Katrin Olina Petursdottir and a piece of Iceland design

Probably I won‘t be wrong by stat­ing that there is little or almost noth­ing that most of us know of Icelandic design, espe­cially graphic design. Maybe it is so due to the country’s geo­graph­ical situ­ation or Icelanders‘ Nordic char­ac­ter, but def­in­itely not because design worth to be noticed does not exist in Iceland, is drowned in a gey­ser steam or got covered with Icelandic moss. The heroine of the art­icle con­firms its exist­ence and enriches the space of con­tem­por­ary design with a mys­ter­i­ous Icelandic touch.

Katrin Olina Petursdottir was born in Iceland, but acquired edu­ca­tion dur­ing the stud­ies of product design in Paris E.S.D. I University; she col­lab­or­ated with Philippe Starck. She also got involved in art install­a­tions. Katrin employs a mul­tidiscip­lin­ary approach. She does not restrict her­self to one plane of expres­sion – her activ­it­ies include product design, interior design, tex­tile design and, of course, illus­tra­tion. She also col­lab­or­ates with fash­ion design­ers, enliven­ing their pieces with her graph­ics. After estab­lish­ing a com­pany Katrin Olina ltd, the author released a lim­ited num­ber of likable items – scarves, dec­or­ated with graph­ics, por­cel­ain products, even snow­boards and hel­mets. Attractive.

However, my eye was first caught by illus­tra­tions and install­a­tions, which are dom­in­ated by paranor­mal creatures, in their nature resem­bling of fic­tional char­ac­ters from Scandinavian legends of forest. Owls, toothed, dwarf-​like creatures, dark ver­dure. That‘s what one of the latest author‘s works is like – a large install­a­tion in the premises of Reykjavik Art Museum, entitled ‘‘Euelenspiegel“, which means ”An Owl’s mir­ror“. It con­sists of 85 square meter draw­ing, two anim­a­tion videos (cre­ated together with CAOZ, a group of anim­at­ors from Reykjavik) and a mir­ror. As the author states, this install­a­tion, with the help of the mir­ror, con­veys oppos­i­tions, such as positivity/​negativity, birth/​death, etc.

I see this work a place at the bor­der between real and ima­gined space, both in the viewer’s mind and the museum space. — K. Olina

Yet, the author has some totally dif­fer­ent works in her port­fo­lio, breath­ing with pas­tel col­ours, for example, the interior decor in Cristal Bar, Hong Kong. More than 110 square meters of the sur­face of its premises are covered with Katrin Olina‘s draw­ings, provid­ing the space with an inex­per­i­enced authen­ti­city. In addi­tion, this pro­ject has won in Forum Aid Awards for Interiors 2009 in Stockholm design week. Similarities to Cristal Bar‘s decor could be found in her illus­tra­tions for Tales of the Brother Grime, newly pub­lished by Die Gestalten Verlag.

Most import­antly – there is some lus­cious sat­is­fac­tion to the eyes, eager for graphic good, as they are drawn pro­foundly into the world, belong­ing to mys­tical creatures and col­ours. This world evokes sights of rig­or­ous Icelandic nature, which, together with dreams, myth­o­logy and his­tory are the main sources of inspir­a­tion for Katrin. Some time with the north­ern lights too.

Artist’s port­fo­lio here.

Kristina Alijošiūtė
About author:
Kristina Alijošiūtė
Kristina Alijošiūtė is Art Pit’s editor and blogger, also contributing in design solutions. She mostly focuses on quality and freshness of topics, but also values motivated irony and ability to stand out. Writing was always more a pleasure than an obligation to her. She also respects those who are not afraid to write subjectively. Kristina ... Read further >
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