upon us and a fresh batch of students are settling in at the Iceland Academy of the Arts. To get a sense of things to come we looked back at final projects from this year’s BA graduates in product design, who displayed a cabinet of curiosities backed with rich research as their final exhibition. In the first part of this two-part-article, we speak to Gardar Eyjólfsson, who is the director of studies in Product Design and who lead the final project course together with Thomas Pausz. In the second part, we highlight one exemplary project. HA – Garðar, how is this year’s group of graduates different from the previous years? I have noticed a change in mentality in our students for the last couple of years. They are starting to work much more as unit, sharing their research, network and experiences for the greater whole. They understand that they are much more powerful as a group than an individual. That was very visible in their group project willow project (willowproject.is). The coming generation share an interest …