DesignTalks 2014 Dealing with Reality
Thursday, March 27, 9.30–16
Norðurljós, Harpa

DesignMarch opens with DesignTalks, a day of talks by leading international design thinkers.

DesignTalks 2014 Dealing with Reality bring together international designers, architects and leaders from the creative industries to explore designers and architects as visionaries, strategists and future thinkers when addressing real world challenges in different contexts.

Speakers are Calvin Klein, fashion designer and founder of Calvin Klein Inc; Mikael Schiller, executive chairman of Acne Studios; Robert Wong, chief creative officer or the Google Creative Lab; Kathryn Firth, chief of design at London Legacy Corporation and Marco Steinberg, managing director of Snowcone & Haystack and former director of strategic design at Helsinki Design Lab.

DesignTalks 2014 will approach the theme from different perspectives, featuring talks and discussions on collaborations by design, on the ability of creating strategies for rebuilding cities and implementing them, altering institutional cultures, inventing systems, creating and envisioning brands, inventing new technologies and making use of it. The speakers also imagine alternative futures whilst embracing and taking advantage of uncertainty and driving change in unexpected contexts and collaborations.

DesignTalks 2014 are curated by Hlín Helga Guðlaugsdóttir, designer, curator and teacher at Konstfack, University College of Arts, Crafts and Design in Stockholm, Sweden.

Tickets are available online via and

Here is the complete schedule for the day:

9.30 Stephan Sigrist and Hlín Helga Guðlaugsdóttir | Opening

Stephan Sigrist is the founder of W.I.R.E., a Zurich-based think tank that encourages interdisciplinary cooperation between theory and praxis. Sigrist moderates the DesignTalks 2014 together with Hlin Helga Guðlaugsdóttir.
Hlín Helga Guðlaugsdóttir a designer, curator and teacher at Konstfack, University College of Arts, Crafts and Design in Stockholm, Sweden. She is the curator of DesignTalks 2014.

10.00 Marco Steinberg | Government – Copy the past or design the future?

Marco Steinberg is an architect, former Professor at Harvard University and Director of Strategic Design at Helsinki Design Lab and founder and managing director of Snowcone & Haystack. An respected consultant with clients such as the Finnish government, Steinberg will speak about strategic design and design in non-design environments such as governmental institutions.

10.20 Kathryn Firth | The Olympic Legacy – From Urban surgery to a Piece of City

Kathryn Firth is an Urban Designer and Chief of Design London Legacy Development Corporation. is the Chief of Design at the London Legacy Development Corporation. She will speak about the redesign of the Olympic Park in London and its’ adjacent communities, implementation of the design strategy and design for inclusion.

10.40 Kathryn Firth and Marco Steinberg in conversation

11.30 Speed Dating the Future

Lead by Stephan Sigrist, founder of the Swiss Think Tank W.I.R.E.

12.00 Lunch

Lunch is served in Eyri in front of the Norðurljós hall at Harpa.

13.00 Robert Wong
| Invent the Future
Design and and technology have a lot in common. They are both highly creative endeavors. They both add beauty to our lives. They both make visible what, without its creator, the world might never see. Robert Wong is the Chief Creative Officer of Google Creative Lab.

14.00 Mikael Schiller

Michael Schiller is the Executive Chairman of the Acne Studios, a company that journeyed from the verge of bankruptcy in 2001 to a renowned pop culture phenomenon with annual global sales of some 1 billion SEK. Mikael will speak about the challenges of merging art and commerce and trying to build a global high-end fashion house from remote Stockholm, Sweden.

14.30 Calvin Klein

Calvin Klein is one of the world’s leading Fashion Designers and the Founder of Calvin Klein Inc. He will speak about his strategies through the different phases of his career and collaborations across disciplines.

16.00 The End

For more information on DesignTalks, see here. Also listen to previous years' DesignTalks in our Vimeo and see the atmosphere captured by photographer Hulda Sif in our blog.

DesignTalks is the signature event of DesignMarch. It is produced by the festival organizer Iceland Design Centre in collaboration with the Embassy of the United States in Reykjavik, Iceland.