A Buffet of Quality Icelandic Designs - The Reykjavik Grapevine

A Buffet of Quality Icelandic Designs

A Buffet of Quality Icelandic Designs

Published October 6, 2007

The interior design exhibition and trade show ‘Home and Design’ takes place for the second time at the new Laugardalshöll Hall, October 19 – 21. As part of the three-day design fiesta this year, a special area inside the Laugardalshöll showroom will be dedicated to Icelandic contemporary design. The space, entitled ‘Brum,’ will feature designs by approximately 30 local designers who get the opportunity to introduce their products to the public, shop owners and production companies. Unlike most design exhibitions, all the products will also be for sale.

Brum is a collaborative project between Iceland Design Forum (Hönnunarvettvangur) and Iceland Convention Event Management (Íslandsmót) who got the brilliant idea to turn the space into a small shop. The designers Guðfinna Mjöll Magnúsdóttir and Brynhildur Pálsdóttir were hired as curators and shop managers and are now busy designing the space, collecting new designs and creating a unique treasure chest for selective shoppers.

Designers Premiere Unique Products
The shop, which will only be open for three days, features various designs by both up-and-coming and established local designers. The idea is to present a unique buffet of new and fresh designs where guests can find everything from accessories to household tools and decorative items. Guests can view a diverse selection and if they happen to see something they like, they get the opportunity to buy the items on the spot.

“I don’t think that there has ever been an exhibition like this one in Iceland which also is a shop. That’s very exciting,” says Brynhildur and adds that most of the products they picked out will be available for the first time this particular weekend. For the occasion, some of the designers will also introduce brand-new products the public has never seen before. These include kitchen utensils by Ragnheiður Tryggvadóttir, a new porcelain collection by Katrín Pétursdóttir, handbags by Hrafnhildur Guðrúnardóttir and handmade headpieces by Thelma Björk Jónsdóttir, who premieres her summer 2008 collection at Brum, which she designed in collaboration with Hrafnhildur Guðrúnardóttir. For the first time in Iceland, Brum will also sell new Icelandic fonts designed by Gunnar Þór Vilhjálmsson, ready to be installed on the computer.

“We wanted to create a very special atmosphere and an interesting experience for the guests. We carefully choose all the items and want people to enjoy browsing through the selection and at the same time understand that Icelandic designs are quality products and totally unique,” says Guðfinna. Both she and Brynhildur will work in the shop and assist everyone who wants to take a look around or do some shopping. “I think it is very important that the customers can get to know the designer who designed the product they want to buy. Get to know all the background, what fabrics were used and what inspired the designer when creating the product. As we picked out all the items ourselves we know the whole history,” she adds.

New Opportunities for the Industry
Although Icelandic designers are growing in number and the market for Icelandic design geting bigger, they tell me it hasn’t been easy to find enough products to fill the shop. “This is a tricky and challenging project because a very small part of Icelandic design is actually in production,” Guðfinna explains and continues: “Hopefully this will soon change and Icelandic design made more accessible to the public. There are so many great things going on today and several companies could work closely with Icelandic designers and benefit from such cooperation. Brum is supposed to be an encouragement for that to happen.”

When asked why such a small part of Icelandic design is produced, Brynhildur says: “It is both an expensive and time consuming process. The market is small, the environment is unfavourable and designers don’t have many production companies to choose from.” They furthermore say that an exhibition like this one will undoubtedly have a significant meaning for local designers and can hopefully create new opportunities.

“Production companies and shop owners can view new products, get in contact with the designers and perhaps get the products in production. That’s the goal. At the same time Brum will also show what is going on in Icelandic design today,” Brynhildur explains. Although the market in Iceland is still relatively small, they say that the industry gets bigger every year and a growing number of designers can today design for a living. “We of course think that design can be a much bigger part of the Icelandic economy in the future. An exhibition like Brum is supposed to motivate designers and urge them to make things become a reality. The opportunities are endless and they can be found everywhere. It’s only a question about how they are used,” Guðfinna adds.

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