All posts filed under: Opinion

Student Series 2017 / Through the Looking Glass

Interview with professor Thomas Pausz

Through the Looking Glass is a series of spotlights showcasing new design talent. The series offers an in-depth look into six exceptional graduation projects from the Iceland Academy of the Arts, along with an introductory interview with Thomas Pausz—a professor of product design at the Iceland Academy of the Arts and the curator of the 2017 BA degree show TEIKN / GESTURES. In the interview below, Thomas helps us gain a greater perspective on this year’s graduating students and insight into what young designers are making today. Through the series, we hope to gauge the upcoming creative pulse in Iceland and offer a window into how a new generation of creatives is responding to times of environmental anxiety, political instability and redefined values. — As the curator, how would you characterize this year’s graduating projects? I was very inspired by the humour with which the students are addressing difficult topics. We live in confusing times, with a disturbing political and ecological crisis, but this generation is making the choice to challenge the gloom and to …

HA#5

Is out now

The fifth issue of HA magazine on Icelandic design and architecture is out now. In this fifth issue of HA we cover a lot of ground and consider projects, ideas, and dreams. Fittingly for the summer edition, we discuss a few projects that were introduced at this past DesignMarch. Among them is an interview with the design team And Anti Matter, which reveals just how important it is to have a holistic approach when presenting design. We also cover Siggi Odds’s rune project and Aníta Hirlekar’s new clothing line – as both of them garnered well-deserved attention at DesignMarch this year. In this edition we also approach issues of city planning from a new perspective. We join Birkir Ingibjartsson, architect, as he allows himself to dream of the metropolis Reykjavík. In the article “Nowhere Land”, Birkir considers how we might consummate the city in four steps; the city that we abandoned after the impractical dreams of the modernists came to nothing. We look at how the educational programme Biophilia has contributed to innovation in schools and shaken up traditional teaching methods in the Nordic countries.  …

Cabinet of Curiosities

IAA Product Design Graduates 2016 Part 2

This year’s BA graduates in product design displayed a cabinet of curiosities to show their final projects backed with rich research. In the first part of this two-part-article, we spoke to Gardar Eyjólfsson, who is the director of studies in Product Design and who lead the final project course together with Thomas Pausz. In this second part we highlight one exemplary project by BA graduate Kristín Sigurðardóttir.   Kristín Sigurðardóttir – The Alchemist For her final project ‘Utile’, Kristín Sigurðardóttir created obsidian by recycling stone-wool, then made tiles from it. “The starting point was glass recycling. I got really interested in it when I found out about the non-existing glass recycling in Iceland and all glass is imported. To my surprise, bottles we return to the recycling centers are not sent abroad for recycling in other countries, like we do with the plastic and aluminum, and we do not have a glass factory in Iceland to recycle it either. So thousands of tons of glass have been used in landfills. Some experiments have been made to recycle …

“Reporting from the Front”

Conversation on the Venice Biennale 2016

Text by Mark Smyth (MS), Sigrún Sumarliðadóttir (SS) and Giambattista Zaccariotto (GZ)   GZ: In the press conference and introduction of the Biennale in Venice 2016 it was stated that it has been organized around the statements that the built environment is key for the quality of life of the majority and that it is there implicitly for the common good. A common good, which is threatened by a number of existing problems that are ongoing, such as natural disasters (mostly man made) and purely economically driven construction. These spatial conditions are reducing the possibilities for humanity, in terms of our rights, physical and psychological needs. This has been called the built environment of banality or mediocracy and there are inherent drivers that produce and reproduce it. One of the drivers that has been considered key, is the use of the built environment as an economical tool rather then a social one or a goal for a welfare infrastructure, this is a key theme in Aravena’s biennale. SS: Keeping this in mind, Aravena organised the …

Biennale report #2 – Social Sustainability

The potential for architecture to engage with the community

Architects Sigrún Sumarliðadóttir, Mark Smyth and Giambattista Zaccariotto, give us an insight into some of the highlights of the 15th Biennale of Architecture in Venice 2016. Globalisation has separated the general public from the perceived architectural elite. The role of the architect, in some cases, needs to broaden to look beyond the object (building) to the economical and social interventions required to better serve a community. One of the main emphasis of the curator Aravena this year is a focus of architectures role in improving the quality of daily life by improving the quality of the built environment and reconnecting with the users/citizens (what Aravena calls “the civil society”) that are often excluded from the process of its making. Improving the quality of daily life of people is a complex affair and the solution or intervention required can be a new physical object in the landscape but not necessarily, in other cases slight changes in the existing can be enough or even just encouraging changes in behaviour, breaking the vicious circle of the status quo/business as usual. Below are …

Biennale Report #1 – Cultural Sustainability

The resurgence of local craft, materials and skills

REPORTING FROM THE FRONT, was this year’s title for the Biennale of Architecture in Venice. The international exhibition opened on the 28. of May and was curated by architect and pritzker prizewinner Alejandro Aravena. Architects Sigrún Sumarliðadóttir, Mark Smyth and Giambattista Zaccariotto, visited the exhibition and gave us an insight into some of this years highlights. Traditional technologies where a recurring theme at this year’s Biennale; presented both as a source of knowledge and a mechanism for education – the creation of knowledge. This is nothing new, and one could argue that our existing architectural toolkit was discussed exhaustively at the previous biennale curated by Rem Koolhas. The difference we observed (and welcomed) this year was a conscious effort by a large number of the participants to illustrate how these tools where deployed successfully in their contemporary practice. One of our favourite contributions this year, came from Zhang Ke (Standard Architecture) of China. The presentation was particularly successful in explaining a solution to an urban problem, from the scale of the city through to a full-size prototype. He introduces …

HA nr. 3

is out

In the third issue of HA, we embrace the anti-establishment, play with the rules and confidently face the future. Issue 3 features the most interesting new design introduced during DesignMarch. Summit co-founder Daniel Golling writes about the state of things in Icelandic design while Finnish design strategist Marco Steinberg looks at design in relation to politics – a topical view in the context of the political turmoil of our island in the past few months. Spark Design Space, the Iceland Academy of the Arts, Vík Prjónsdóttir and the Nordic mash-up project 1+1+1 are all included, too. HA is published both in Icelandic and in English by the Iceland Design Centre. It is available in Eymundsson bookstores, which are located in every major towns in Iceland, and in most Design stores in the Reykjavík area; Epal, Kraum, Hrím, Aurum, Reykjavík art museum, National Galley of Iceland and The National Museum of Iceland. We are proud to be stocked overseas atPapercut in Stockholm; Lokal in Helsinki and Kioskafe by Monocle in London. You can also order a …

Game On

Elements of good play areas

As Reykjavík keeps growing, the designated play areas for its youngest inhabitants need to be developed strategically too, write landscape architects Aðalheiður E. Kristjánsdóttir and Svava Þorleifsdóttir Text by Aðalheiður E. Kristjánsdóttir and Svava Þorleifsdóttir. Cover photo by Eva Lind Children spend up to eight hours every day at school or in kindergarten. It is vital that the surrounding grounds are designed with their needs in mind. The design of play spaces should aim to provide children with an outlet for play and creative energy, fulfill their need for exercise, and encourage outdoor activities and games. It is common rule that all children should engage in moderate or vigorous physical exercise at least 60 minutes a day. Well-designed playgrounds stimulate children’s imaginations and provide a space that encourages movement as well as both structured and spontaneous play. Playgrounds need to be safe, but also well-constructed and durable so that they can withstand punishment from children and weather alike. Research has shown that outdoor activity has a demonstratively positive effect on concentration, learning and social interaction. …

In short

Three Designers at DesignMarch

DesignMarch 2016 in now in full motion. We talked with three designers and looked at what they have in store for us this year. We spoke with Bryja Þóra Guðnadóttir about her project Predictable Civil disobedience, Axel Hallkell Jóhannesson exhibition designer at Eldheimar, and Guðmund Úlfarsson typeface designer at Or Type. Predictable Civil disobedience Brynja Þóra Guðnadóttir was recently nominated for the Icelandic Innovation Award for her indoor garden for herbs based on water gel processed from brown algae. “The project started with my MA studies in design at the Iceland Academy of the Arts. I wanted to make growing herbs at home easier for people. I wanted to use locally based materials, and  decided to go with water gel to be able to maintain the oxygen in the water. That way, you would only need powder (with all the nutrients that a plant needs) in a bag, seeds and add water. It really could not be easier. The roots grow fast and are visible in the gel, which is interesting for children to watch. I am currently focusing on finding out what kind of …

DesignTalks warm-up

Jonathan Barnbrook

Every year the DesignMarch festival in Reykjavík is ignited with big-name lectures at DesignTalks. There the world’s leading designers and design-thinkers share their wisdom and show us the innovative power of design. Jonathan Barnbrook, one of Britain’s most prominent graphic designers, is among those who will take the stage on DesignTalks this year. Barnbrook is a typeface designer and design activist best know for his collaboration with Adbusters and artist like David Bowie and Damien Hirst. We at HA-magazine wanted to warm him up a little before his visit to Iceland and asked him two questions: If one looks closely at David Bowie’s career it becomes obvious that he sought some inspiration in modern occultism and symbolism. This can both be heard in his lyrics and seen on his album covers. Can you tell us if there is any connection to this esoteric symbolism on the last four album covers you designed for Bowie?   Actually we talked more of emotionally how the music felt or the big universal themes. The covers I did are not just …