Based in Manhattan, Icelandic industrial designer Hlynur V. Atlason heads up his eponymous studio, ATLASON, practicing design methods led by research, brand, and craft. After graduating from Parsons School of Design, he designed a successful clock for IKEA that put his name on the map, leading to an expansive portfolio of thoughtfully designed products and furniture. Since 2003, Atlason has worked with the likes of Ercol, MoMA, Umbra, TIMEX, L’Oreal, IBM, Microsoft, Design Within Reach, and more. Along with heading up his studio, he teaches at his alma mater, Parsons The New School for Design, sharing his passion for design. Now, it’s time to check out his Friday Five picks below.
1. The Pen (Mont Blanc Meisterstuck)
Since art school I’ve always walked around with a pen in my right pocket. For sketching, marking something up or writing in my sketchbook.
Some years ago, my wife gave me this very fancy pen as a Christmas gift. In addition to being nicely crafted and making a satisfying clicking sound (when you put the lid on), it also has a sentimental value. It gives me joy every time I use it.
My preference is to use these very excellent felt tip “fineliner” refills that make it most effective for design related pen stuff.
If I leave the house in the morning without this pen, it puts a decent size dent in my day.
2. The Briefcase (YSL)
For the last 20 years I’ve carried a briefcase. Not a backpack, not a man purse, not a messenger bag; a briefcase. I always carry my briefcase with me. I hold onto it like my life depends on it – it actually does. Camera, iPad Pro & pencil (to sketch on), cords and adapters, old-school sketch book, briefs, keys to all sorts of doors and vehicles, business cards, it’s an extension of me. If it wasn’t for the briefcase, I’d have super bulgy pockets. Hence, I can’t live without it.
3. The Coffee (Breville Expresso Machine)
I’m not a coffee snob but don’t mind a good cup. Actually I’ll pretty much drink any coffee, hot, cold or a day old. However, when we make coffee at the studio, we prefer to make it the old way. I like this espresso machine because it grinds fresh beans and has a pretty robust steamer. It’s nice to take a moment to craft a coffee and the studio gets filled with a beautiful aroma.
4. The Motorcycles (Moto Guzzi 1000s)
Like with coffee, I like motorcycles; all motorcycles. Of course I like beautiful, fast motorcycles but also dirt bikes, race bikes, scooters, vintage… I don’t discriminate: The best motorcycle is the one you are riding at the time. A bike I keep in the city, which allows for an escape on short notice is a Moto Guzzi 1000s. It is a classic Italian design that offers beauty and noise in just the correct proportions. I keep other bikes outside of the city, for track or dirt focused activities. I couldn’t live without motorcycles in my life.
5. The Hospital (Hospital for Special Surgery)
When things go wrong, it is important to know where to go, to make things right. When breaking bones in multiple places, due to “too much fun”, the experts at HSS will do their best to put you back together. They have put me together with mechanical enhancements, allowing me to get back to the things I love. Their dedication and craftsmanship is second to none; an unexpected parallel with my profession. I couldn’t live without them.
Photos courtesy of Atlason Studio, except where noted.