Dezeen Magazine

"I use my imagination to create story spaces" - Katrin Olina at Dezeen Live

Icelandic designer Katrin Olina describes how she translates characters from her imagination into drawings, animations, products and interiors in this movie we filmed at Dezeen Live at 100% Design.

Katrin Olina at Dezeen Live

Above: "The Wanderer" ink drawing

The first of five images Olina presents is an ink drawing of one of her creations, a character with an intriguing back story about journeying named "The Wanderer". "My culture is based a lot around story telling and I think it is something we carry within us," she explains.

From hand drawing, she moves on to show a digitally-illustrated animation. "When I started to use a computer in the nineties it completely revolutionised my life," she says. "I saw it as a window into the extended mind."

Above: digitally-illustrated animation

Olina proceeds to show her designs for Cristal Bar in Hong Kong, a bar where every surface is patterned, to demonstrate how she applies her illustrations to interior projects. "By galvanising the space in this imagery it feels like an extension of the architecture, extending your mind into another space."

She then explains how her characters inspired a collection of bent-steel furniture. "With these creatures I see them as letters in an alphabet, they're like nuances, they're colours," she explains, listing examples such as her "book dogs" which she describes as "little shelves that carry your books, never happier than at your feet".

Katrin Olina at Dezeen Live

Above: Cristal Bar interior, Hong Kong

Finally, she shows a short teaser animation of characters from her forthcoming book, which she hopes to publish next year. "It's about a girl from the old world who goes on a journey into the new world to find a lost dream and she meets different kinds of characters," she says. "I see all these creatures moving in my mind's eye when I'm drawing them and I wish technology was just more advanced so all these things could be moving."

Dezeen Live was a series of discussions between Dezeen editor-in-chief Marcus Fairs and a number of designers and critics that took place as part of the talks programme at design exhibition 100% Design during this year’s London Design Festival.

Katrin Olina at Dezeen Live

Above: Friends of Steel and Miklimeir furniture collection

Each of the four one-hour shows, recorded live in front of an audience, featured three interviews plus music from Dezeen Music Project featuring a new act each day. Over the next few weeks we’ll be posting all the movies we filmed during the talks.

We’ve already published a couple of movies from the series so far: in the first IDEO UK design director Tom Hulme encourages designers to be more entrepreneurial and in the second architect and writer Sam Jacob questions whether we could be human without objects.

The music featured in this movie is a track called Don't Go by east London band Strong Asian Mothers. You can listen to more of their music on Dezeen Music Project.

Above: teaser animation featuring characters from Olina's forthcoming book

See all our stories about Katrin Olina »
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See all our stories about London Design Festival 2012 »