regional roundup by 27

regional roundup: iceland (part 1 of 3)

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[Today is the first installment of a new column created by D*S contributing editor, Anne Ditmeyer of Prêt à Voyager. Her love of travel and design has been incredibly inspiring for me and I hope you'll enjoy her new column as much as I have]

When Grace invited me to start my own column, I immediately knew it had to be something than incorporated my two passions: design and travel. As a kid I grew up in DC, Minnesota, Kansas, Idaho and Virginia (now I live in Baltimore), and my college experience was not without a semester in Paris, and a second semester on a ship around the world. There’s no doubt in my mind that each experience has rubbed off on me, and it got me thinking how we are influenced by “place” and where we live.

Each month we will be exploring a new place and looking at the artists who live there and the work they produce. Every installment will feature a different place – US or international, expected or unexpected – where you’ll meet various creatives and see what they have to say about where they live and what inspires them. Who knows, maybe by the end of it, you’ll be on the next plane out of town, or at the minimum it allows us all to travel vicariously for a little bit of our day.

So without future ado, our first (of 3 posts) regional roundup: Iceland. Stay tuned for part 2 next Tuesday to find out more about Iceland (why I chose it to start this column) and about more fabulous artists and designers. Click here for our first batch (or just click “read more” below)! -anne

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Naked Ape and Forynja

1. Where are you from? Where do you live now?
Im from the land of confetti and caviar sometimes called the land of ice and fire. I live in 101 reykjavik.

2. Describe your work
All handprinted. Colorfull. Sometimes over the top color loaded.

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3. How is your work influenced by where you live?
Good friends and especially energetic people inspire me. Emotions and feelings also.

4. Where do you go in Iceland when you want to feel inspired?
Out to sea.

5. How would you describe the Icelandic design scene?
I think it is blossoming like never before, people are so full of energy and creativity, it is endless.

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6. If you could go anywhere where would you go?
To Russia, see polar bears, swim with sharks.

{images: dress from Made in Iceland, Forynja fashions, Iceland Airwaves t-shirt design}

Click here (or on flickr here) to see more.

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Creative Director, Jonsson & Le’Macks

1. Where are you from? Where do you live now?
I live in Reykjavik where I was born.

2. Describe your work?
I am an adman. Its not always creative, but at least its more honest than the artworld.

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3. How is your work influenced by where you live?
People are always the source for any true influence. Our environment is strange but only because all places are strange in their own way. The interesting bit is how the environment shapes the people.

4. Where do you go in Iceland when you want to feel inspired?
The best inspiration is always a family dinner.

5. How would you describe the Icelandic design scene?
Too small. With so few people working, it is too easy to follow the leader and there is not enough reward for taking risks. In other words, original work mostly leads to empty bank accounts.

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6. If you could go anywhere where would you go?
I want to spend a summer on the Crimea with russian mobsters.

{images: 66 North [re]branding (photography by Icelandic photographer Ari Magg), EGG ad, Iceland Airwaves promotional poster}

Click here to see more.

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Thora Breiðfjörð

1. Where are you from? Where do you live now?
I´m from Iceland and I live in Hafnarfjörður which is a small town build in the lava nearby the sea.

2. Describe your work
Someone said that my work could have sprung from Fairy tales I think he might be right. In a way they reflect my inner world who can sometimes be far beyond reality. But in short I look at my work as a unique piece made by hands trying to balance out the mass production of the world.

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3. How is your work influenced by where you live?
Inevitable the nature inspires me because it is STRONG and CLOSE; the heat in the earth and the cold air, the glaciers, the volcanos, the lava, the mountains, the wide open spaces…..

4. Where do you go in Iceland when you want to feel inspired?
Out of town into the wilderness with my sketchbook or I don’nt go anywere just listen to music.

5. How would you describe the Icelandic design scene?
Fresh and Progressive

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6. If you could go anywhere where would you go?
To the East.

{images: flower series porcelain dishes and bowls, porcelain lights}

Click here to see more.

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Aurum

1. Where are you from? Where do you live now?
I am from Isafjörd a town west of Iceland but I am living now in Reykjavík

2. Describe your work
The jewelery pieces are created from precious metals and are modeled in part on nature, with its delicate, irregular shapes that perpetually challenge traditional ideas of balance and form. The Aurum jewelery pieces are rich in detail and finesse and have a light and feminine look while being quintessentially modern.

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3. How is your work influenced by where you live?
Iceland’s exceptional nature. In my latest pieces, I have taken the wild, delicate flowers of the high mountains as my point of departure. I am fascinated by their ability to survive in the harsh natural conditions. The plants contrast sharply with their surroundings. Deep in the grey–green moss, the black sand or among naked slag-heaps of lava they suddenly stand there in tiny groups.

4. Where do you go in Iceland when you want to feel inspired?
To the west part of Iceland Snæfjallaströnd were my family has a summerhouse. A very quiet place with a fantastic nature. I have the glacier, mountain and the sea around me.

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5. How would you describe the Icelandic design scene?
I would say that the Iceland design scene is young but promising in the last years we have got talent full designers showing up.

6. If you could go anywhere where would you go
Cape Town, South Africa

{Images: new work, dogg earrings, pala necklace, helka earrings}

Click here to see more.

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Hélène Magnùsson

1. Where are you from? Where do you live now?
I was born in France, studied law, worked as a lawyer and was utterly bored… In 1995, I went to Iceland on holidays, completely felt in love with the country, resigned from the Bar and moved to Reykjavík where I´ve been living since… until recently: I´m currently living in Luxembourg for a 3 years period because of my Icelandic husband´s job.

2. Describe your work
My work is inspired by old Icelandic handiwork heritage which I try to interpret with great respect and develop in refreshingly innovative ways. I like to knit and I love colors.
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3. How is your work influenced by where you live?
Globalization is motivating people to look for each nations´s distinguishing traits. I´m part of that trend and completely engaged in trying to make something Icelandic, distinguishly Icelandic. This may sound odd coming from a French national but I consider myself as a 100% Icelandic designer. I see my French origins as a strength. It helps me see things with a fresh eye. Who else could get passionnated about forgotten insoles in shoes? My privileged material is the unique Icelandic wool which appears in my work in various forms: knit, felt or drawings of sheep.

4. Where do you go in Iceland when you want to feel inspired?
The Icelandic mountains, the glaciers and the black deserts have nourished me all those years but my regular visits to the National museum or the textile Museum in Blönduós are today more prominent in my work.

5. How would you describe the Icelandic design scene?
Academic design is a new concept here in Iceland, not older than a few years… With barely 300.000 inhabitants, there are mixed feelings about how to approach the work environment. I think that Iceland has the chance to be able to rethink design from the beginning, away from the mass-production contingence. In order to achieve this and because of the geographical status of Iceland, I´m convinced however that we have to look to our roots and respect where we are coming from. (´see, I´m Icelandic designer…)

Things have been going very fast, a design center has been established lately (www.icelanddesign.is), and I think it´s already possible today to grasp the “Icelandic tone.”

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6. If you could go anywhere where would you go?
I would go with my three daughters at the other end of the garden, in an imaginary natural hot spring, it would rain a little, the grass would be so green, the lava so black and the mud so blue and I would find myself a 42 Celsius degrees hot spot because it´s so cold here in Luxembourg…

{images: insoles and rose scarf, The Secret of Good Vinaigrette Revealed to Icelanders [book], Icelandic pattern knitwear (patterns for sale here), felt flower fairy lights}

Click here to see more.

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regional roundup

27 Comments

Lesly

this new section is a wonderful idea! — I’ve been thinking of moving out of nyc… this will help me get all inspired. who knows? — maybe I’ll end up in Iceland?
thank you! :)

megan

grace + anne,

what a great column idea! and anne, congratulations on the “promotion” from intern to contributing editor! yay.

angie

wonderful idea! this was a very enjoyable morning read and it got me inspired for the day. many thanks!

lauren

I’ve been saving up for years for a trip to Iceland, and now I have even more to yearn for – too cruel, Grace and Anne! :)

Any chance we might be seeing an Icelandic *tattoo* artist/designer in installment 2 or 3? I’d love a recommendation, for when I do finally get to go…

Mackenzi

A really (really!) enjoyable new column- I loved every bit of it! You can tell how much thought went into this. Cannot wait to read the rest!!

solaana

I loved Iceland so much, and cannot wait to go back. Yay for this feature!

jennifer g

When is the best time to visit Iceland if you are a girl from the desert?

jennifer in sf

This is a great article, I can’t wait to see the rest! I spent the whole time I was in Iceland cursing the weak dollar (I’m sure it’s even worse now) but they make some GORGEOUS, gorgeous things there.

Jo

A beautifully researched piece ~ thank you muchly. Place is such a personal and spiritual choice, and it was wonderful to hear how it has influenced the work of these talented people. Can’t wait to see the rest! (Oh — and will you do NZ???)

Freydís

For desert girl: I am from Iceland but living in London at the moment. I would say (and many would agree) that the best time to visit IS summer….and then I mean between 15th of June till beginning of august. Then you get the best weather and 24 hour daylight which is awesome.

Harpa

Aaah, so lovely to see this. I agree with Freydís, go in summer, I would say mid June to end of July.
So funny, this is such a small place… I went to college with Viggó and I know that you´ll be doing a piece on one of my closest friends soon. Love it!

sue

this is lovely. looking forward to the next installment :) thank you!

Prêt à Voyager

Thank you for all of the wonderful comments! This piece was such a pleasure for me to work on. I cannot thank the designers enough for their participation and eagerness to help me with my research. It was a true delight and I can’t wait to share the next two posts! :)

Anne

Holly

Fantastic piece. I lived in Iceland for 1 1/2 years 32 years ago and now it lives in me always. It still feeds my head. Thank you.

Laura

I had chance to visit Iceland in February and it was the most beautiful, clean and fresh environment, i’d recommend everyone goes and experiences it for themselves!

Marisa

The best time is from Memorial Day through summer. I’ve been 4 times and I love it more each time. It is so inspiring – nature that is beautiful, but very rough. It just feels clean there – crisp air, etc. It’s expensive, but very worth it.

lizlay

Congrats on the column Anne!
One of the reasons I love Iceland is that it refuses to act small or isolated; it is both. Great work, I look forward to reading the next installments.

Guðrún

it’s good to know that someone is looking into icelandic art and design …:) I’m looking forward to see the rest… :)

Janelle

Congratulations on the new column Anne, and thanks for giving us a heads up about it. :)

james Draper

And the home of Snorri Sturlason who compiled the Heismkringla saga …

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