REYKJAVIK, Iceland — Sulfur is ubiquitous in Iceland. It’s been extracted from mines for hundreds of years. It has been used as a fuel to provide heat and as a fertilizer. It’s also used the country’s geothermal plants, raising the question whether it could be polluting the environment.
This ubiquity sets the stage for designer Garðar Eyjólfsson, who starts most of his projects in the material. He made a series of round dishes, Sulphur Archive with sulfur. It’s a project that draws on his country’s dialogue about the substance while also embracing it as a native material. Eyjólfsson told Dezeen that Iceland has “no heritage relating to traditional ceramics.” Eyjólfsson, in a way, is imagining an Iceland that has a ceramics-like tradition and he’s speculating that if such a thing existed its artists would likely use sulfur.
But the process would look very different from ceramic as we know it. Eyjólfsson shaped the material by heating it in a pan over his stove. Sulfur has a low melting point, between 100 to 120 degrees centigrade. These are poured into paper molds. They’ll hold the shape after just 20 minutes, but it takes a few days for the sulfur to recrystalize fully.
Tech is responsible for the most otherworldly feature of the series. Eyjólfsson said that he became fascinated with the idea that he was melting stone over his stove. He wondered if he could develop that further. He made trays for his dishes out of black basalt, also native to his area. By using CNC routing and laser cutters he was able to mill out designs in the basalt which he could then fill with molten sulfur. He inlays stone with stone.
The project was presented at Iceland’s DesignMarch (Reykjavik, March 10 – 13).
Garðar Eyjólfsson has worked and studied in London, Eindhoven and Reykjavík, according to his biography. He graduated from Central Saint Martins as a product designer in 2009 and was awarded Cum Laude for his master project Hydro Morphosis at Design Academy Eindhoven in 2011.
He is currently the Director of Studies in Product Design at the Icelandic Academy of the Arts.
What do you think of Eyjólfsson’s experiments with a different kind of contemporary ceramics, a different kind of stoneware? Let us know in the comments.