Designing An Experience - The Reykjavik Grapevine

Designing An Experience

Designing An Experience

Published March 21, 2012

Snoop-Around visits Hafsteinn Júlíusson of HAF

Main photo by
Nanna Dís

Snoop-Around visits Hafsteinn Júlíusson of HAF

HAF is displaying The Wheel of Nutrition at DesignMarch. The Wheel, which is designed by HAF and Rui Pereira, is an archetype of a ceramic plate enhanced with explanatory graphics and distinctive colours. The idea is to remind people about the fundamental values of nutrition through the plate’s design. The plate is produced in three sizes, Diet, Extraordinary and Supersize, which are meant to correspond to people’s different nutritional needs. We met with Director of HAF Hafsteinn Júlíusson to learn a little bit more about the product.

When did you start HAF and how did it evolve to where it is now?

I started the HAF project when I graduated in 2008 with a BA in product design. Shortly after my graduation my designs were published internationally and I got a lot of positive feedback. After I finished my Master’s studies in January 2010, I decided to make a company of it to follow up on all the attention I got, but I´ve also always been fascinated by things like branding in product design and such.

The team consists of family and friends, which makes the company more personal. My father is the company’s general manager, my wife, Karitas Sveinsdóttir, who is an interior designer, works closely with me and approves the designs before we move to the final stage of our product production, and my best friend Daníel Ólafsson, who is educated in business, does the sales and marketing. 

Wheel -  fc9d33a49451e055.jpg

Tell me about The Wheel of Nutrition that you are showcasing at DesignMarch this year… 

I was having beers with Rui Pereira, a classmate from design studies in Milano, when we got the idea for The Wheel of Nutrition. We thought the idea had to exist somewhere in the world, so we googled it. But nobody had produced this concept so we had to do it!

The Wheel of Nutrition very much embodies our motto that design is health and environmentalism and that people can have a positive experience with the things we make. The product itself has to have some kind of message. I am not going to design and produce a new chair, just to make a new chair. There are already so many good chairs in the world. The reason for designing a product is important.

So, are you a health junkie yourself? 

Well not exactly. I am not a vegetarian or a passionate environmentalist myself. 

But we are reminding people about issues tied to health and the environment through the products that we design. We are also producing experiences in our design projects, not only materialistic things. I’m very interested in the idea of experiencing things. 

Do you think it’s important to understand the story behind the design?

Well, it’s important to think about stories and how the products are presented. Our products, for example, do not have the same elements—each product is unique. There is no particular style, which becomes a style; you know what I mean? My design is about the concept behind the products and experiences that I design. We can’t be caught up in the Ikea development, where everyone has to buy the same thing. But that’s a story for another interview.

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