Iceland’s DesignMarch: Highlights From 2020’s Remote Festival

Repurposed stadium seating, lighting inspired by volcanic landscapes and a museum dedicated to the natural scents of Iceland

Another remote event during the worldwide pandemic, DesignMarch (usually held annually in Reykjavík, Iceland) existed as a surprisingly engaging and beautiful website this year. Visitors were able to soak up all the dynamic sights, shapes and colors—albeit virtually—from the designers involved. Of course, we’d love to see (and touch) many pieces in the flesh, but it was difficult not to find joy online. Here we have selected some festival highlights that we can’t wait to gaze upon in the real world.

Carissa Baktay

Calgary-based Carissa Baktay showed a collection of lighting that was created at Iceland’s only glass-blowing studio and brought together the colors of the country’s seasonal changes for a delicious feast for the eyes. From her summer-themed Pill series to Basalt and Máni—which is inspired by rugged volcanic landscapes—Baktay’s lighting proves itself to be fully functional artwork. The seemingly simple shapes juxtapose the immense amount of energy used in their creation and the drama of their inspiration.

ÞYKJÓ

A collaborative effort between theater artist and designer Sigríður Sunna Reynisdóttir, fashion and textile designer Tanja Huld Levý Guðmundsdóttir and toy designer and illustrator Ninna Þórarinsdóttir, ÞYKJÓ (pronounced thick-yo) is a collection of costumes and masks for kids. The trio crafted this world of wearables in order to grow awareness around the environment,  and animals. Inspired by crustaceans that can make their home anywhere, The Shell is a safe place for hiding or nesting. The Love Bird—a colorful, extravagant costume—encourages kids to let go, perform and embrace the silly and outrageous.

Plastplan + Bjorn Steinar

Reykjavik’s Plastplan (a plastic recycling center and design studio) looks to close the loop in Iceland’s use of consumer plastics and offers real insight into the complexities of recycling the material. Working with designer Bjorn Steinar, Plastplan displayed relatively typical products created with recycled plastics. The aim of the “mundane innovation” was to show the regular reuse of regenerated plastics, an everyday material with sustainable potential if we do the work efficiently.

Tobia Zambotti

For his Fan Chair, designer Tobia Zambotti took discarded seats from the refurbishment of the KR Reykjavik football stadium and gave them new life as bar stools and chairs. Colorful, playful and bold, this collection is extra charming by way of the scars of countless emotional matches.

Nordic Angan

This year’s DesignMarch was also the platform for the grand opening of Nordic Angan (aka The Icelandic Herbal Fragrance Library). A labor of love, the library is the work of Elín Hrund Þórgeirsdóttir and Sonja Bent, who have spent years strategically wandering the island of Iceland to distill and capture the scents found in nature for others to experience. The library is open to all visitors and is located in Mosfellsbær—about seven miles from Reykjavík.

Images courtesy of respective designers