An interest in discovering all the possibilities offered by new materials leads inquisitive creators to fight to differentiate themselves from the rest. This phenomenon occurs in this field of research with unusual materials, new concepts and continuous trial and error.
Part of this process for several years is Icelandic designer Ragna Ragnarsdottir, a research enthusiast for new materials, who has created a small collection with a unique and original aesthetic.

Everything began with the discovery of the combination of latex, eco-friendly plastics and wood. It also allowed her to create an object with innovative qualities, making the most of technological resources with minimal effort. Ragna has also used this brilliant idea to produce high-quality designs using few resources. The method she uses are moulds capable of creating almost any shape, with which she manages to achieve a much more efficient production. From this experimentation has come a mirror, a bench and a small collection of vases.

Designer portrait.

Glasses of the Main D’œuvre project, directed by Samgsan Na Soontorn.

“When I begin a project, I’m not necessarily looking for something that is logical or rational. It’s more a work of exploration and a search for new paths. The design process itself is a long journey of discovery, both mental and physical, in which I test new possibilities of the materials. Through errors, drawings, notes and samples, I occasionally discover a potential that leads me to a more rational execution. I always have to have an open mind and be willing to learn that a great idea without any previous work is like winning the lottery”.

Wooden structure created by the designer.

Previous sketches and color tests.

Three pieces finished in different colors of pigments.

As a result of this research process came the project Main D’oeuvre, a study under the tutelage of Professor Sarngsan Na Soontorn, which forever changed her ideas of how materials could be used. “I became interested in the possibilities that latex afforded me, discovering new forms and how to manipulate them. In the beginning, I adapted it to a structure similar to a table in order to find other interesting shapes, and then I made some wooden frames that allowed me to take advantage of the latex in a stronger position.

“Most of the time during this experimentation you don’t really know where it will take you”.

Finally, when I added colour to the resin of the mould, there emerged a new graphic language that made every piece that I made a unique work. Main D’oeuvre are the prototypes of this process; a production of new objects that mixes traditional and new techniques without the need for advanced technology machinery. The result is pieces that are highly original and can be used for different purposes”.

Resin bank and production structure created by Ragna Ragnarsdottir.

The designer is enthusiastic about this achievement, especially because working with these types of mixed materials allows her to have total control over the creative process, without any restrictions. “Most of the time during this experimentation you don’t really know where it will take you – probably nowhere specific, but it’s not until the end of the process that I find out what I have made”.

“Through errors, drawings, notes and samples, I occasionally discover a potential that leads me to a more rational execution”.

And why is this discovery so important? Above all, because with this material the designer can create any design no matter the size. “I’m still trying to adjust some technical parameters in order to create pieces that are even more resistant. In the case of the bench that I made, it has a metallic structure inside, as is done with concrete, to hold it together and make it more compact”.

Preview of mirror, assembly of production and final piece.

However, having reached this point does not mean much, as Ragna is now considering making a collection of more lightweight pieces. “I’d love to work with larger formats and more complex designs, and I hope to be able to do so in the not too distant future”. Until then, Ragna, who has moved her studio to Philadelphia, is working on a new product line, including a lamp, which will soon be released.

Sphere-shaped candlesticks made of acrylic resin and fused silicone. Above, the designer in her work studio.

Photos: Ragna Ragnarsdottir.

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