19.3.13

Erling


Of of all the venues where art and design was presented during DesignMarch, Skúrinn (The Shed) impressed me the most. This was probably my most memorable visit (apart from The Long Moment photographic exhibition at The Nordic House, see below). I was so impressed with Skúrinn that I left only to return back with two friends without telling them where we were going or what to expect. They were equally impressed and surprised to find this unusual showroom, planted between two houses in one of the nicest residential area in Reykjavik, where apartments usually come with quite a hefty price tag. Not only that, in this rusty, crooked and tiny, tiny shed, barely spacious enough to fit the artist representing his work there plus one visitor at a time, I took probably the most photographs. I just kept seeing images all over the place and still feel I left without taking enough! 
Erling Johannesson is a goldsmith and an actor/director who has worked in theaters, in movies and on TV and the radio, acting and directing plays on RÚV, The Icelandic National Broadcasting Service. During my first visit to Skúrinn, while I was chatting away to Erling, a small radio, perched up on a shelf, was tuned to RÚV, where a play was being broadcast, humming in the background while we chatted, which I thought was a rather perfect timing. 
Erling´s jewelry collection which I loved, consists of silver jewelry, largely inspired by fish skeletons, which seem to be a source of inspiration to more Icelandic designers these days, such as Kría, another collection of jewelry which I´ve blogged about before and also really like, and product designer Róshildur Jónsdóttir,  who has created Something Fishy, a fishbone model-making kit. 
Unfortunately, not everyone can see the beauty in things, people or places that are perhaps not 100% perfect, and so, after repeated complaints from someone living close to Skúrinn, it was, as Erling had told me would happen, transported by truck, on to new adventures almost the minute after DesignMarch was officially over. I might follow up on that story because I know for a fact that one of Skúrinn´s future role in a new destination spot is rather interesting to say the least. Stay tuned!

Sorry for the blurry image but I just HAD to include the "dining room" area of Skúrinn. 

18.3.13

S/k/e/k/k

Another place I visited and was intrigued by yesterday, offered things miles apart on the design/art spectrum from Sarah´s and Nina´s exhibition at The Nordic House. S/k/e/k/k is a design shop which hasn´t really opened formally here in Iceland, but nevertheless popped up temporarily, during DesignMarch. Designers and brands such as Ladies and Gentlemen, a design-duo which designed the Homestead candleholders in the image above, A kind of Guise,  Daniel Magnusson, Doug Johnston, Iacoli & McAllister, Shwood and Umemi all have one thing in common, besides being available at S/k/e/k/k; they all aim to design and produce design objects with novel and forward-thinking methods, where the emphasis is on eco-friendly design. S/k/e/k/k doesn´t have a website up and running just yet but is right there with us and the rest of the world on Facebook. 
Hex bottle opener and key chain by Iacoli & McAllister
Bianca table by Iacoli & McAllister
Ty DIY shower curtain from Grain

17.3.13

Cooper & Gorfer

Today is officially the last day of DesignMarch and for me personally, this has been the most fun and inspiring DesignMarch so far, by far. Design in Iceland is a relatively young "industry" and we are perhaps not quite "there" yet, compared with our fellow Nordic countries like Denmark, Sweden and Finland which all have a strong and solid design heritage, recognized the world over. Having said that, a lot of what I saw from Icelandic designers this DesignMarch, is both beautifully designed AND made, truly deserving of being introduced to the rest of the world. 
However, before I start to bombard you with my personal favorites of Icelandic design, I want to share with you two events of foreign origins which I enjoyed very much, but for very different reasons. Both these events are part of the DesignMarch 2013 programme.


Yesterday afternoon I visited a photographic exhibition which absolutely blew me away. When I left, my first thought was, I have to come back! Held in the basement of The Nordic House, designed by Alvar Aalto and opened in 1968, this exhibition was not something I would have thought would work with Aalto´s organic, modernist style of architecture. Being taken by surprise can be such an important and yet often overlooked part in making an object or an experience unforgettable, and a surprise the exhibition certainly was, for me and the two people with me there yesterday. The space where the exhibition was held had been dramatically transformed into something that you were far from expecting to see in a place like The Nordic House, yet so incredibly complimenting to the striking and dramatic ambiance reflected in each and every image hanging on the walls.  
The Long Moment is an exhibition were Sarah Cooper and Nina Gorfer beautifully blurr the lines between photography and painting in photographs, shot in Iceland and countries as far away as Quatar and Kyrgyzstan. A lot of work goes into both pre- and post production where the images are digitally processed to create collages which you are sometimes not sure whether to categorize as photographs or paintings. The results are, to me at least, breathtakingly beautiful. 









14.3.13

DesignMarch 2013-Epal


This week, the 5th annual DesignMarch, organized by the Iceland Design Centre, is upon us and Icelandic designers of various disciplines proudly present a smorgasbord of their latest designs, be it graphic design, fashion, jewelry, ceramics, product design or architecture. The mood is festive, there´s optimism and excitement in the air and no wonder, design in Iceland is blossoming! During DesignMarch, design aficionados are busy fluttering between galleries, shops, museums or other unique venues where the focus is firmly on design. There are opening parties to go to, things to see and people to meet and one really has to be super organized to be able to cover everything properly.
My first stop yesterday was design store Epal, where for 38 years, Eyjolfur Palsson has  introduced us to quality design, how to appreciate it for its beauty and excellent craftsmanship and how to spot the real thing from the replicas. 
This year, 33 Icelandic designers presented 39 new designs in Epal and I will be blogging in more details about some of them a bit later because right now I have quite a few opening parties to go to.   

12.3.13

Home and Delicious

The latest issue of Home and Delicious is out, just in time for DesignMarch 2013, a week in March dedicated to Icelandic design which is, by the way, practically blooming these days, more of which a bit later. In this issue of Home and Delicious you will find a selection of Icelandic design and interviews with Icelandic designers such as Olga and Elisabet at Volki and Stefan Petur; interview with Emma Fexeus the creator of the hugely popular Emmas Designblogg, the Australian stylist extraordinaire Sibella Court plus an interview with Samantha Denisdottir of Lovenordic and Story North, one of the nicest person I´ve ever "met" online. Hope you enjoy the latest issue of Home and Delicious, my focus in the next few days will be on enjoying and introducing you to Icelandic design at its best.