The Isbjørn figure, designed by Arne Tjomsland for Eikund, is a physical pictogram beautifully capturing the polar bear’s essence. Created in 1955, it received a gold medal two years later at the Deutsche Handwerksmesse in Munich. Arne Tjomsland drew inspiration from his childhood readings of polar literature and the time spent with his father, Preparator Michael Tjomsland, at the Zoological Museum in Oslo. The Isbjørn figure is a testament to Tjomsland’s ability to distill the spirit of the polar bear into a captivating and award-winning design.
Arne Tjomsland, a self-taught designer, was a prominent figure in Norway during the 1950s and 1960s, mainly known for his expertise in creating small-scale figures. Initially working in advertising and toy design, he gained recognition for shaping animals from the Nordic fauna, Inuits, and Vikings using materials like wood and whalebone. His first figure, a polar bear made from teak, marked the beginning of his distinctive creations.
Initially crafting all figures himself, Tjomsland's work gained popularity, leading furniture manufacturer Hiorth & Østlyngen to take over some of the production. His inspiration stemmed from childhood experiences reading Polar literature and spending time with his father at the Zoological Museum in Oslo. Tjomsland's artistic style featured simplified organic shapes and soft yet well-defined lines.
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by John Pawson