Rendez-Wood is a series of locally-sourced designs by students at the Iceland Academy of the Arts. The products developed all lend themselves to outdoor use and incorporate wood gathered by the students, with the help of their teachers and the Icelandic Forestry Service.

Many of the designs focus on lightweight solutions for food and drink, giving hikers more options than trail mix and a plastic water bottle. Katrín Magnúsdóttir’s Infuse is made for tea and slushie experiments. The aspen and stainless steel thermos blends water or snow with the ingredients one finds on a nature walk. The infusing process is simple as could be, but one should know which plants are safe to eat or bring a guide. When one is ready for a meal, Anna Hildur Gudmundsdottir’s Burn Bowl is an attractive solution. Made of aspen, sub-volcanic dolerite, stainless steel, and leather, the portable grill can carry snacks like fruit and cook small meals one serving at a time. If one wants salad to go with their charred salmon, one should bring along the Seaweed Collector, designed by Sigurjón Axelsson. The Seaweed Collector allows locavores to gather and wash seaweed in the same paper-lantern shaped vessel. Made of birch, hemp, and stainless steel, the lightweight contraption simplifies making natural and healthy food choices. Last but not least, if one is craving comfort food, Björk Gunnbjörnsdóttir’s Gone Baking can be a smart solution if one plans ahead. The unusual birch and cotton cube is intended for carrying dough and baking it in Iceland’s hot springs. The cube can be left inside a hot spring, and, over the course of twenty-four hours, the cake absorbs flavor from the birch and the steam, tasting of both yesterday’s adventure and tomorrow’s ways of being in nature.

Of course, hiking is not all about the food. The other designs focus on recreational and navigational tools for getting out in nature. For moments when mountaineers are looking for a rest, the Stick Around by Thelma Hrund Benediktsdóttir is a smart solution. The harness and walking stick allows the wearer to sit and rest, regardless of how damp or rough the terrain. While taking a break, one might want to refresh the mind as well, and playing Ágústa Sveinsdóttir’s Spil is an elegant choice. Meant to be strapped to a backpack or hung around the neck like an amulet, the game is fashioned from birch wood, lamb leather, and silver. Should one play into the evening, one may need a flashlight to find the way home. Búi Bjarmar Aðalsteinsson’s Very Light provides an eco-conscious option with a wind-powered spiral sail. Made of birch and aluminum, the Very Light looks more like a common hammer than a stereotypical alternative energy device. Innovative, local, and sustainable, each of the Rendez-Wood designs pushes creativity outdoors, reimaging the experience of the nature outing.

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Holly

Holly is a poet from Kentucky. She grew up first in a Sears house, then on a farm. She studied English and Gender Studies at Mount Holyoke College and moved to Manhattan for love. As an occasional jewelry-maker and museum patron, Holly favors wearable and functional design but is eager to see work that challenges her aesthetics. Read more and connect by visiting her blog, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

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