Now in its 15th year, Iceland’s DesignMarch highlighted the country’s creative and ever-growing design scene. While the festival’s opening day of DesignTalks looked at the current and future projects taking shape globally, the rest is a chance for local Icelandic designers to showcase innovative new product launches that focus on Icelandic style and sustainability
66°North x Charlie Constantinou
Icelandic outdoor clothing brand 66°North has breathed new life into its archive collection through a collaboration with Central Saint Martin alum Charlie Constantinou. The heritage label has tapped the young designer and his adept fabric dyeing skills to rework deadstock fabrics into a 15-piece collection that showcases the brand’s sustainability ethos. After looking to past collections for inspiration on cut and shape, Constantinou overdyed his chosen textiles to mirror the natural hues of the Icelandic landscape and added reflective properties that cause the technical fabrics to change both colour and pattern under bright light. The contemporary yet functional collection was presented during the festival a couple of weeks after launching exclusively at 66°North’s new Regent St address and will later be made available online at SSENSE.com and 66north.com.
Circulus by studio miklo
Studio miklo founders Helga Björk Ottósdóttir and Hjördís Gestsdóttir describe their Circulus collection of lighting as “sculptures with a purpose.” Thanks to their backgrounds in the fashion and textile industriess, the duo were inspired to use leftover fabrics destined for landfills to create the paper used to make each lamp’s “shade”, which is rolled up and held up by a circle of baked clay. Rather than coat the clay with a traditional glaze, the pair experimented with applying local Icelandic materials such as sand, which is rubbed into the raw clay before it is baked to leave a more earthy, textured finish.
Bespoke rugs by Lilý Erla Adamsdóttir
After previously designing and making wall hangings Lilý Erla Adamsdóttir set out to take “an artistic approach” to rugs, debuting her first collection at DesignMarch. Lying somewhere between decorative artwork and practical homeware, each rug is inspired by the colours of Iceland, think shades of moss, heather, and grey, and handmade by Lily from 100 percent Icelandic wool. Only seven rugs will be made in each of the Wilderness, Wetland and Reflecting Pond designs, because “seven is a beautiful number”, with each rug taking between five and seven days to finish. A collection of smaller-sized rugs, appropriately named “Stepping Stones”, are designed to be placed beside the bed and playfully feel as though you are stepping out onto Iceland basalt and crystal.
URÐ x LÓN
Soap and skincare brand URÐ used DesignMarch to unveil a collection of soap dishes designed in collaboration with ceramicist Antonía Berg. Named LÓN (‘lagoon’ in English), in reference to the “lagoon-like puddle” which is made by wet soap sitting on the dish, each of the dishes has been crafted from Icelandic clay, a mineral-rich ingredient also used by URÐ’s founder Erla in her natural skincare range. The range brings together the pair’s love of natural clay together in two different but complementary forms to make the perfect home for Erla’s sculptural, rock-shaped soaps. Although the dishes are still in the prototype stage for now, Erla is hoping that they will be available online by summer.
LIGHT AND COLOUR x NYC by Eva Thorens
After working as a fashion textile designer for major houses, where the focus was always on patterns, prints, and florals, Eva Thorens has taken a more minimalist approach to her homeware collection. After experimenting with different materials, Thorens found that resin held the perfect properties for creating her vibrant collection of coasters, napkin rings, platters, and small sculptures. After pouring the honey-like resin into a mold, where it dries hard in the desired shape, Thorens sands each object by hand to give it a leather-like, premium quality finish and a translucency that allows the light to shine through. Each piece is made in limited quantities and designed to be both a decorative addition to the home as well as a functional item that improves with age and can be re-buffed with just a little olive oil to bring back the original shine.
Senshoku by Atelier Sigmundur P. F.
After two years in Kyoto learning the ancient art of Japanese natural dyeing, Sigmundur Páll Freysteinsson has returned to Iceland and launched his first clothing collection under his multidisciplinary design studio, Atelier Sigmundur P. F. Each piece is custom-made for the client, with Freysteinsson explaining that, “I go through every part of the process myself to try and make every step of the process as sustainable as I can.” The designer creates the soft hues of his natural dyes using locally sourced materials such as leaves, flowers, roots, and barks, and favours simple cuts to allow the colour and prints to be the focus of each garment. Each piece is designed to be worn for years to come, and will slowly develop new shades and texture as the natural colour ages.
Homeware label Folk showcased a number of new sustainable-driven products at DesignMarch, notably the Living Objects collection by Ólína Rögnudóttir and the innovative Airbag from Studio Flétta. Living Objects is a minimalist multifunctional homeware range of stone blocks, made from leftovers sourced from Portuguese stone makers, which can be placed alone, aside, or stacked together and used to hold flowers, candles, or whatever else the user might imagine. Similarly, the unique Airbag collection of cushions, which have been made from the robust – and surprisingly pretty – pastel-coloured materials of deployed airbags can be used in a variety of ways, whether in the living room, kids’ bedroom, yoga studio, or even garden.