All posts filed under: Interview

Cabinet of Curiosities

IAA Product Design Graduates 2016, Part 1

Autumn is upon us and a fresh batch of students are settling in at the Iceland Academy of the Arts. To get a sense of things to come we looked back at final projects from this year’s BA graduates in product design, who displayed a cabinet of curiosities backed with rich research as their final exhibition. In the first part of this two-part-article, we speak to Gardar Eyjólfsson, who is the director of studies in Product Design and who lead the final project course together with Thomas Pausz. In the second part, we highlight one exemplary project. HA – Garðar, how is this year’s group of graduates different from the previous years? I have noticed a change in mentality in our students for the last couple of years. They are starting to work much more as unit, sharing their research, network and experiences for the greater whole. They understand that they are much more powerful as a group than an individual. That was very visible in their group project willow project (willowproject.is). The coming generation share an interest …

DesignTalks follow-up

Studio Swine

  DesignMarch, Reykavik opened with DesignTalks, a full day of inspiring talks lead by internationally renowned designers and design thinkers at the architectural astounding Harpa. Part of the impressive line-up was Anglo-Japanese Studio Swine, co-founded by Architect Azusa Murakami and Artist Alexander Groves. They gave an exceptional talk sharing their unique approach to design and explained their nomadic way of working. Operating across a wide range of disciplines, Studio Swine’s work has gained an international audience within and beyond the design world. Their first proper encounter came as a heart-warming surprise to the audience, having been trapped in Milan after an RCA school trip, due to the volcanic eruption of Eyjafjallajökull back in 2010. They have not left each other’s side since. (HA caught up with them briefly before their talk.) Studio Swine was founded on the basis of cooperation of the architect and an artist and the result of this cooperation is quite extraordinary. How do you deal with the different perspectives of Art, design and architecture during your work?  Azusa: “Architecture – able …

The Physics of Architecture

Jón Kristinsson, pioneer in sustainable architecture.

One could say that Jón Kristinsson is an interesting combination of an inventor and an architect. He speaks as a physicist and thinks in sustainability. Jón has been based in Deventer, Holland for the majority of his life. He studied architecture at Delft University of Technology where he later became a professor in sustainable technology and design. Jón is known for having designed the most sustainable building in Holland and is well known for his inventions in the field of sustainability. HA magazine is curious why he is known in Holland as the father of sustainable architecture. Text by Sigríður Maack and Arnar Fells Gunnarsson, Photos by Arnar Fells and Kristinsson Architects. Fascinated by Force of Nature During his high school years he was at sea and was granted permission to take his exams alongside work. Early on, he became interested in sustainable development, assuming the seamanship had something to do with it. At sea he became conscious of the environment and forces of nature, whether it was the boat engine, winds or waves. Jón …

Deep Blue Sea

Iceland Ocean Cluster

The traditional image of the fishing industry does not hold water in the Iceland Ocean Cluster. Located in the Grandi harbor, the fishing warehouse turned creative cluster now houses over 60 start-ups, working hard to forge new paths in maritime business and sustainable fishing. From skincare products to pharmaceuticals, sea salt to processing solutions, it is here that the fishing industry of the future is being developed. Words: Arnar Fells Gunnarsson, photos: Ragna Margrét The Next Generation The Ocean Cluster’s central headquarters are appropriately situated on Grandi point by the Reykjavik harbor. Boats lie moored to the piers behind it, and across the street sits a row of old bait shacks. The interior of the building, however, is an entirely different matter. The entire length of the building is divided into offices and meeting rooms with glass partitions. Every minor detail speaks to artistic arrangement, with every table and chair a designer piece, most of them Icelandic in origin. It is instantly clear that design is important to every aspect of what is done here. Þór Sigfússon, …

Helga Lilja Magnúsdóttir

The designer behind Helicopter

‘I believe clothing affect people in so many ways – personally I always go for comfort. Feeling good in your own skin and clothes has a positive effect on everything you do’ says Helga, the designer behind the clothing label Helicopter. When designing, Helga is inspired by nature – working mostly with colors and shapes, everything from Icelandic rocks and moss to flamboyant exotic birds. Helga’s latest collection took an unexpected turn when she decided to work with her former boyfriend and artist, Halldór Ragnarsson, after he contacted her proposing a collaboration including his work. Rising to the challenge, Helga created Helicopter’s autumn/winter collection ‘We Always Meet Again’, inspired by the past and its effect on the present. Available in October / November 2015. Helga Lilja graduated with a Bachelor degree in fashion design from the Iceland Art Academy in 2006, having also completed an exchange program at the Gerrit Rietveld Academie in Amsterdam. However, she says that the three years she spent at NIKITA Clothing gave her the best education. Helicopter was founded in …

Weaving DNA

Threads of Identity

The collaboration between Icelandic product designer Hanna Dís Whitehead and Scottish textile designer Claire Anderson explores the Scottish and Icelandic craft tradition all the way to the common Viking ancestors. What role did crafts played in moulding the identity of the two nations? How do the two traditions compare? HA talked to Hanna Dís Whitehead to find out. Texti: Arnar Fells & Sari Peltonen / Ljósmyndir: Tian Khee Siong The show explores the Icelandic and Scottish craft traditions parallely. What were your key findings? Both Iceland and Scotland have a strong tradition in using wool. As it turns out, the material is very different in the two countries, which calls for different techniques and uses. The Icelandic wool is rough in comparison to its soft Scottish counterpart. Therefore, the textiles made from the two materials have a very different character. They make for a very interesting mix. We also used fish skin and recycled plastics. We found some interesting connections in old patterns, but also in patterns dating back just  a few decades. We also …

Hidden Wood

Driftwood in design

Driftwood is the subject of an exhibition in Djúpavík at Strandir, one of the most enchanting places in the Westfjords of Iceland. The exhibition, HIDDEN WOOD – Driftwood in design, focuses on the diverse opportunities hidden in Icelandic driftwood, on an island that is largely devoid of wooden areas. Text: Arnar Fells / Photos: Halla E. Hansen & curiators Ever since the first settlers arrived to the shores of Iceland, driftwood has been a valuble commodity, used as building material for ships and houses. The coastline of Strandir has always been bombarded with driftwood so the area must have played an significant role in a country with only small forests. In the middle ages it was common belief that the trees grew at the bottom of the ocean, north of Iceland but now we know that most of the driftwood travels a long way from Siberia before reaching the shores of Iceland. It is no surprise then that the farmers at Strandir are known as people of great craftsmanship, selling carved artefacts and household tools all over Iceland. The exhibition Hidden Wood is meant …

Íshús Hafnarfjarðar

Ice storage building turns into a creative cluster

What was once a freezing house and fishing factory now hosts a group of creatives working on anything from knife making to ceramics to carpentry and textiles. All in all, there are 30 or so creatives working at the cluster. For a complete listing, see the end of the article.  Text: Arnar Fells Gunnarsson and Arnar Ingi Viðarsson / Photos: Arnar Fells Gunnarsson    The closeness makes for crossovers and creative collaborations, too. Knife maker Evangelos Tsagkouros and ceramist Hanna Gréta Pálsdóttir work together on a series on cups, while Hanna Greta also works with Jónína Ósk Lárusdóttir of the carpenter’s workshop bifurkolla.com for trays for her glass set.  Björn Stefánsson on the other hand runs the company 3D Verk, whose equipment for prototypes and moulds comes in handy for many others at the house, too.  Designers and creatives working at Íshus Hafnarfjardar:  Evangelos Tsagkouros Krypteia Knives Bergdís B. Guðnadóttir ceramics Embla Sigurgeirsdóttir ceramics Hanna Gréta Pálsdóttir ceramics Sigrún Guðna Gunnlaugsdóttir crafts Anna María Karlsdóttir anthropologist Þórdís Baldursdóttir ceramics Unnur Sæmundsdóttir visual arts Sindri Snæsson crafts Sigrún …

Guðmundur Úlfarsson at Or Type

A rising star in the world of typefaces

While most people think of typeface design as seriously nerdy, it is impossible to ignore the fact that fonts play a role in most aspects of daily life. Author: Arnar Fells / Photograper Axel Sigurðsson The graphic designer Guðmundur Úlfarsson is one of the two owners of Or Type, the only specialist typeface design studio (or type foundry) in Iceland. Guðmundur recently gained attention after both the New York Times Magazine and the Sundance Film Festival bought typefaces designed by him. So who is this young type designer and what inspires his work? To find out, HA visited Guðmundur’s office in the old gas station by Hlemmur… …“Or Type receives a lot of enquiries, despite the fact that our target market is small. In fact, we have too many typefaces underway. The only thing holding us back is time, because it takes so long to complete one typeface, and I’m not even talking now about creating different variations of it,” says Guðmundur, who, today, is working on five different typefaces. He brings out a photocopy …

The visions of Gagarín

Experience and scenic design taken far and wide

In the past few years, the company known as Gagarín has been making a name for itself in the field of scenic experience, with its client base consisting mostly of corporations and institutions intent on crafting a media message and creating an interesting experience for their customers. Author: María Kristín Jónsdóttir / Photographs: Gagarín Examples of this include the Canadian Museum for Human Rights and the Eldheimar volcano museum in the Westman Islands – two projects that, while very different from one another, both employ interactive multimedia to encourage active participation from guests and deepen their understanding. We were curious about Gagarín’s visions, and paid them a visit, posing a few questions for their project manager, Ásta Olga Magnúsdóttir. HA: You often employ unorthodox methods to encourage audience participation, in effect making the spectator part of the show. What’s the key to good scenic design, and how do you make use of your specialized knowledge to achieve the desired user experience? A good storyline is essential to a good exhibit experience, and our special ability …