Katrin Olina at Dezeen Live

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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.

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.”

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”.

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 the 2012 London Design Festival.


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