Hanna Whitehead exhibits at Greenhouse at Stockholm Furniture Fair

January 31st, 2024

Designer Hanna Dís Whitehead will exhibit a new body of work during the Stockholm Furniture Fair 6th -10th of February. She will be at the Greenhouse - the platform for up-and-coming designers. She will be launching a series of vessels and boxes from mixed materials as well as a new version of her ceramic hangers that have mutated and become supersized.

“This is my first time showing at the Stockholm Furniture Fair or at any fair on my own. One of my goals was to make work to introduce myself and say hi. I wanted to show various methods I have been developing through the years as well as showing a bit of the new materials I have been working with”

Treating wood like clay

Previously she mainly used wood in furniture but decided to scale down to the size of vessels for the exhibition. That became a bit of a challenge.

“I really needed to try my best to watch out for details, normally the wood has been a backdrop to my ceramics. In the container they became more equal than before and I started to treat the wood a bit like clay. That did not always go according to plan and I have a few lessons under my belt now. But that is why I love working with different materials as they all teach you something new and I am happy to learn a lot more”

A smiling vase

The containers are mostly made of wood with details mainly from ceramics but also with straw marquetry or felted wool. They are a playful dialog of different materials, motifs and methods coming together in unexpected ways.

This includes for example a quiltlike box made of local wool, a wavy wood basket with a ceramic handle, vessels with ceramic and felt bows, a small round wooden box with ceramic flowers growing out of it and a smiling vase with straw marquetry.

“The straw vase is smiling because that is the way I have felt for the last 3 years harvesting straw. It is always sunny when they harvest since the grains need to be dry. It becomes a very enjoyable moment in the quite cold Icelandic Autumn. The farmers call me when the grains are golden and ready to be cut down. While I collect some straws at one end of the field a giant harvester is working on the other side.”

Surrounded by a glacier and underused materials

Hanna works on the borders of art, design and craft, often going between diverse materials within the same subject. Recently she has started to focus on local materials growing around her studio in the South East of Iceland, Hornafjordur. There are around 2000 people living in that area that is surrounded by Vatnajökul glacier, the largest glacier in Europe. All the objects are made in the studio by Hanna there. 

“I have been sourcing different kinds of straw from grains like barley and oats as well as raw wool. What I love about these materials is that they grow right around me night and day and they are easily accessible as well as underused. It is such a good feeling to have the material I need at my feet instead of having to order from Reykjavík or even abroad.”

The wool and oat straw used are locally sourced from a farm only 3 km away from her studio. She dyes them by hand and makes into workable material from scratch. 

Ceramics and tough flowers 

The hangers are made from extruded stoneware. Extruding the clay gives them all something in common but yet they are all bent and glazed by hand which makes them unique. The hangers bring a certain sculptural element to a space. The hangers also evolved into shelves which Hanna is showing one small version of. A red flower shelf growing on the wall. 

“I see around my studio in the countryside all these little flowers growing everywhere - even on rocks. They are beautiful and tough” 

The wood in the shelf and one of the hangers is from the nearest forest at Egilsstadir around 2hours drive from Hornafjordur. All the other wood comes from the local hardware store.

“I hope my work brings people a bit of joy – that is always the main function”

About the designer

Hanna Dís Whitehead (1982) graduated from Design Academy Eindhoven in 2011. Her works are located on the border of design, art and crafts. The process is allowed to dominate the journey and one goes between different materials such as wood, textiles and ceramics within the same concept. Hanna Dís is particularly interested in evoking a conversation between works and the audience as she weaves together stories, form, colors and drawing. She lives and works in Hornafjordur. 

About the Fair

Stockholm Furniture Fair is taking place from 6-10 February. Held annually in Stockholm, Sweden, the fair attracts architects, designers, interior decorators, buyers and enthusiasts from all around the world. Stockholm Furniture Fair is a platform for business and networking as well as product launching and new innovations.

Opening hours

Tuesday February 6 – Friday February 9, 9 am-6 pm (business only)
Saturday February 10, 10 am-5 pm (business and public)

Hanna Dís exhibition is at booth nr C05:53

About Greenhouse

Greenhouse is Stockholm Furniture Fair's international platform for tomorrow's design stars. It brings together up-and-coming designers, both independent ones and students attending design schools, to showcase creative and innovative products and to meet future partners, producers and the press.

Designers from all over the world are invited to apply for Greenhouse. All applications are evaluated by the Greenhouse jury, which consists of renowned people from the design industry. The jury works on the criteria of curiosity and innovation.

The Stockholm Furniture Fair includes a wide range of brands and exhibitors, of which 80 per cent are Scandinavian. It offers designers the opportunity to showcase in a highly professional environment that is well attended by both producers and the media.

Hanna Dís Whitehead
January 31st, 2024
Álfrún Pálsdóttir
Sunna Ben


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  • Stockholm Furniture Fair
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