Icelandic designer Katrín Ólína Pétursdóttir
Katrín Ólína Pétursdóttir, is an award winning Icelandic industrial designer and graphic artist, who is currently based in London.
Katrín is behind some rather impressive graphic installations showcasing at the National Gallery in Oslo, and also at the Reykjavik Art Museum. She has also transformed various private and public spaces in the hospitality industry, has had digital drawings covering entire spaces like the Cristal bar in Hong Kong and work commissioned by festivals such as the Montreux Jazz Festival, Reykjavik Arts Festival and Nordisk Panorama.
She is also regularly invited to participate as a public speaker, in design and global events, recently including TYPO-Berlin, DesignTalks Reykjavik and Women Economic Forum in Delhi. There is no doubt that we can learn a lot from Katrín!
Tell us about your journey to becoming a designer.
I studied Industrial Design in Paris and then worked in international design studios for several years before setting up on my own. I’ve drawn and made things since I was a kid. I was always imaginative. I thought about studying art, but I chose Design because I didn´t really know anything about it. I wanted so much to get to know the big world and study at the same time, so I went to Paris.
Can you explain your work as an industrial designer?
My work is multidisciplinary and cross disciplinary. I work in different mediums; graphic art, illustration, furniture, product design, art direction and some writing. I work on my own and in collaboration with academics, scientists, other creatives, producers and companies.
You´ve been considered a contemporary Scandinavian design icon! What are your thoughts on this?
I haven’t noticed this and its never crossed my mind for a second. But nice of you to say!
What is it like working with 3D printing?
With 3D printing we can make complex shapes and things that would be impossible to make by hand or other wise. I like how the middle steps in fabrication, such as high cost moulds, mass production and storage can be cut out to create a whole new reality for the production of things. With 3D printing, products can be custom made on demand. It makes design much more independent. It’s a new reality and the possibilities are endless.
How important is it for you to work with sustainable materials and products?
Very important and whenever I can I will adapt my projects to the sustainability principles. My project Primitiva, a collection of 3D printed and cast bronze talismans is born out of this desire, to make things that last and connect with the user in meaningful ways. The Primitiva pieces are hopefully so significant to the owners that they will pass them on to the next generation.
Out of necessity we all need to become aware and find ways to be resourceful. We live in this exciting, confusing and often terrifying times. We need to be present. It’s so important.
We love the look of your "Nordic Silence" project. Can you explain this a bit further? And where can it be found?
This is a collection of furniture in cork and wood that I developed around the concept of silence and quiet space in the home and the office. Cork is a 100% natural material that is sound absorbing among other great qualities. The collection is in its way a translation of the forest into the living space. There are 4 pieces currently in the collection; a room dividing element, called Silent Tree, a side table - Silent Stump, a Meditation Stool and a sound absorbing wall element called Silent Sun. The collection can be found through Adorno Design and to order from Made by Choice www.madebychoice.com
Who is "Made By Choice”?
It is a Finnish company. Created by three great guys that have built from scratch a beautiful company that specialises in the production of furniture in wood. Choice explores the concept of Nordic happiness in the stories they create with their collaborative designers.
Do your Icelandic roots reflect in your work?
Yes, I believe so. Iceland is a great teacher about space. Then I mean this space inside of us. When you grow up playing in Icelandic nature, when you travel around the country, it is impossible not to be touched and influenced by its beauty. It is raw and primordial, full of music and poetry. I hope that my work somehow reflects some of these characteristics.
What do you miss the most about Iceland?
The space, clean air and water, the fresh fish, my family and my friends. But then, I travel a lot back and forth, so I see my people. My home is also here in London and Helsinki, It suits me fine to feel home is in many places.
What do you collect?
I used to collect curiosities from around the world. I´ve always had quite an eclectic taste for stools and books. A few years ago, I packed up my things and turned by studio into a nomadic lab while I travelled around. It made me realise how little one needs really.
What are you working on at the moment, and where can we see your work next?
I´m working on some new furniture and textiles for Scandinavian companies.
I´m collaborating with a philosopher from Iceland on a new interactive publication, which we hope to launch at the beginning of next year. I´m also beginning a new exciting project in Iceland with clay. Primitiva, my project from 2015 is a multi-layered project. It is on-going and mostly underground still. I often joke about it being a project from the future. People interested can follow my work on social media.
To see more of Katrín´s work go to katrinolina.com