Published May 15, 2018
As you stroll down Reykjavík’s main street Laugavegur, it’s almost impossible to ignore the gigantic statue of hammer-wielding God Þór crushing an even bigger stone giant. Inevitably, heads will turn, as the air fills with ‘oh’ and ‘wow.’
Shielded by a thick glass window, the statue is part of scenographic set-up inside mythology-inspired shop Thor. But while Thor does sell a plethora of eclectic souvenirs for tourists, it also firmly distances itself from the undistinguishable mass of puffin stores in downtown Reykjavík.
That’s where artist and designer Hans Alan Tómasson comes in. Hans, who was assigned to the project by Irma studio for the design of this shop, has an unfaltering passion for Norse mythology and Ásatrú, the Icelandic Heathen fellowship. This hobby has influenced many of his works, but it has ultimately materialised in its most tactile form in the spatial design of Thor.
“Irma studio was actually contacted by Jói, who oversees the shop, and ask me to work on this project,” Hans explains. “So I started the process by making drawing, but then the guys at Irma studio took over and did a wonderful job producing the designs.”
The result is a stunning space entirely decorated with panels of Icelandic wood coming straight from Þjórsardalur. Every detail of the space has been carefully pondered over and is mostly handmade, with every element derived from Norse mythology, from the Valkyrie’s metal-beak ravens to the wolves Skoll and Hati chasing the Sun and the Moon.
“This in particular was supposed to be more than a statue and more like a scene,” Hans says, pointing at Þór. “Þór is guiding Ásgarð and Middle Earth from the attacks of the giants, either frost giants or, as in this case, stone giants.” As he smashes the giants’ head with his foot, Þór summons lightnings through his dwarves-made hammer, the skies above opening up in a flash of lights.
While Thor sells all sorts of Viking-inspired paraphernalia (check out the Viking-Ship-shaped candle-holder!), as well as beautiful leather bags and Icelandic furs, Thor is an absolute heaven for mythology fans. Walking inside the shop is already an experience in itself, but you can always extend the fun with one of their card games. ‘Ragnarök – Destiny of the Gods,’ for instance, is a great way to do so. “This card game was specifically designed around the mythology and ásatrú, and it’s extremely fun,” Hans explains. “Reynir A. Óskarson, the man who made this, created everything from scratch: he thought the game out and then he drew all the scenes.”
What a great way to delve into the realms of Norse mythology with a couple of enthusiastic friends and remember your trip to Iceland forever!
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