Monday, 24 May 2010

Volcanic Design

The recent volcanic activity in Iceland is estimated to have grounded 10 million air travellers and has reminded us that despite our technological and cultural advances we remain at the mercy of the power of nature. Volcanic activity is at once both devastatingly destructive and profoundly creative, producing whole islands and archipelagos. The world map as we know it has been formed by tectonic activity. Today, I've decided to investigate some of the artistic creations that have been inspired by this most elemental phenomenon.

Jón Björnsson is the designer behind Bjoss, a fantastic array of design projects infused with originality and individuality. Taking inspiration from his childhood sandbox, Jón has used a simple mould and volcanic sand from the southeast coast of Iceland to make this austerely beautiful table. The table has a depression in the middle to hold candles, flowers or other decoration. In homage to those sandcastle days of his youth, Jón has titled this work simply "Bucket". Jón has revisited this method in his new volcanic sand vases titled "Flower Eruption". I love the textural quality of Jón's work.

The clean lines and slate hue of these Kirkstone Volcanic Slate basins really appeal to me. Kirkstone - Manufacturers and Suppliers of Architectural Stone via Momoy.

Olle Lundberg collaborated with Wendy Tsuji to combine two San Franciscan 1952 row houses into a striking townhouse with amazing results. The Serra staircase boasts treads of volcanic silicate while the bathroom was clad in the same volcanic silicate and punctuated with strips of bevelled glass. Lundberg Design via Interior Design.

Victoria and Albert, based in Shropshire in the UK, produce a range of baths made from volcanic limestone mixed with high performance resins giving a stone-rich alternative to both cast iron and acrylic. Their products range from the very traditional to the very modern.

Inspired by volcanic ash, designer Robert Stadler came up with these "ash bomb" furniture pieces upholstered in black leather. via Yanko Design

The volcanic rock tile range, Opus, from Italian tile house Casa Più has attained something of a cult status. Opus, "Volcanic rock, prisoner of colour", has a texture and organic form that breaks away from the geometrical lines of traditional tiles. "The designer tiles capture the most vivid hues, while their crude cracks and raw, organic edges hint at nature’s beautiful volatility" - Casa Più prides itself on using handcrafted techniques and only natural elements in it's designs. The website is worth a visit as much for reading their ethos as the stunning images of their work.

I am particularly attracted to designers that have drawn their inspiration from the natural world and these designers have captured nature in the very essence of her savage beauty. And while I'm hoping Eyjafjallajökull has quietened for now and won't interrupt my summer travel plans it bears remembering that a delayed or cancelled flight is nothing to the suffering she has caused for locals.

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