Design


The skull in the kitchen

The skull in the kitchen

Yrsa Sigurðardóttir’s crime novels are sold all over the world. In her home in Iceland, where she creates the crime novels that over two million people have read, an 800 years old skull sits ominously in the kitchen.   The house stands near the sea and the waves kiss the shore. A silvery Jaguar stands in front of the house. The author opens the front door and two old pugs look curiously at the guest. Their names? Palli and Pilla. The cat of the house, Mjása, is probably chasing a mouse outside. Yrsa pours tea in dainty teacups adorned with flowers. She bought the teacups on one of her trips to England. As an author she travels abroad often. In September, there were five trips abroad in total. “I make an average of two trips a month, and I think the most frequent places I go to are Norway, the UK, Germany and the US. Usually these trips last three or four days. I speak to journalists and meet the public on the longer trips and the shorter trips are usually at crime festivals where you are on stage talking to the audience and signing books afterwards.” Yrsa worked for years as an engineer. “I’m away so much and need more time for writing so now I only do little work as an engineer.” Absolution Palli and Pilla are not so curious about me anymore and lay down on their bed. They fall asleep and snore. Yrsa started writing for children  when she was 32 years old. “I ended up writing five books for children and sort of took a pause for two years after that. When I started writing again it was to write crime novels for grown ups. I’m writing my 12th book so all in all the…


Favourites: for the neat freak

Favourites: for the neat freak

If you are anything like me then you like to avoid clutter and love to be organized. Here are a few items that I hope will inspire you. Follow my blog with Bloglovin Nordstjerne Organizer found here (pssst… not only for pens but great for your makeup brushes too)2. Mind Design Charger shelf ( brilliant to store your phone charger ) found here 3. Square Magazine holder (for all of your RFD issues perhaps) found here   4. Umbra Shelf storage ( I would love this for my cookbooks in the kitchen)  found here        5. Globe Vase (for decorations or flowers) found here   6. Mette ditmer Glas ( for your pens and scissors ) found here   7.  Woud Organizer (for everything from A-Z ) found here


Dubai Design Week

Dubai Design Week

Earlier this month I flew back from doing fantastic design show in Dubai in the United Arab Emirates. It all started a few months back when my colleague from North Limited got a phone call from the Icelandic Design Center telling us that we were lucky enough to be invited to Dubai along with three other design studios from Iceland. We would all be showing together in Dubai along with the Icelandic design week ‘Design March’. I had heard that Dubai was a city constantly under development – new houses and hotels being built every day, well I didn’t have to put that theory to the test as our hotel was only two months old yet it was completely booked and looked fantastic. In fact, you would never have thought that it had not been anything but a designer hotel connected with the Design Week in Dubai.   Dubai started Dubai Design week three years ago, they wanted a design show to celebrate the cultural melting pot that is happening in Dubai. To add diversity to the show, Dubai has been inviting design weeks around the world to come and exhibit three brands at a time during the Dubai Design Week. There is a distinct energy in the air in Dubai, an energy to get things done and being able to always do better and greater. The show was just like the city, a melting pot of people from all over the world with great energy, inviting the guests of the exhibition to come, see and buy new beautiful items for their home. The odd uncle at the family table. During the show, we got all sorts of questions and requests, but never as much as during opening day. We had clearly lacked in our preparation and hadn’t really expected…


Scandinavian & Cozy at Jennifer Berg's Lovely Home

Scandinavian & Cozy at Jennifer Berg’s Lovely Home

We visited the lovely Jennifer Berg at her home in Vesturbærinn (West town) where she lives with her boyfriend Skúli and their french bulldog Knútur. Jennifer is a 25 year old model, born and raised in Borås, Sweden. She invited us over for coffee on a cloudy Friday afternoon in August. Because of her modelling work, she travels a lot and writes about her adventures on trendnet.is, one of the biggest blogs in Iceland. She is also a great chef. You can see so many delicious recipes on her blog, and she was kind enough to share her favourite dish with Reykjavík Fashion & Design. Jennifer and Skúli first met in Sweden and moved to Iceland in January, 2015. They have turned their apartment into a beautiful home by freshening up the kitchen and adding some nice details to the place, many of them from Sweden, but Jennifer is a big fan of Scandinavian design in general. We asked her a few questions to get to know her a little better. When did you move to Iceland? I moved here in January of 2015. In the beginning I thought it would be really hard to live here, because it is a small country and I’m not used to be “stuck” in the same place for a long time. But it has been surprisingly good, I have been travelling a lot since I moved here actually, because of my modelling and it has helped me in not feeling isolated. I love our home and it suits us perfectly. Have you done a lot of work on the apartment? Skúli my boyfriend had been renting it out while we lived in Sweden. So yes, we needed to freshen up the apartment. We painted everything, sanded our hardwood floors and renovated the bathroom….


ODDSSON Ho(s)tel

ODDSSON Ho(s)tel

Reykjavík is an odd place. The city’s relaxed randomness and playful, laid back attitude shine through at the appropriately named ODDSSON Ho(s)tel, which opened earlier this year. I took a tour with Daniel Freyr Atla­son, design genius and Creative Director at Döðlur, the advertising and design firm behind Iceland’s newest hotspot. Great ideas begin with a missed flight The imaginative minds behind ODDSSON seek originality. Beyond the cookie-cutter “hipster” hostel, they wanted to bring high culture and art into the mix. Daniel says the seeds for the design concept for a combination hotel/hostel were planted when he missed a flight. The experience, which could have been exceedingly dull, morphed into a ruckus party with first class passengers clinking glasses with budget-travellers. Stranded at an airport with nothing to do but watch the clock tick, people moved through the space having fun and exploring. That open, adventurous, carefree feeling is brought to life through the design of ODDSSON. Reflecting on the attitude of the people of Reykjavík, Daniel commented, “You can’t tell us how to do things, and we have a hard time with rules.” ODDSSON is not a hotel. It isn’t a hostel. It isn’t a bar or a restaurant or a Karaoke joint, either. Echoing the theme of marrying high and low culture, ODDSSON is all of that. Travelers can expect to rent a luxury suite next door to a room with bunk beds. The space is rich with small treasures everywhere you look. On the ground floor, carefully selected high-end furniture that usually sits behind velvet ropes in art galleries elsewhere in the world is placed next to tables custom designed by Döðlur and built by Daniel’s dad. The designers want people to revel in the juxtaposition. He joked, “I would love to see people dancing on the…


Behind Björk’s many masks

Behind Björk’s many masks

James Merry is a hand embroidery artist, originally from Gloucestershire, UK, now based in Iceland. He has working with Björk since 2009. He spends his days at a small cabin studio on a lake fifteen minutes outside of Reykjavík, working by hand in a variety of mediums. James has a formal background from one of the best schools in the world, Oxford University, where he studied Classical Greek but the thing he loves most, he taught himself. Firstly could you tell us about about yourself and how you became an artist? I was fortunate enough to have an incredibly creative upbringing. My mother and my older sisters are artists too, so my imagination and creative side were nurtured from a young age. I took a slight academic detour in my twenties, and decided to study Classical Greek at Oxford University. In hindsight, I probably should have gone to art school instead. Still, I have no regrets since I got there in the end! How did you get into embroidery? I have always loved working with my hands. In particular, I like any sort of work that requires delicacy and precision. I have a tendency to always zoom in on the details, and I also really enjoy quite slow-paced things that are given space to develop over time. Hand embroidery epitomises all those things, so I don’t think it’s any surprise that I ended up working with that medium. When was the first time you realised that being creative making things was something that you absolutely had to do? I don’t think it’s a conscious decision you make to be creative, it’s more of a nagging relentless impulse that you have no other choice but to obey. Artists probably don’t get the credit they deserve considering the demands of the profession….


Inklaw’s Streetwear Revolution

Inklaw’s Streetwear Revolution

Inklaw Clothing was started in 2013 by two 19-year-old friends, Guðjón and Róbert. Now only three years later, the Icelandic brand is sending handmade merchandise to locations as far away as Suriname and as bizarre as the US military base in Kuwait. Take a look at their wares and it’s easy to understand why: their streetwear is just gorgeous. The cuts are classic and clean but the prints keep them unique and eye-catching. Just check out their Instagram @inklawclothing. Aren’t you planning a million outfits in your head? To get a peek into the world of Inklaw, I talked to Anton Sigfússon, who oversees the business side of the brand. “[Inklaw is] heavily inspired by the hip hop scene,” Anton tells me. “However, what we like to do is take the key elements of that scene and mix it up with elements of Icelandic nature. We do a lot of hand painted products, which gives us the flexibility to incorporate specific scenery that we draw inspiration from into the designs.” He specifically names artists like Tory Lanez, Party­nextdoor, Future and the A$AP crew as particularly inspirational. “Yeah, Future [is] always on point when it comes to outfits,” Anton says. The rapper actually isn’t too many degrees away from the brand. “His stylist picked out a few [Inklaw] pieces for him when we were in New York earlier this year, but we have yet to see pictures of him wearing them.” Nonetheless, Inklaw is getting major recognition both within Iceland and abroad. At Secret Solstice, Icelandic musicians Auður, Tiny (from Quarashi), and Blaz Roca (from XXXRottweiler) donned the brand. Arnór Ingvi Traustason, aka the hero who scored Iceland’s winning goal at the EuroCup game against Austria, also just instagrammed himself in an Inklaw hoodie. Abroad? Inklaw pieces have been spotted on…


Shore Birds,  Sure Words

Shore Birds, Sure Words

WORDS by Margrét Dagbjört Flygenring Pétursdóttir Translated by Rebecca Conway Photos by Neil John Smith & courtesy of Normann Copenhagen Ever since Sigurjón Pálsson soared into the design scene, he has found much acclaim for his minimalistic, yet complex products. Lately, he’s been causing quite a stir with his ‘Shore Birds’ project, the result of a collaboration with design company Normann Copenhagen.  Entranced by his collection, we sat down with the man behind the birds, to pick his brain about everything from the design process to writing crime novels, even touching on the oft-twisting design of life itself. How have you come up with so many ideas for designs in so short a time? My ideas tend to be the result of a process rather than a sudden epiphany. You could compare it with the river: the process starts with small streams in my mind, which originate from my unconscious and even from my childhood. Gradually, more and more streams are added, and eventually come together to form a kind of lake. When the time is right, this lake turns into a flood, which ends with a finished design. ‘Shore Birds’ is a good example of this process. Birds have been dear to me since childhood – from an early age, my grandfather taught me to identify different species and gave me beautiful books about birds. The opportunity to incorporate birds into my design came more than 50 years later. After knee surgery, I had plenty of time to think and saw an opportunity in the surge of tourism in Iceland. I wanted to design high-quality products that would make Icelandic nature appealing to tourists. Icelandic birds were, of course, a major part of carrying out this goal. Today, these birds are sold under the Normann Copenhagen brand. How did…


Sylvía Lovetank

Sylvía Lovetank

Sylvía Dögg Halldórsdóttir, also known as ­ Sylvía Lovetank, has had some of the ­ coolest creative jobs around. As a freelance artist/costume breakdown artist, she has worked in the costume ­ department for television shows like ‘Fortitude’ and ‘Game of Thrones’. Breakdown artists add crucial details to costumes so characters can fight another day in ­ Westeros and Essos. Sylvía, who grew up in the remote town of Reyðarfjörður in a scenic stretch of east Iceland, is a trained artist with a studio in downtown Reykja­ vík. Reykjavík Fashion & Design met up with Sylvía to learn more about her path from Reyðarfjörður to the exciting world of ‘Game of Thrones’. How did you get started in the art world? I grew up in a very small town in the east called Reyðarfjörður which at the time had a population of just 700 people. At the age of 13, I asked my mother to send me to boarding school. I wanted more. I wanted to create and see the world and meet people. That really drove me as a child. I was always creative, and I needed an outlet. Did you end up leaving Iceland for a while? I left home at the age of 15 and moved to Reykjavík. I moved to Rotterdam, ­ Holland for four years where I got my bachelor’s degree at Willem de ­ Kooning’s Fine Arts department. After graduation, I moved to London. When I left home, my mother said, ‘You’re never going to move back to Iceland. You’re going to travel the world’. I lived in London for just over a year, and I became pregnant with my son. I came back to Iceland because it’s such a great place to raise ­ children and it can be important to be close…


Vorhus Living by Sveinbjörg

Vorhus Living by Sveinbjörg

Vorhus Living by Sveinbjörg is an Icelandic company that boasts a broad range of design items and homewares. The design is inspired by the Icelandic nature, from the birds to the leaves and flowers. You can be sure you’ll get quality when you buy the company’s products. The Icelandic artist Sveinbjörg Hallgríms­  dóttir is the designer and owner of the company that bears her name. She has worked as an artist for about 30 years. She founded the company in 2007 by creating greeting cards based on her original artwork. Today, the company boasts a broad range of 150 design items and homewares. Sveinbjörg’s designs are inspired by Icelandic animals and plants, and she keeps quality in mind while designing. Scandinavian style, adventurous color combinations and comprehensive product range for beautiful homes are the company’s defining characteristics. The inspiration Sveinbjörg grew up by the sea in Reykjavík, the capital of Iceland, where you can see every shade of blue and grey, depending on the weather. She spent summers at her grandmother and grandfather’s farm, where she watched birds and saw the flowers bloom. Therefore, nature has always had a big impact on her and on her art and design. Sveinbjörg produces a wide variety of items, including candle­  holders, porcelains, tea towels, cushions, scarves, wool blankets, greeting cards and towels. Each year, she adds something new to the collection. You can buy Sveinbjorg’s products in various stores in Iceland, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Finland, France, Hong Kong and New York. The aim of the company is to produce beautiful items that are fairly priced and environmentally friendly. It is also an inspirational workplace with a creative atmosphere and a staff of four women who all play a role in changing designs into products. Every detail is carefully planned, and all products…