The history of design in Iceland is neither a lengthy nor substantial one when compared to those of its neighboring countries. From a Nordic standpoint, one could compare the Icelandic design scene to a teenager, and as we all know, those are rough years.
Arnar Fells – Editor in chief
Your self-image is still forming during those emotionally tumultuous years, no one takes you seriously, and you feel small and inexperienced. As a teenager you rely largely on the support of those close to you, all the while wanting nothing more than the freedom to stand by yourself, unaided and independent.
The Icelandic design community is very much at defining crossroads, not dissimilar to those teen years. We are slowly discovering our own strengths and are determined to be taken seriously, and not just in Nordic or broader international terms, but also by our own professional sector. We belong to a social group that truly understands the benefits of making long-term investments in design and the creative sector. We want to be included in decisions both large and small, whether related government or the private sector, and to help shape a better future for ourselves.
The past few years have seen a general increase in awareness, with more and more people coming to understand the importance of design. Establishing the Iceland Design Centre and the Museum of Design and Applied Arts has been crucial to this, as have improvements of the Iceland Academy of the Arts. Although a change for the better is surely afoot, one cannot expect it to happen all at once. Realization will be slow to reach the various nooks and crannies of our society, and this has the potential to inspire hard feelings towards those “others” who fail to see the light. However, it can only be to one’s detriment to be embittered by the failures of corporations, governments, and the public at large. Designers fixated on the lack of understanding in their environment accomplish precious little, while good designers who stay focused on the dissemination of knowledge have the advantage.
It is exactly this that we aim to accomplish with HA magazine. We want to encourage a common interest in architecture and design by demonstrating their influence and importance. HA is to be a venue for critical thought, a force to broaden people’s awareness of the creative sector. In Icelandic, the exclamation “Ha?” can be both an expression of surprise and demand for the speaker to repeat herself. What better word could you find for our magazine? This odd little Icelandic word, so loaded with bewilderment and curiosity, the hallmarks of any creative soul.
And while we’re on the subject of creative folks, I would like to thank the team behind this magazine; few in number, but big in thought. This publication is an excellent example of what can be accomplished when you have a clear objective and a talented team. It is our sincerest hope that you, dear reader, understand the importance of HA becoming a permanent fixture. Take part in the discussion and help us edify and enlighten, with the end goal being one of perpetual betterment.