London Design Festival 2013: Hunting & Narud

The design duo draws from their native Norway to create functional but wondrously sculptural mirrors

by LinYee Yuan

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Rough quarry granite, matte steel and a highly polished copper mirror are the elements that make up one of the most visible design objects at this year’s London Design Festival. The sculptural Copper Mirrors series from Norwegian-born, London-based designers Amy Hunting and Oscar Narud were originally conceived for Fashion Scandinavia at Somerset House during the recent London Fashion Week. But their striking design—a raw stone anchoring an oversized, hand-polished copper mirror—also popped up at the 100% Norway group exhibit in East London, and then featured in a show at Gallery Libby Sellers, which ends this Saturday, 5 October.

Hunting & Narud’s Copper Mirror series draws from Norway’s cultural and material heritage. At 100% Norway, where they were also responsible for the exhibition design for the second year in a row, one of the free-standing mirrors greeted visitors at the entrance. The designers explain that the history and topography of their native Norway were an inspiration for the materials used in their work: “Ore extraction and copper smelting were the starting point for a major modern Norwegian industry, with big mines operating in the 18th and 19th centuries, while steel and stone remain important export industries for the contemporary economy.”

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“All our work starts with a concept,” Hunting shares in a video for 100% Norway, “First it starts with a curiosity for a material, a habit or a function.” The deceptively simple construction, a hallmark of their work, is also seen in their Rise & Shine mirror. The interactive, wall-mounted mirror was included in Klubben‘s time-centered group show at now! le off during Paris Design Week before traveling on to London, where it became part of Okay Studio‘s “Loose Threads” exhibit at the Ben Sherman space. Rise & Shine speaks to morning rituals, and the inevitable quick glimpse in a mirror before leaving home. But the duo aim to blur “the definition of its use” by giving it a flexible structure, in which a brass weight raises and lowers the smokey grey mirror using rope strung along a wood axis.

Images of Copper Series courtesy of Gideon Hart for Gallery Libby Sellers, and courtesy of Okay Studio for Rise & Shine