Dezeen Magazine

New projects by Katrin Olina

Icelandic graphic artist Katrin Olina has completed two new projects: the interior of Cristal Bar in Hong Kong and a multimedia installation at Reykjavik Art Museum.


Katrin Olina creates "fantastical worlds of multilayered imagery and ethereal characters." Top image: Cristal Bar. Above: Reykjavik Art Museum. Below: Cristal Bar.


Watch a movie of Olina's installation at the Reykjavik Art Museum here.

Photos of Eulenspiegel installation by Brooks Walker.
Photos of Reykjavik Art Museum by Brooks Walker.

The following is from Katrin Olina:


Icelandic artist and designer Katrin Olina launches two massive installations in opposite corners of the globe: a couture interior at the brand-new Cristal Bar in Hong Kong and a swirling multimedia piece at the Reykjavik Art Museum.

Cristal Bar Hong Kong: 9/F, 33 Wellington Street, The Loop
Reykjavik Art Museum at Kjarvalsstadir: Flokagata, 105 Reykjavik, Iceland


In a single month, internationally acclaimed artist and designer Katrin Olina has taken over two opposite corners of the world with her trademark graphics. She has transformed the interior of Cristal Bar (shown above)—a brand-new venue located on the ninth floor of a central Hong Kong high-rise—into a fantastical world of multilayered imagery and ethereal characters.


Meanwhile, at the Reykjavik Art Museum (shown above) in Iceland, her computer illustrations span walls and floors, accompanied by fanciful animations. At both locales, Olina pioneers a new kind of interactivity through graphic design, deploying a multilayered visual language that naturally galvanizes viewers’ unique imaginations.


Inside Hong Kong’s Cristal Bar (shown above), glossy wall coverings spread seamlessly across every wall, ceiling, and floor, yet morph in color and pattern as they expand throughout the bar’s four interconnected areas: The central space is awash with deep brown graphics depicting seaweed-like forms and floating, hybrid water creatures.


In adjacent rooms, the surfaces are tinted vibrant red, alive with winged silhouettes of ethereal cranes in flight—or turquoise-green, bedecked with flowers and feathery forms. Where distinct areas meet, differently colored graphics overlap in fluid transition.


Adding to the dreamlike atmosphere are furnishings produced by Michael Young’s Hong Kong office: sleek, white tables and stools, plus the bar’s countertop, a sparkling surface encrusted with more than 300,000 Swarovski crystals. Illuminated from above by a ripple projector, and below by multicolored LEDs, the counter changes hues while shimmering in undulating waves over the course of the night.


At the Reykjavik Art Museum (shown above), Olina’s large-scale installation Eulenspiegel shares the spotlight in “ID Lab,” an exhibition showcasing works by other important Icelandic artists including Hrafnildur Arnardóttir (a.k.a. Shoplifter) and collaborative group The Icelandic Love Corporation. Here, Olina’s 85-square-meter work scatters images across the walls and floor, resembling an explosion of memories. Watch a video of the Eulenspiegel installation here.


At one end of the graphic piece, a circular “white hole” projection depicts a swirling, creative source ejecting Olina’s imagery; At the other end is an animated “black hole” tunnel that absorbs these visual elements back in again. Above and below: Reykjavik Art Museum


In between, her fixed wall illustrations take on a dynamic narrative. Olina sums it up, explaining, “My installations are like mazes that viewers can enter from anywhere.” These layered illustrations create sublime, Alice-in-Wonderland worlds—at every turn, a rabbit hole to the subconscious.


Katrin Olina, is a new type of multidisciplinary artist who realizes her vision in an ever-growing list of projects, ranging from couture product designs and interiors to fine art exhibitions. Born in Iceland, Olina has completed fine-art installations around the world, among them a commission in the Oslo National Gallery in 2005, and another for 100% Design Tokyo in 2007. Above and below: Reykjavik Art Museum


From 1998 to 2005, she collaborated with Michael Young in MY Studio ltd, Reykjavik, during which time they created the widely popular Coat Hanger Tree for Swedese. She is responsible for the identity and the interior design for SKIN clinic in Italy (a project realized in collaboration with Young in 2007 and nominated for an Elle Decoration British design award this year), a line of limited-edition products for the young brand Fornarina in 2006, and the editioned graphic series “Art in Porcelain” made in conjunction with German porcelain specialist Rosenthal in 2005.


Olina was invited to create the official poster and visual identity for last year’s Montreux Jazz Festival in Switzerland. Through her own company, Katrin Olina Ltd., she has fabricated a range of limited edition products—including silk scarves, hand-painted porcelain products, snowboards and helmets. She has just finished taking part in the design week in Tallinn and Helsinki, and is planning a 150-square-meter graphic installation to be presented at the next 100% Design Tokyo. Above: Reykjavik Art Museum