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Designy Thing: Thorunn Arnadottir

Based in London, Thorunn Arnadottir is an Icelandic-born designer with a poetic eye, angelic face, and just a dash of the dark side. I met Thorunn last April during the Salone del Mobile in Milan, where she was displaying her clever work ranging from The Devil’s Pet, a sweet-looking cat candle that burns down to show a gothic skeleton, to the Sasa Clock that uses a simple wooden beaded necklace to tell time. Arnadottir graduated with an M.A. in Design Products at the Royal College of Arts in London in 2011; before that she finished a B.A. in Product Design at Listaháskóli Íslands (Iceland Academy of the Arts) in Reykjavik in 2007.

Sasa clock.

The Sasa clock.

The Sasa clock.

The Sasa clock’s beads can be removed and worn as a necklace.

The Devils Pet candle.

The Devil’s Pet candle (mid-burn).

Since graduating the young designer has been working on various commissions, freelance projects, and her own work. Her impressive client list includes Swarovski, Camron PR, The Architecture Foundation, and the Victoria & Albert Museum, which has also displayed her work.

Hitchhike reflective gloves.

Hitchhike gloves in action.

Blush radiator.

Tree shelving system.

QR U? Dress.

We recently asked Arnadottir a few questions about her inspirations and aspirations:

Designy Things: Who is your favorite Icelandic designer?

Thorunn Arnadottir: It’s hard to choose one! I would have to name few: Vík Prjónsdóttir (design collective), Sruli Recht, Brynjar Sigurdarson, and Milla Snorrason are all worth a good look!

DT: Who is your favorite industrial designer of all time?

TA: I admire Dieter Rams… mainly for his qualities that are so far away from being natural to me, he is just so wonderfully minimalistic and OCD to the core (just find an image of his office!). His designs led by functionality and beautiful forms. But still despite his minimalistic approach, when I went to an exhibition on his work at the Design Museum in London last year, all I saw was different silly characters in the electronic appliances, there were smily baby faces with chipped teeth, grumpy grandpas, and plump friendly aunties! Maybe I have just been tainted by watching too many Disney or Miyazaki films, who knows…

DT: Where do you find your inspiration?

TA: I often find my inspiration in things or phenomena in our culture
that we have become sort of “blind” to, or stuck in our way of seeing
them always the same. I like to look at it from a different angle, to
rip it out of its context or dissect it, and connect and compare it
to other observations on something that seems completely different at
first sight, but has a clear connection when you connect the dots.
From the dots I draw a picture of something brand new, but familiar at
the same time.

DT: What do you want to design next?

TA: Something you didn’t know how to live without before.


Where to buy it: The Sasa Clock is available at and shops such as The Future Perfect in New York, Spark Design Space in Reykjavik, and Colekt in Frankfurt ( Tree and Cloud is available here. Arnadottir expects the The Devil’s Pet will be available in the next few months.

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