As those of you who follow me on twitter may be aware, I was recently invited to Iceland to visit DesignMarch, the annual design and fashion fair, now in its fifth year. I wrote about the event last year for The Financial Times and was thrilled to be invited to see it for real last week.
On the first evening, I wandered over to the Harpa concert hall for the opening speeches. It’s down by the harbour and is an extraordinary building. Typically I had no idea about this and when I asked at the hotel reception how I would know where it was they looked at me as if I was a nutter. That’s because it looks like this:
Anyway, I managed to find it among the low rise concrete and corrugated iron roofed buildings around it and had a wander round the Epal design store while I was there. One of the first things I spotted was this raven coat hanger.
Ravens are an important part of Icelandic folklore (and, indeed, all Norse mythology) as birds that flew all over the world bringing information to Odin, the God of War and they turn up again and again in designs.
This hanger is the work of Ingibjörg Hanna Bjarnadóttir and it was everywhere in Reykjavik last week. I wish now I’d had the presence of mind to take more pictures of it as it seemed to be in every shop window, sometimes to display the clothes, sometimes for sale. It comes in several colours, including this new black and white version, which I snapped on my phone.
You can buy it either to hang from a steel wire, which creates a beautiful display or with a more traditional hook. Hanna, who graduated from the Iceland Academy of Arts, says of her piece: “Krummi is the pet name for raven in Icelandic. I chose it because it’s such a flashy bird.
“Icelandic Ravens like everything glitzy and use such items to decorate their nests. It can also be used as a hanging sculpture – I’ve seen it in people’s windows, for instance. I myself use it for my most beautiful dresses that I fly with to my own nest.”
To see more of Ingibjörg Hanna’s work click the link to her website above. I also rather love the snail hook.