Icon 133: Underground 05.06.14

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113 july coverstory

Icon’s July 2014 issue brings you designs made in lava by Formafantasma, a building in a disused zinc mine by Peter Zumthor, Bjarke Ingels’ subterranean museum and much more. Read a full list of contents below. Scroll down to see the contents and click through to read the articles online

For our July issue, I travelled to a disused zinc mine in a remote ravine in Norway, where the Pritzker-winning architect Peter Zumthor is building a museum. In the 19th century, “drillers” dug deep tunnels there with the help of explosives, while "barrowmen" removed the ore and waste to the mine entrance.

Teenage boys, known as “sorters”, would then break the rock into small pieces to be carried down the mountain. It was dangerous work and there were several fatal accidents, making Zumthor think of his constellation of buildings as a memorial of sorts.

On our cover we feature the work of Formafantasma, created from material collected from Mount Etna (pictured below), which erupted when the design duo visited last November. They describe the volcano as “a mine without miners” and transformed the excreta produced into sculptural vessels, which mix volcanic rock with glass, fashioned from pulverised lava by master glassblowers in Venice using ancient techniques.

We also visited Bjarke Ingels’ new subterranean museum in Denmark, in a dry dock near the castle immortalised in Hamlet, as well as Onkalo in Finland, where colossal excavations are taking place. There the country's nuclear waste will be stored in special canisters, buried in sealed vaults kilometres underground.

At the time of going to press, there was an explosion in a coalmine in western Turkey, reminding us that people still work in terrible subterranean conditions not dissimilar to the 19th century. Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan made this analogy, which some thought insensitive, by citing in his government's defence various mining accidents in Victorian Britain. Stories emerged of unsafe conditions, negligence and exploitation, which resulted in widespread protest and a national strike. 301 workers were estimated dead, and more were still trapped.

Read more about Icon here and subscribe to the magazine here 



Christopher Turner



quotes story

Formafantasma described the volcano Etna as “a mine without miners” and transformed the excreta produced into sculptural vessels

formafantasma preview


Formafantasma: The Italian duo visit a live volcano to find materials for their latest creations

Bjarke Ingels: In the shadow of Hamlet’s castle, the architect creates a subterranean maritime museum

Peter Zumthor: The 12-year wait for the Pritzker prize-winner's mining museum in remotest Norway

Onkalo: Finland digs a 5km tunnel in which to bury the country's nuclear waste


Milan Furniture Fair round-up with Natalie Du Pasquier, Martino Gamper, Kvadrat and Maarten BaasSam Jacob on the sofa in sitcomsDuque Motta in ChileAllianz Headquarters by Wiel AretsIcelandic designer Thorrun Arnadottir

Reviews: Corporate identity, William Kent, Tombs of the Great Leaders and Mishka Henner

Icon of the month: The London sewer

Anatomy of the Bradley Timepiece

Rethink: The food bank by Believe in

Five most wanted: Terence Woodgate

Sketchbook: Casamania's Chariot table by GamFratesi

And 28 pages of the latest kitchen and bathroom design


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