Despite this year’s uncertainty, the Reykjavík-based festival DesignMarch 2020 recently showcased the best of Iceland’s innovative and multifaceted design scene. The Festival, which is usually held in March, was postponed this year due to the global COVID-19 pandemic. Iceland, however, was successful in its response to the virus and was able to go forward with the opening of DesignMarch 2020, running between 24 – 28 June. As described by the Festival, “DesignMarch brings together participants and guests with progressive design and innovation. [It] heralds new and surprising approaches and is a vibrant platform for ideas, diverse perspectives and knowledge driving force that enriches and enhances society”.
From collaborative text-art to ASMR installations to reclaimed stadium seats, Icelandic curators Hlín Helga Guðlaugsdóttir and María Kristín Jónsdóttir have shared their best of DesignMarch 2020 with us. Their top ten collectible pieces features work by familiar Adorno designers including Hanna Dís Whitehead, Ragna Ragnarsdóttir, Studio Björn Steinar, Studió Flétta, and Theodóra Alfreðsdóttir as well as other talented Icelandic makers. The range and variety of work showcased here highlights the country’s vibrant contemporary design scene and gives a taste of the Festival as a whole.
Studió Flétta, “Trophy”
The “Trophy” collection makes use of discarded trophies, reusing them to create an intricate series of tables and vases. At DesignMarch 2020, Studió Flétta expanded their series to include ceiling lights, giving new futures to forgotten objects.
Hanna Dís Whitehead in collaboration with graphic designer Guðmundur Úlfarsson, “Claying with Type”
Font designer Guðmundur Úlfarsson and product designer Hanna Dís Whitehead collaborate to create “Claying with Type”, a collection of objects and textiles which was developed through their joint interest in the digital and the handmade. Text is brought into physical form, blurring the line between the two-dimensional and the three-dimensional.
Ragna Ragnarsdóttir, “Vanishing Point”
“Vanishing Point” is the result of researching with epoxy resin, pigment and light. Looking for an interesting ways of mixing, pouring, colour, and layer clear resin to play with perspective. Here, experimental design methods meet, whose role is to shed light on both practical utility and play with our experience of light.
Theodóra Alfreðsdóttir & Tino Seubert, “Corrugation Lights”
A collaboration between Theodóra Alfreðsdóttir and Tino Seubert, the “Corrugation Lights” collection highlights the craft of veneer forming and combines this technique with off-the-shelf aluminium pipes to create a contrasting series of hanging lights and wall sconces. A contemporary take on mid-century design, bringing a sense of playfulness to long-held craft techniques.
Studio Björn Steinar, “Catch of the Day: Limited Covid-19 edition”
Based on reducing food waste and with reference to the current COVID-19 crisis, studio Björn Steinar developed “Catch of the day: Limited COVID-19 edition” hand sanitiser from leftover, fermented and distilled fruit.
Halldór Eldjárn, “Inorganic Plant Garden”
A machine that acts and grows like a hanging plant. Equipped with a thermal printer and a light sensor, runs on electricity and is controlled by light. Each day, a few centimeters of plant are slowly printed out. The amount of light dictates how many and how big the leaves on the plant grow.
Valdís Steinarsdóttir, “ASMR U Ready?”
Within the moment of social distancing, Valdís Steinarsdóttir’s exhibition “ASMR U Ready?” makes use of Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response (ASMR) to stimulate viewers’ experiences of materials. Three projects, “Bioplastic Skin”, “HorseHair Project”, and “Just Bones”, offer a different perspective of the materials and environment around us.
Atelier Tobia Zambotti, “Fan Chair”
With a focus on sustainability, Tobia Zambotti’s “Fan Chair” collection gives new life to discarded stadium seating, creating a series of vibrant and colourful chairs from otherwise forgotten plastic. The vibrant colours reflect an 80s mood as well as the electric feel of the sports stadium.
A collaborative project between designers Helga Lára Halldórsdóttir & Marta Heiðarsdóttir, “Pet” is a sensorial installation discussing consumer habits. Their playful take on the theme encourages viewers to consider their relationship with objects and the idea of companionship.
Ýrúrarí, Covid Masks & “Sweater Sauce” Installation
In “Sweater Sauce”, textile designer Ýr Jóhannsdóttir, or Ýrúrarí, works in collaboration with the Red Cross of Iceland with unsellable sweaters that come into their clothing collections. Most of the sweaters have undergone human everyday incidents that leave permanent traces on the fabric, which brings them to the Red Cross clothing collection. Ýr takes unusual approaches in the process of fixing and changing the sweaters in an unsought collaboration with the original sweater designers and former owners and transforms the sweaters into Ýrúrarí kind of sweaters.