From Iceland — The Reykjavík Grapevine Design Awards 2020

The Reykjavík Grapevine Design Awards 2020

The Reykjavík Grapevine Design Awards 2020

Published June 19, 2020

Poppy Askham
Photo by
The designers/DesignMarch

Times like these call for creative thinking and the ability to adapt—two qualities arguably best found in the design community. From leading the way in innovation of sustainable materials, to radically rethinking household items, the winners of this year’s design awards have proved that they have their gaze firmly fixed on the future. 

As ever, the huge array of exciting projects launched this year by Icelandic designers has made our judges’ lives very difficult, but after careful deliberation and heavy debate, here it is – the long-awaited Reykjavík Grapevine Design Awards: 


Nordic Angan 

Fragrance experts Sonja Bent and Elín Hrund bring Iceland’s forests into the home via what is essentially an enormous essential oil diffuser. Judges sang the praises of Nordic Angan, explaining that “an experience in the aroma shower activates the senses,” immersing users in the freshness of Icelandic nature. The aroma shower is inspired by the Japanese concept of ‘shinrin-yoku’ or ‘forest bathing,’ popularised in the 1980s and said to have numerous healing properties. It’s the product for 2020, the unofficial year of self-care (because let’s face it there’s not much else to do).


Blue/White Knock Down
Örn Duvald


“Sustainable thinking at all levels, from selection of material, to space savings in transport, to user-friendly composition,” said one judge. Blue/White Knock Down are self-assembly chairs made out of compressed sheets of end of life cotton. Örn Duvald’s ethical production values and ability to transform recycled materials into functional yet eminently stylish pieces of furniture wowed the judges. Watch out, IKEA.


Face Filter
Digital Sigga

Sigríður Birna Matthíasdóttir’s project is a thoughtful meditation on the influence of social media on our perception of ourselves and those around us. She powerfully explores the distorted view of the world promoted on platforms like Instagram. As the judges put it, her work encapsulates “a digital world where the boundary between virtual reality and ‘real’ reality are becoming increasingly blurred.”



Studio Flétta

Yesterday’s participation award is today’s stylish new table. Studio Flétta takes long-forgotten trophies off dust-covered shelves to transform them into, well, shelves in their exciting homeware line. “It’s always great when the upcycled material looks better after then before the reuse,” said judges.


Corrugation Lights
Theodóra Alfreðsdóttir and Tino Seubert

This exciting collaboration draws on mid-century furniture design and the technique of veneer forming, to create bold lighting products, from hanging light panels to wall sconces. Fun and functional, these lights really impressed the judges.


Upcycled Textile Collection



Arnar Már Jónsson (Machine-A)

Combining a neutral colour palette with practical designs, Arnar Már Jónsson’s sophisticated, modern menswear caught the panel’s eye. One judge described his work as a “strong and carefully crafted line,” praising Arnar’s interesting choices of material. He brings specialised fabrics and structural elements from activewear into his designs to ensure his garments are suitable for Iceland’s harsh climate.


The Wanderer
Hildur Yeoman

Mainstay of the Icelandic fashion scene, Hildur Yeoman’s Wanderer collection went down a storm. The eye-catching designs feature fresh pastel shades with jewel-toned accents and beach-inspired prints. “Hildur continues to build her universe and adds new and great pieces,” one judge concluded.



Amen is “full of humour, but it’s not a joke,” according to the panel. Eygló Margrét Lárusdóttir’s rebellious collection oozes character. The designs are well-thought-out and wearable for all occasions but retain a crucial playfulness.



“Simplicity, humour and a die-hard love for the outside world” underline Usee’s work, one judge noted. A strong environmentalist streak runs through their designs, inspiring interesting material choices and informing the studio’s commercial ethics. Panellists can’t wait to see how their interesting ideas develop.


Björn Steinar

Björn Steinar has won over the judges for a second year in a row. Eco-conscious as ever, Björn’s new furniture collection showcases Icelandic wood whilst focusing on the industry’s sustainability.  Informed by an impressive two years of research and development conducted in collaboration with the Icelandic forestry sector, his designs are thoughtful yet simple, embodying “Icelandic countryside chic” according to the panel.


Yuzu – Haf Studio

Come to Yuzu for the Japanese burgers, stay for the aesthetically pleasing interiors. Haf Studio drew on Nordic and Japanese aesthetics to create a welcoming open-plan dining venue, complete with eye-catching seating and a transparent yellow glass kitchen at its centre. Judges enjoyed the collaboration of different talents and described the restaurant’s atmosphere as “exciting and relaxing at the same time.”


Melur Mathús

Be prepared to wow all you meet with your horticultural knowledge after visiting the Melur Kitchen. In this unique dining experience, all five senses are engaged to fully acquaint visitors with the wonders of the Melur grass. The designers behind this project pay homage to the full wonders of this resilient plant that somehow manages to thrive amid Iceland’s black sands.


Thanks to our panel:

Valur Grettisson / Editor-in-Chief – The Reykjavík Grapevine, chairman of the panel

Garðar Eyjólfsson / Director of Studies MA Design, Associate Professor

María Kristín Jónsdóttir / Editor-in-Chief – HA Design Magazine

Stefán Svan / Co-owner  of Stefánsbúð/p3

Sara Jónsdóttir / former director of DesignMarch


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