The Wood Workshop

A workshop
or a swimming pool?

One of the earliest focus projects of MAKE by Þorpið was to get a prototyping workshop up and running, despite the fact that the Icelandic economy had recently crashed and there was no cash left for such construction. The core philosophy of MAKE by Þorpið is to join forces through communication, collaboration and by sharing knowledge, resources and tools… and so they did.

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In early 2009 carpenter Þórhallur Árnason and cabinet maker/joiner Marcus Nolte started to renovate a state building that once housed a swimming pool for people with disabilities. Local hardware stores assisted this endavour by contributing resources and offering generous discounts. The two crafts men provided tools, knowledge and labour to create a basic wood workshop accompanied by facilities to work with reindeer bone and antler. With commitment, diligence and labour the goal was accomplished and the workshop has been used for product development by individuals and students ever since.

The campus where the workshop is located used to be home to disabled people and was called ‘Vonarland’ or ‘Hope-Land’. Overlooking Lake Lagarfljót and the rocky Fell area on the other side of the lake and feeling the motivation and activities on the campus (which is now called ‘Vísindargarðurinn’ or ‘Science-park’) makes it really feel like a location of cultural development rising from a land of hope.

And how does it work?

While being self-employed and using the facility as their own workshop, Marcus Nolte and Þórhallur are also the workshop supervisors and technicians. Markus offers assistance for product development, prototype construction and general consultation and aid for all kinds of hand-craft issues and Þórhallur is our specialist of reindeer products such as antler, horn and bone. Both Marcus and Þórhallur are renowned for their skills and enthusiasm to figure things out and their ability to ‘make things work’. They believe that often a complicated problem can be solved with a slight twist or by looking at things from a different perspective.

The workshop is open upon request for people who want to develop design concepts and products. Several products have been designed and developed in the workshop and are already being produced and distributed by local stores and partners outside the region. The workshop has also received students from renowned design institutions such as Royal College of Arts in London and Eindhoven Design Academy in the Netherlands. We are expecting designers, crafts people, developers, doers and thinkers, students and other interested and passionate individuals to keep utilizing the service for exciting development projects.

Photos by Marcus Nolte & Glamour • Et cetera

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