When Grapevine heard of this we immediately caught up with the alleged operator of the festival, Greipur Gíslason, down at the Icelandic Design Centre. Gíslason emphasized from the very beginning the he was in no understanding a “front” of the festival, but a humble servant behind the curtains. “From March 26th the 29th there will be a gigantic design party all around town, and every empty window in the midtown area will be filled with design goods,” Gíslason explained. He stressed that although the festival consists mostly of unknown designers showing their work in small boutiques, there will also a few bigger names attending and commercial malls Kringlan and Smáralind participate.
Debunking the commercial factor
But where did the idea come from? Grapevine found out that in previous years a similar festival bearing the name “Design Days” had been thrown a few times, but with a totally different format. The venue wasn’t various boutiques and cafés around the city, but instead the gigantic sport hall Laugardalshöll. So you could say they’re debunking the commercial factor this time and the festival’s morphing into a replica of Iceland Airwaves and Culture Night. And if it’s being categorized with festivals such as the aforementioned, the foreign press must follow. Gíslason cleared that up: “We’re expecting about 30 foreign journalists and photographers, so it sure will be crowded!”. And who knows, maybe DesignMarch will obtain a status as the coolest long-weekend design festival on the annual calendar?
Custom made pavilion
There are a few Icelandic expats returning home for the event, one of those is Arnaldur Schram, an accomplished architect stationed in New York City. His plan is to build a pavilion in Reykjavík Sheriff’s Garden, solely made of aluminum plates, cut using laser technique. At first sight this seems to be quite an expensive project but Arnaldur explained that both Geislatækni and SindraStál, who produce and cut the aluminum, donated their work and products, “I was simply flabbergasted when it went through, and without their generous donations this wouldn’t have been possible. The building itself will be completely custom made, i.e. no piece will be identical. So it really is a mixture between a gazebo and a sculpture.” Arnaldur is looking for volunteers; so whether you’re a student or unemployed, contact the Icelandic Design Centre if you want to lend a hand.
The festivals schedule will be diverse and it offers events such as lectures on design and architecture, graphic and industrial design exhibition, movie screenings and guided tours.