The idea of PyroPet came to Thorunn while studying at the Royal College of Art in London in 2011. The idea came when she was thinking about the way people use candles:
"One day as I watched the chubby body of a jolly Santa Claus shaped candle slowly melt, deform and perish into a sad pool of wax, I wondered if I could elevate this common place ritual sacrifice into a true theatre of the macabre in wax."
She came up with the idea of embedding a metal skeleton within a cat shaped candle. A sinister form, lurking, biding it's time, waiting to be revealed.
After exhibiting the cat candles (called “The Devil’s Pet” back then) in Milan and at her graduation show in London, they quickly gained a lot of attention on the internet. She joined forces with Dan Kovaland they launched a Kickstarter campaign to finance their little startup. The campaign was a great success, in only 4 days they had reached their funding goal and at the end of the campaign they had reached 250% of their initial goal. Thorunn and Dan founded PyroPet Candle Company and are now selling the candles in shops and galleries all around the world.
"Sasa", in the African Kiswahili language, means "What is now".
The ceaseless march of time, measurable in endlessly smaller increments, is a western concept. In many parts of the world, time is not parsed into seconds or even minutes. In some places, people perceive time as speeding up when activities speed up and slowing down when its time to rest. There the time is personal, it’s part of the individual.
Sasa Clock counts time with a necklace of wooden beads placed over a slowly turning carousel. As the carousel rotates, a bead slips down the cord every 5 minutes. The last bead to have dropped indicates the time. This is the mechanical time.
The Sasa Clock offers you the option to “stop time”, and switch to your own personal clock. Take the necklace off the clock and wear it proudly as a statement that it is you that is in control. This is your time.
Telling the time:
The Sasa clock is available in 12 hour and 24 hour necklace versions.
The beads on the necklace are colour coded to indicate minutes, hours, and 12:00. As the carousel turns, every 5 minutes a bead slips down the cord. The last bead to have dropped indicates the time.
To tell the time, simply find the gold or silver 12:00 bead that has most recently slipped down the cord. From that point count the number of "hour" beads to find the hour and then the "minute" beads by fives. In the image here the time is 2:25pm. The 24 hour version indicates noon with a gold bead and midnight with a silver bead. The 12 hour necklace indicates noon and midnight with the same bead.
Winner of “Best Product” in “Accent on Design” at NY International Gift Fair, August 2010.
Reykjavík Grapevine Product of the Year - runner up, 2012.
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This collection was born out of a project called: "Austurland: Designs from Nowhere", initiated and curated by Karna Sigurdardottir and Pete Collard. The project aimed to explore the possibilities for small-scale design and production in East Iceland, using locally sourced materials and skills. The work was created following a series of workshops that took place in Autumn 2013 featuring the designers Max Lamb, Thórunn Árnadóttir, Julia Lohmann and Gero Grundmann collaborating with local practitioners in East Iceland. The products were presented for the first time at Spark Design Space during DesignMarch. The project won the "Icelandic Design Awards" in 2014.
I began my project in Eskifjörður by learning basic net-making skills from local school teacher Thórhallur Thorvaldsson. After hours of careful tuition I put my new skills into practice at the net-making company Egersund Island. The company makes and repair nets many hundreds of metres long in its cavernous quayside workshops.
Working alongside the Egersund team, I used the same materials and techniques but on much smaller scale to create the Skip Ahoy collection. The collection has a theme of ‘playtime’ and features skipping ropes, hula hoops, bags and key-chains made from the hard wearing net material in a variety of colours. Some pieces in the collection include reindeer antlers and bones as handles, bringing together elements from the land and sea in East Iceland. The collection is produced by Egersund in collaboration with local craftsmen.
More products will be added to the collection soon.
"Sipp og Hoj!" is available at Spark Design Space in Reykjavík. www.sparkdesignspace.com
Thorunn Arnadottir's hammocks and swings are a new addition to her collection called "Sipp og Hoj!" (Skip Ahoy). In the products traditional net-making and larch from East Iceland are combined into objects often used for play and leisure. The project is a collaboration with Egersund fishingnet manufacturer and Thorhallur Thorvaldsson in Eskifjordur, and carpenter Thorhallur Árnason in Egilsstadir.
The main goal with the "Sipp og Hoj" collection is to design products that utilise the craft and materials already in place in the fishing net factory for a new purpose, focusing especially on using material that would otherwise have been thrown away. The collection is a mix of eclectic and cheerful objects where the handcraft is the main feature, mixed with natural elements sourced in East Iceland. The "Sipp og Hoj!" collection was first exhibited at DesignMarch 2014 in Spark Design Space under the collaborative project "Austurland: Designs from Nowhere" curated by Karna Sigurdardottir and Pete Collard, which set out to explore alternative production methods in East Iceland. The project received the first Icelandic Design Awards, in 2014.
"In Iceland we don't have many manufacturing companies, so for me as a product designer I wanted to work with the limitations and design for them, rather than trying to find a suitable production for my ideas... which in most cases would usually end with finding a manufacturer outside Iceland. Working with a manufacturer locally also makes it easier to test things out on a small scale and have a conversation about what works and what doesn't. At Egersund they assemble huge fishing nets for the fishing boats, all by hand. When I first came into the factory I was blown away by the wild colours, the textures, the craft and the abundance of different types of materials they have there. I immediately saw great potential in working with them on something that could highlight their craft, both functionally and aesthetically. But I also like to play with distorting the material in a way that is not usually seen in the fishing nets, by fraying the ends to create "pom-poms" and weaving through the nets so they resemble knitted material and ballerina skirts. I think it fits well with the surprisingly whimsical colours of the ropes. Because everything is usually made by hand and basically custom made, it was a perfect place to do small production batches, where we can work together on fine-tuning processes and techniques. The design is very collaborative, where my vision meets their talents and knowledge of the material. The design process is basically a conversation between us directly into the material. The project is not only about designing the objects, but designing the whole production process and system around it."
BERG are prototypes designed in collaboration with Brúnás, and was debuted at Harpa in Reykjavík, during Design March 14th-17th of March 2013.
Brúnás is a cabinet making workshop that uses a lot of surfaces, veneers and laminates, that imitate natural materials. Their specialisation is fulfilling the customer’s dream of the perfect kitchen unit, in affordable yet durable materials.
For BERG I wanted to make use of their specialised skills at imitating natural materials: they are faux basalt columns, hexagonal rock formations that are a prominent feature in Icelandic landscape.
"The basalt columns are by nature very geometric, and can have a beautiful disorientating shadows in them. I wanted to play with the boundaries of "faking" something, to make it look like a natural product, a heavy massive piece of stone, but at the same time have something that is obviously artificial about it by mixing materials and playing with optical illusion geometry."
For BERG, Brúnás can use smaller offcuts of their faux stone veneer and mdf from their workshop, which are usually too small for kitchen tops.
BERG comes in 3 different heights and can be used as small side tables, stools and storages. They can grouped together in clusters to form a bigger landscape of tables. The edge of the lid and the edge of the box are sloped in opposite directions, creating a good grip to lift the lid off the box.
QR U? (MA RCA - final project)
In only a few years the combination of the Internet’s social networks and digital cameras on mobile phones have changed the way we express our identities. Individual expression has been made significantly easier and the route to fame more accessible. It has also turned all of us into our own "paparazzis".
Reading through some articles and texts about the effect of technology on our society I found the word "tribal" to be a reoccuring term used to describe it.
To use a very analogue culture as a reference to describe the effect of high tech on our society I find very interesting and this led me to how beads have been used as a communication tool and to express individual identity in African culture and how we also use "beads" (pixels) in the digital culture as a communcation tool and to express our identities online.
QR U? explores the juxtaposition of self promotion and personal privacy in this new environment. Could traditional African beadcraft be used in it's original function of communicating identity but used with modern technology in contemporary context?
Blush is a very important organ of the house. Regulates the temperature and keeps it warm and alive. Blue when cold, but blushes with red when warm. (Radiator with thermochromatic paint). Prototype.
Christmas window installations designed for Geysir shops in Iceland (Reykjavík and Akureyri).
2013: "The Yulecat" or "Jólakötturinn" is well known beast from Icelandic Christamas folklore. He is said to hunt down and those who do not get any new clothes before Christmas. The idea was to reimagine this creature as a vicious fashion police, watching bypassers closely from the windows of Geysir. The window display in Reykjavík was awarded as "The Best Christmas Window Display 2013" by the the association of shopkeepers in Reykjavík city centre.
2014: Different coloured lightbulbs formed glowing Christmas icons. The window display in Akureyri was awarded as "the best Christmas Window display 2014" by Akureyri town council.
Porcerlain teapot with a brass handle. The teapot has two spouts, rests on a brass frame that can hold one tealight under it, and can be tilted to pour in two directions. Ceramic pot and cups are handmade by Ólöf Erla Bjarnadóttir.
To celebrate Design March 2015 in Iceland, the Icelandic outdoor wear company 66°NORTH asked me to redesign their classic workman‘s cap. It’s the cap that has been keeping Icelandic fishermen warm for decades. The new caps were inspired by fishermen, the harbour and my PyroPet projects. They were a limited edition and sold out quickly.
The Raven collects all sorts of shiny objects. These wings of raven are wall mounted and can hold most of your jewelry. Black nylon coated steel wireframe. Hand made, one-off piece.
Bongo Blida is a collection of decorative objects, designed to add a touch of adventure to existing tableware. The idea was to allow Icelanders to conjure up their own tropical atmosphere at home at a time when travelling abroad had become too expensive due to Iceland´s near economic collapse. Bongo Blida was developed during the summer of 2009, collaborators were Sigridur Sigurjonsdottir and Hreinn Bernhardsson. The pineapples are available at Spark Design Space in Reykjavík (www.sparkdesignspace.com)