Mine Craft: Turning Bombs into Furniture – How did That Happen?

The USSR governed Estonia until it gained independence in 1991. When Russia evacuated its forces, it detonated all remaining ordnance. The arms were either burned or destroyed, leaving behind heaps of scrap.

Much of the scrap that washed up ashore was immediately recycled. However, a massive proportion of it remains. Using his initiative , Estonian artist, Mati Karmin, recycled these old and decommissioned mines into various furniture pieces ranging from fireplaces to chandeliers. 

  • Russia detonated and burned all its ordnance after pulling out of Estonia in the 1990s.
  • The country left behind heaps of scrap metal, most of which was recycled into furniture
  • Karmin’s work is available at a furniture company called Marinemine.

Read More: Soviet Torpedo Boat Discovered After 78 years

Karmin exhibits his work at many art shows. However, it is most prominently available at the mine furniture company ‘Marinemine.’ On their official website, you can find different pieces of furniture designed by Karmin using these old sea mines. 

Karmin Chair Furniture.
A Buggy style chair of Karmins design. But is it comfortable?

Some pieces of furniture, like the bed, are more sculptural than practical, but all are interesting to see!

Sea Mines and their History

A sea mine, more commonly known as a naval mine, is a self-contained explosive device strategically placed in the sea to destroy or damage submarines and ships. Unlike depth charges, mines are placed and left to wait until they explode by the approach of, or contact with, any ship or a particular vessel type.Read More: Man Steals Rocket From Ukrainian Battlefield, it Blows up in his Car

Chinese innovators of Imperial China first invented sea mines in the 14th century and used them to fight off Japanese pirates (Wokou).

Later, naval mines played a significant role in World War One and Two. During World War One, mines were used extensively to defend coasts, coastal shipping, and ports worldwide. Employing U-boats for the task, the Germans placed mines in shipping lanes to sink merchant and naval boats serving Britain. 

At the beginning of World War Two the U-boat fleet mined convoy routes and ports around Britain, the Mediterranean Sea, the Caribbean Sea, and along the U.S. coast. 

Mati Karmin and Marinemine

Mati Karmin, born on 26th February 1959, is one of Estonia’s most renowned contemporary sculptors. Like many of his contemporaries, Karmin received professional training at the Estonian Academy of Art.

Karmin’s idea of a pram made out of a sea mine. Complete with grenade rattles.

Karmin’s work from very early on draws inspiration from his first exhibited sculpture, “Military Fox” (1981), cleverly formed of corroded scrap metal pieces. Scrap metal has frequently emerged as an essential material and source of inspiration in the later work of Karmin. 

Similarly, Karmin’s work on the underwater mine furniture project began five years ago. Dubbing his pieces “mine furniture,” Karmin’s journey began while exploring the once-inaccessible border and coastal zone of Northern Estonia. Karmin has created a unique collection of work that explores the history of Estonia while making functional furniture.Read More: WWII Ammunition Dump Explodes in Berlin’s Grunewald Forest

On the other hand, Marinemine started two and a half decades ago. They deconstruct and reconstruct abandoned mines recovered from the shores of Estonia. As a result, they have everything from a steampunk chandelier to an industrial toilet enclosure, a rolling chair, a coffee table, and a stand-alone dresser.

The Marinemine website explains Karmin’s work: “The frame of the art pieces is a historical deep-sea mine of AGSB-type made in Russia in 1942. It was a big galvanic deep-sea mine with a “Blok” device and two contact electromagnetic antennas. In addition, the upper antenna was kept steady by a buoy. The mine helped in the fight against submarines. It was still manufactured in the 1950s”.

So would you be interested in buying some minecraft

Scrap mines.
Discarded Russian AGSB-type sea mines litter the shore.

Structure of a Sea Mine

The most common sea mine floats just below the water’s surface or approximately five metres deep. A steel cable connects the mine to an anchor on the seabed, preventing it from drifting away. A buoyant metal or plastic shell around the mine contains an explosive and detonating mechanism.

The long protruding spikes on the shell of the mine help it detonate as soon as vessels hit them. Floating mines typically have a mass of approximately 200 kg (440 lb), including 80 kg (180 lb) of explosives.

That makes Karmins work bang on target for being different, albeit maybe not practical.