I went to Iceland looking for fabulous design, and I found it just not in the places I expected. Although I couldn’t find any museums or galleries devoted to contemporary Icelandic design, it seemed like good design surrounded me everywhere I went: in the smallest details of every drinking fountain I encountered to numerous houses and public buildings around Reykjavik.
From the moment I arrived at Keflavik airport (shown above), Iceland’s unique take on minimalist Scandinavian design was on display everywhere I went:
Something that I particularly noticed was the fact that virtually every drinking fountain I came across in Iceland was very designed. There were no run-of-the-mill drinking fountains like you typically find in the U.S. Every drinking fountain I came across seemed to be intent on taking drinking-fountain-ness to the next level.
The Icelandic design sense seemed to permeate every detail of public space. Countless buildings I came across utilized volcanic rock as both a material and a design motif.
Although I didn’t come across much Icelandic product design in Reykjavik, a quick internet search dug up some quirky Icelandic designers.
Olafur Omarsson, a student at the Icelandic Academy of Arts, makes inspired wooden furniture, like this bike rack and bookshelves.
Ragnheieur esp Sigureardettir, another Icelandic Academy of Arts student, reinterprets the craft of embroidery with this supercute wool thingy, and a line of classic IKEA stools that have been deconstructed / indivualized with unique embroidery patterns.
Sesselja Guemundsdottir gives a new twist to the familiar wool cap, by knitting them into shapes reminiscent of medieval viking helmets.