Time Capsule: The Nordic House - The Reykjavik Grapevine

Time Capsule: The Nordic House

Time Capsule: The Nordic House

Published October 19, 2017

Charley Ward
Photos by
Art Bicnick

While Iceland’s traditional turf houses have their own special charm, if you fancy admiring some really great architecture, pay a visit to Reykjavík’s Nordic House. Designed by Finnish modernist Alvar Aalto and built in 1968, it stands proudly as the only edifice in Iceland designed by an internationally acclaimed architect. While it’s not one of Aalto’s more famous works, all of his trademark design elements are nevertheless on display—from the pop of blue on the ceramic roof to the use of slatted wooden panels curving smoothly along the walls—and he designed the furniture inside too. This little cultural gem is a true celebration of all things Nordic, featuring a library with books in seven nordic languages, an award-winning restaurant serving New Nordic cuisine, a Nordic design shop and a diverse range of cultural event listings. In the summer, you can even have a tour of the place from the man Alvar himself, if you feel like it. (Okay, it’s an actor, but still.)

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