Dezeen Magazine

Reading Horses and Black Dhalia by Katrin Olina

Katrin Olina bends steel pipes into products for reading

Stockholm 2015: Icelandic designer Katrin Olina has created a set of home products made by shaping steel tubes with an old exhaust pipe bending machine.

Katrin Olina's collaboration with local metal workshop Stuðlaberg resulted in a portable bookshelf, a small lamp and a bookshelf with an integrated reading lamp.

Small Reading Horse is the portable, mini-bookshelf, made from two 35-millimetre bent steel tubes held together by two bars. The storage rack stands on wooden feet with oak plugs, to mimic hoofs.

Reading Horses and Black Dhalia by Katrin Olina

The Bright Small Reading Horse also includes a reading lamp. "Reading horse" is the Icelandic equivalent of the English term "book worm".

Also in the Exhaust Bricolage collection, Black Dahlia is a small lamp with a base made from an upturned ceramic flowerpot.

The pot is connected to repurposed decorative metal parts such as cable cups with a bent steel tube.

Reading Horses and Black Dhalia by Katrin Olina

"The project celebrates reading," Olina told Dezeen. "In my country someone who loves to read is called a Reading Horse. Books are gateways into other worlds."

The collection was developed as part of Vernacular Iceland, a project that aims to find new uses for out-dated parts and machinery.

The project began with the discovery of the old tube-bending machine that made exhaust pipes for cars in Hofsós, a tiny coastal village in the North of Iceland, that has not been used for 20 years.

Reading Horses and Black Dhalia by Katrin Olina

Olina visited Stuðlaberg and started to investigate potential uses for the machine with Gunnlaugur, the workshop owner and metal master.

"The project plays with two aesthetic opposites and a clash of styles; the industrial aesthetics of the tubular steel against the decorative metal parts in forgotten styles that emulate nature," said the designer.

"It pays homage to vernacular creativity, where found objects are freely put together," Olina added. "This was the way of doing things in Iceland where in the past, resources were scarce. The goal is to investigate alternatives with the skills and machinery in the metal shop at Stuðlaberg and offer a new addition to Icelandic furniture production."

Reading Horses and Black Dhalia by Katrin Olina

The collection launched at an exhibition called We Live Here during Stockholm Design Week earlier this month, when the Icelandic Design Centre and Design Forum Finland took over an apartment in the city to display products by the countries' designers.