All posts filed under: Interview

The Imaginarium Kron by Kronkron

For ten years Hugrún Árnadóttir and Magni Þorsteinsson have designed, manufactured and sold their designs all over the world under the label Kron by Kronkron. This includes roughly 1,200 varieties of shoes; a collection which forms the basis of their exhibition at the Museum of Design and Applied Art, which opens during DesignMarch. “Shoes must have been in the cards for us right from the get-go. Magni and I both had a special passion and fascination with unusual shoes when we were younger, and I even collected weird shoes, though not once did it occur to me that I’d be doing this for a living,” says Hugrún when asked how the couple’s big shoe adventure first began. “The last ten years have been like some crazy marathon run, and frankly kind of a ridiculous one at that. You’re always so busy working on whatever’s going on right now, and getting ready for the next big thing, that you hardly ever have time to look back at what’s come before,” she says, admitting that when she …

Björn Steinar Blumenstein

Björn Steinar Blumenstein creates projects that offer a distinct perspective on the bewildering pipeline of contemporary production that enables our daily lifestyles. With a critical yet solution-oriented eye, he explores fresh ways we can consider and engage with our globalised world beyond our typical default role as a purchasing consumer. We met up with Björn Steinar to discuss two new exhibitions he will be presenting at DesignMarch and his talk at this year’s DesignTalks conference. Your work strikes me as a form of design research. What is the main reason for this approach? In Iceland, design is still quite experimental. There is no fixed place for the designer within society so we are quite free. That’s the best thing about it and also the most limiting. We have relatively few material resources and the infrastructure is even less developed. That sparks all these funny projects where designers do hands-on material experiments and push it to the limits. Can we dive a bit into your DesignMarch 2018 exhibitions and the design processes behind them? Catch of …

Hanna Dís Whitehead

Hanna Dís Whitehead graduated from Design Academy Eindhoven’s product design programme in 2011, and today has her own design studio in southeast Iceland, Studio Hanna Whitehead. This year’s DesignMarch will provide visitors with two opportunities to view her work: her private exhibition Another Dialog at the Culture House, and through her contributions to the collaborative exhibition Illikambur, to be held at Gallery Harbinger. “The product line usually revolves around designing stuff that doesn’t necessarily have a predetermined purpose, but this time I’ve turned that around, to some extent,” Whitehead says of her line Another Dialog, explaining how the project actually came about as a result of her conversations with attendees of her previous exhibitions. “For the first time, I’ve made a conscious effort to adapt and develop the product to better suit the public’s ideas on its usefulness and practicality. This particular line is largely ceramic in nature, so I’ve used a variety of different glazes to produce varying textures. That way, I can make pottery that feels plastic to the touch, or even rubbery.” …

Erling and Helga Ósk

The exhibition Breathe presents the first collaborative line of jewellery designed by goldsmiths Erling and Helga Ósk, although the two have operated a shared workshop and retail space together since 2016. They explain that after sitting across from each other for almost two years, freely sharing ideas and design solutions, a closer collaborative venture came about quite naturally. While their respective approaches to their subject matter might seem divergent to the casual observer, they both agree on a certain shared attitude toward jewellery design, with plenty of room for overlap between the two. It was clear to both of them from an early age that their paths lay toward craftsmanship, and goldsmithing in particular. While Helga Ósk has immersed herself in traditional Icelandic design, creating works with aesthetic roots deep in Iceland’s past, Erling has experimented with the creation of forms hitherto unseen. They both, however, make a habit of venturing outside their comfort zones, breaking from their own aesthetic sensibilities whilst building on the well-established bedrock of their years of professional experience in the …

Sara Jonsdóttir, DesignMarch Festival Director

This year DesignMarch is celebrating its ten year anniversary. What are the most significant changes that the festival has gone through and where is it heading? Both the festival itself and the Icelandic design scene in general have gone through significant changes in this past decade. The size of the festival is growing every year and has become well established in the minds of designers and the people of Reykjavík alike, a permanent fixture in the city calendar. The theme and focus of the festival organically changes from year to year, often with one or two fields within design being more prevalent than others. I do see an increase in interdisciplinary projects, that reach beyond the more traditional fields of design. Furthermore, I see a significant change in the general understanding and awareness of what design is and its importance in society, alongside an ever-growing awareness that design is a methodology and ideology that can and should be applied in all aspects of society.   DesignMarch’s main objective is to enrich the community of designers, …

Studio Trippin
— 
From by-product to designer product

Design team Studio Trippin is blazing new trails with its utilization of horse hides and, in so doing, is transforming a previously unused by-product into an interesting designer product. Horse hides haven’t been used much in Iceland, which clothing designer Kristín Karlsdóttir and product designer Vigdís Steinarsdóttir see as an interesting challenge. “Unlike most other pelts, these hides come from an animal that has been treated well and is otherwise fully utilized. As such, we think it’s much better to make use of them, rather than dispose or export them, as has been done up until now. Also, this is a more environmentally friendly material than fake fur,” says Valdís. The inspiration for the project came from a class that Valdís attended as part of her product design studies at the Iceland Academy of the Arts, which emphasized the importance of the horse in Icelandic culture and opened up a discussion about an increased use of its by-products. “I became totally obsessed with this raw material and, in time, Kristín and I started talking and …

Student Series 2017
— 
Hætta / Athugið – Signage System by Ívar Björnsson

With tourism growing at an acute rate, Icelandic agencies and landowners are now working to minimize accidents and preventable risks by building up the national travel infrastructure needed to support the large influx of incoming travellers. Hætta / Athugið contributes valuably to this effort with customizable icons and a thoughtful system that will soon be tested at popular tourist attractions in collaboration with the Environmental Agency of Iceland. Hætta / Athugið by Ívar Björnsson is a customizable signage system that uses humour and charismatic graphic language to address the serious issue of tourist safety in Iceland. There is a current lack of consistent and effective signage across the country and tourists often may not realize the bodily risks encountered while traveling the countryside—whether intense winds, unpredictable beaches, or glaciers. How would you describe your project? The increase of accidents in Iceland following the tourist boom is a national concern. Current Icelandic warning and danger signs are not sufficiently effective or systematized. My objectives were to create a signage system that succeeds in grabbing attention of …

Student Series 2017

Blikur by Dagný Björg Stefánsdóttir

Blikur by Dagný Björg Stefánsdóttir is an investigation into ways we can sensorily relate to the weather. Poetic and meditative, the project transmits quiet strength as it melds contemporary design with old traditions and methods as a way to reconnect us with our bodies and the environment. These four minimal artefacts are a direct comment upon our dependence on technology and its corresponding loss of traditional knowledge for reading nature. As beautifully observed by Thomas Pausz, the power and beauty of Blikur lies in its reactionary nature: “Change is happening and we are learning to listen again. Blikur participates in this new consciousness.” Hello Dagný! How would you describe your project? Blikur is a series of four objects made out of materials that change in dialogue with different atmospheric conditions to reveal patterns of the weather with movement rather than numbers. The objects are sensors measuring atmospheric pressure, temperature, humidity levels and wind direction. They encourage the viewer to learn how to read into nature—into its surroundings and seek to reestablish the connection between humans …

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 …

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 …