Reykjavik’s DesignMarch 2023 highlights Iceland’s creative force
We explore Reykjavik's creative scene, coming together during DesignMarch's annual design gathering
Despite its small size and remote location, Iceland is home to a vibrant, energetic design community. The shared efforts of its creative network come to life in Reykjavik during DesignMarch, a five-day event (until 7 May 2023) showcasing the country’s best craftspeople, designers, makers and brands, as well as collaborations with international creatives.
The theme for 2023 is 'What Now?', a question that encourages designers and studios to explore what is happening at the moment, and what the future will or could look like. Themes of circularity and explorations of local abundant materials (such as wool, algae and lava stone) are recurring throughout the projects, signalling a design community preoccupied with a sustainable approach to making as much as creativity. Over 100 exhibitions across the city animate shops, galleries and studios, with events ranging from architecture to fashion, beauty and furniture.
Here, we look at some of the most exciting launches from DesignMarch 2023.
Best of DesignMarch 2023
Kites at 66°North
Iceland’s leading outerwear brand (with stores in Copenhagen and London) has collaborated with designer Daníel Atlason of Segull Collective to create a series of circular kites made using leftover fabrics from 66°North's production. Made in bright colours and featuring different kite formats, the 11 designs explore the B-Corp’s mission of circularity.
‘Circulus’ lamps by Studio Miklo
Designers Helga Björk Ottósdóttir and Hjördís Gestsdóttir of Studio Miklo experimented with Icelandic minerals and herbs for their new range of lighting designs. The pair created the ‘Circulus’ lamps, a series of ceiling and table lighting sculptures featuring shades made of recycled cotton fibres from the Red Cross and produced using traditional paper-making techniques, held by clay structures made sourcing natural materials.
Ásmundarsalur, Freyjugata 41, ground floor
Together by Hæ/Hi
Designers from Reykjavik and Seattle got together to create collaborative projects shown at this group exhibition led by Hæ/Hi: Designing Friendship collective. The designers (including John Hogan and Gabriel Stromberg from Seattle and Hanna Dís Whitehead and Ragna Ragnarsdóttir from Reykjavik) worked in pairs to create objects that connect their respective creative communities.
Ásmundarsalur, Freyjugata 41, first floor
Ada Stanczak, designer in residence at Design Museum
Warsaw designer Ada Stanczak has been living and working in Reykjavik for the past few years, and has been working with the city's design museum on a series of ceramic objects and vessels informed by local materials and techniques. In particular, her work focused on unleashing the design potential of geological materials as a source of pigment for her ceramic pieces.
Elsewhere in the museum, a display is dedicated to works by schoolchildren who worked with local designers to create a series of compact apartment interior designs and an exhibition by textile designer Ýrúrarí curated by Studio Fræ exploring the expressive possibilites of materials from textile recycling centres.
Garðatorg 1, 210 Garðabær
Rugs by Lilý Erla
Icelandic artist Lilý Erla Adamsdóttir has created a series of bespoke tufted rugs, made locally and whose patterns are inspired by heather, moss and Icelandic rocks. Made exclusively of local wool, the rugs form a new development of the artist's practice, focusing on poetic interpretation of Icelandic botany
Sjöstrand, Hólmaslóð 4
Seaweedworks x The Reykjavik Edition
The Reykjavik Edition hotel opened in 2019, created by T.ark and New York-based studio, Roman and Williams, and 2023 marks its first participation in DesignMarch. The hotel collaborated with Seaweedworks, an initiative set up by half Icelandic/English Creative Director and Photographer Charlie Strand that explores the potential of seaweed.
The process consists of harvesting seaweed from the ocean, then processing it through a unique preservation technique. At the hotel, Strand presents new works by fashion designer Tanguy Mélinand using the material, showing the process and raw materials, as well as the finished pieces.
Rosa Bertoli was born in Udine, Italy, and now lives in London. Since 2014, she has been the Design Editor of Wallpaper*, where she oversees design content for the print and online editions, as well as special editorial projects. Through her role at Wallpaper*, she has written extensively about all areas of design. Rosa has been speaker and moderator for various design talks and conferences including London Craft Week, Maison & Objet, The Italian Cultural Institute (London), Clippings, Zaha Hadid Design, Kartell and Frieze Art Fair. Rosa has been on judging panels for the Chart Architecture Award, the Dutch Design Awards and the DesignGuild Marks. She has written for numerous English and Italian language publications, and worked as a content and communication consultant for fashion and design brands.
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