And look cool to all your friends
To make Icelandic design more accessible to worldwide shoppers, two local pioneers with an eye for quality products, Kjartan Sturluson and Ingvi Þór Guðmundsson, recently opened a new design store on the Internet. The store is entitled Birkiland and stocks a nice selection of Icelandic designs, including various accessories, organic toys, decorative items for the home and books on architecture, food and photography. A great variety of cool gift items as a ‘virtue blanket,’ Tim Burton inspired jewellery hangers, Volcanic Ash Notepads and Rose-patterned food cutters are for sale and, as the site evolves, fresh new items will be added to the store. The site also includes useful information about the designers and their products.
The reason for opening the website they say is the enormous growth they’ve seen in Icelandic design in recent years, with new designers gaining attention locally and internationally. To meet the increased interest, the webstore was established to be a platform for designers who can present and sell their products and in the meantime promote Icelandic design around the world.
Today, 15 designers sell their products on Birkiland, both new graduates as well as prominent designers with years of experience in the business. Asked how they are selected, Ingvi Þór replies that it is partly a matter of taste but that they choose carefully what they think suits the store. “We want to offer cutting-edge designs and include young designers. We plan to add more names to the list and activate graphic designers and fashion designers as well. Now we are studying the market and looking at the grassroots,” he says. “We get lots of visits each day and numerous blogs around the world have written about the store. That’s of course the best advertisement you get.”
Offering Icelandic design on the web isn’t their only goal as the plan is to operate short-term stores that offer Icelandic designs, exhibitions and events. “The stores will move around and only be open for a week or maybe just over one weekend. We plan to start this in July, maybe on Laugavegur, but an exact location hasn’t been decided yet,” Ingvi Þór explains. With this new business, those interested in designs can have easy access to the Icelandic creativity wherever they are in the world. Check out the selection at www.birkiland.is.
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