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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, bring it together, and create a space that facilitates networking and collaboration between designers and across disciplines. And perhaps most importantly to promote and celebrate Icelandic design.

What are the greatest challenges in managing a festival like DesignMarch?
The main challenge is to make all the pieces fit in the right place at the right time. The story with this type of festival is that most issues don’t get resolved until the eleventh hour, which can be quite stressful. However, I have learned that things tend to work out just as they should. Another great challenge is to make a festival of this scale be the best it can be with limited financial resources, which requires a healthy mix of cleverness, hard work and creativity.

How do you view the role and relevance of DesignMarch for the design scene and Icelandic society?
DesignMarch is an annual opportunity for designers and architects to show each other what they’ve been working on and to celebrate their efforts. It is also a great promotional opportunity – be it towards the general public, the business community, the media or other stakeholders, both national and international.   

Furthermore, the festival is a space where designers and design enthusiasts alike can get inspired – the festival conference DesignTalks being specifically designed with that objective in mind with internationally renowned designers and architects, both established and up and coming, engaging in thoughtful discussion on design and architecture for a full day. DesignMarch is almost an embarrassment of riches, no one should have any trouble finding something to their liking.

What are the most rewarding aspects of your job?
Generally speaking it’s when things work out and the end objective is achieved. When you see the whole thing come together – that moment when all the exhibitions and events open and the products of all the designers and architects hard work are unveiled.

I particularly like it when that certain magic happens, when an exhibition or event that had been flying under the radar pops up and surprises you with something completely unexpected.

Text Sigríður Ásgeirsdóttir / Photo Rafael Pinho

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