Theresa Himmer

Theresa Himmer has in recent years been diligent in bringing new perspectives on the urban environment to Reykjavík people. The “waterfall” which flows down walls on Bankastræti, and the “glacier” that rises over Klapparstígur in downtown Reykjavík open a gap of unexpectedness, and constantly surprise the passer-by with their interplay with the weather, light and the everyday.

Theresa revels in the gap between opposites: she seeks to challenge received perspectives and open up the possibility of endless perspectives.  Living as she does in Iceland, Theresa may be said to be living in her own “gap,” as she studied architecture in Denmark and New York. In her final project from the School of Architecture in Århus she dealt with the meeting of opposites in a certain district of New York.

Theresa has been keeping busy; after working at Studio Granda since 2006, she decided last winter to go out on her own, due to her interest in more collaboration with a wide range of professionals in design, architecture and art.Her projects include designing the exhibition 8+8 MADE IN HAFNARFJÖRÐUR,  the design of an exhibition stand for Icelandic exhibitors at the 100% design show in Tokyo, work on row houses at Elliðavatn and a semi-detached house at Úlfarsfell in collaboration with architect Kristján Eggertsson; in addition, she is working on further sequin designs like Waterfall and Glacier.

Theresa has her studio at Seljavegur 2 in Reykjavík, along with other designers and architects.

Theresa answers the Design Centres questionnaire:

The motivation?
The desire and internal need for taking part in having an influence on the world (hopefully in a positive way) – the desire to create  wonder, and to enrich.

The process?
The process is part and parcel of each project – in my case that always involves a clear study, sketch work and… apart from that, projects seem to have a way of appearing in the most unexpected gaps in the everyday – where you let go. I consciously try to be very open to such conditions, and create a space for them to happen.

The vision?
I am interested in challenging how we perceive our surroundings – and thus in some way to make pockets, or rifts, in conventional definitions, which can then be filled with new meanings. This can appear in many different stages or layers. Anything from working with buildings and objects, where it can entail using familiar materials, or a certain construction technique, in an unexpected context – to large installations in public spaces, such as the mountain series (Waterfall and Glacier). In that project I aim to create a moment of magic in the ordinary environment – both through the choice of sequins as a material, and also through the choice of a motif which asks questions about the conventional definition of the city as being the opposite of nature.

Does design matter?
Yes, if the design is good – otherwise not. The fact that something is designed is no hallmark of quality.

What makes something into good design?
The concept of “design” does not only apply to beautiful furniture, goods and garments which can be bought in design shops. Design applies just as much to innovation and professionalism, which is used to develop a sensor for land-mines, a new marketing concept for a trademark, or the best ever dentist’s chair – just to place the concept in a broader context. Good design is most likely when every aspect of a certain project within a certain field are lifted up in unity. For instance, a product that works perfectly in certain circumstances can be useless in others. For that reason “good” is a relative concept, depending upon the context of the product or the project. Having said that, I myself often fall for design that is poetical or humorous – or both.

What’s most interesting at present?
The way that downtown Reykjavík is going to develop in the coming years, especially the area around Laugavegur and Hverfisgata, and the area around the new concert hall.

The design of all time?
The Zeppelin airship – to me, it’s an example of something both poetic and humorous. Bizarre and exotic, and at the same time incredibly impressive and elegant. And I also think there’s something beautiful about the way it moved so slowly.

Photos of Theresa’s work: photographer Gunnar Þór Andrésson.