Reuse has been taken to a whole new level by Estonian sculptor Mati Karmin, the creator of MINE-furniture design. Instead of scavenging through post-industrial waste or unwanted furniture and buildings, Karmin is tapping into an un-mined resource, a literal field of old sea mines found off the shores of Naissaar. His designs reuse exhausted mine casings for everything from fireplaces to baby cribs.
Mine Fireplace. Designed by Mati Karmin.
That Chair is Mine
Karmin developed a fascination with the mine shells and began collecting them about five years ago. This ain’t no PEZ collection, talk about a hefty collectible, with each shell weighing in at 1140 kg a pop. The history of Naissaar is worth reading up on, as its fate has been determined by its strategic position in the Gulf of Finland, where it has been attracting military forces since 1705. I have to say collection is a little unnerving, while the pieces are extremely functional in their design, Karmin makes no attempt to mask the prior life of the mine shells. In terms of sustainability, its an impressive reuse of a pretty unusable item, although I imagine there is a lot of energy involved in moving and adapting the shells.
About the Designer: Mati Karmin is Estonian in origin and studied at the Estonian Academy of Arts, majoring in sculpture. His group and solo exhibitions began soon after graduation with a focus on bronze as a classical material for sculpture. He is characterized as an intense and versatile artist, one of the most well known in Estonia.