- Title: ESTONIA: Estonian sculptor Mati Karmin recasts old marine mines into furniture
- Date: 5th November 2010
- Summary: STILL PHOTOGRAPH OF MINE FURNITURE
- Embargoed: 20th November 2010 12:00
- Location: Estonia
- Country: Estonia
- Topics: Arts / Culture / Entertainment / Showbiz,Light / Amusing / Unusual / Quirky
- Reuters ID: LVA41SJNXMP7KV5IWD060QKZZD6X
- Story Text: An Estonian sculptor finds innovative ways to reuse former Soviet mines as furniture and fireplaces.
It could be just another suburban house in Estonia's capital. But where other people might stack firewood, Estonian sculptor, Mati Karmin has a garden full of old marine mines.
The explosive casks were left behind by the Soviet army when they withdrew from Estonia in 1992, and provided Karmin with inspiration and material to turn the former weapons into art objects and furniture.
There is a metal armchair covered in a cow pattern, a writing bureau and even a pram.
"It is all about the rounded form - a globe, it is the absolute of the form. There are no barriers, you can make everything you can ever imagine from it," Karmin told Reuters TV at his house in Tallinn.
Karmin gets his raw material from the former Soviet Army military base on Naissaar Island, situated in the Gulf of Finland. The mines Karmin prefers are deep-sea mines of AGSB-type, UKSM-type and KB "crab."
Most of the marine mines were manufactured in Russia between 1942 and 1960 to destroy sea vessels and submarines.
Karmin, who received permission in 2002 to take possession of around 120 of the former explosives, has no military background but sees the objects from a purely artistic perspective.
"Marine mines are really like babies- lovely and roundish. All the little creatures- kittens, puppies, babies - they all are roundish and lovely. Mines are also very lovely if you don't think of them as death carriers," Karmin said.
So far, Karmin, who managed to avoid compulsory military service in the Soviet army, has remodelled about a third of his collection.
"I would like to make a race car which would have top class technical features and could compete. The form of a mine is suitable for building a Formula One car too," he said.
One of the most popular designs is Karmin's mine fireplace. He has made about ten so far and one of them heats Tallinn's central station through the winter.
The local station representative Neddy Kramer says it does an excellent job of heating the room.
"A very original solution! It creates a cozy feeling instead of danger," he said.
The mine furniture which Karmin also sees as a good symbol of Tallinn as a port city, is not cheap. One fireplace can cost as much as 6,000 euros.
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