Design Spring in Iceland

A long-cherished dream of Icelandic designers and architects has become a reality with the foundation of the Iceland Design Centre. The foundation of the Iceland Design Centre is one feature of the flourishing of Icelandic design today. This is largely attributable to the establishment of the Iceland Academy of the Arts in 1998, and shortly afterwards its Faculty of Architecture and Design, which has produced designers whose influences are closer to Icelandic reality than previous generations, who studied abroad. Thus Icelandic design has been developing a clearer identity and establishing a unique character because, while design has some history in Icelandic society, Icelandic design training is new. So Iceland now has an abundance of promising young Icelandic designers, who have imbued the design environment with new life, characterised by curiosity, optimism and daring. One of the principal objectives of the Iceland Design Centre is, accordingly, to create an image and a unique status for Icelandic design, to nurture innovation, and to promote devel- opment in Icelandic design.

Iceland Design Centre

The purpose of the Iceland Design Centre is to achieve more appreciation of the importance of good design and architecture for society. Its role is to promote design of all kinds as a vital and profitable aspect of the Icelandic economy, and thus to enhance competitiveness and economic gain.


  • The Design Centre is a centre for promoting design and architecture in Iceland.
  • The Design Centre emphasises the importance of design in the culture and image of Iceland and the Icelanders.
  • The Design Centre publicises outstanding Icelandic design abroad, and strives to contribute to its marketing.
  • The Design Centre facilitates access to information, and maintains an extensive on-line database for designers, architects, businesses and individuals interested in Icelandic design.


  • The Design Centre collaborates with other bodies working to promote design in Iceland, seeks to establish links between different fields of design, and encourages collaboration and debate.


  • The Design Centre offers consultancy for designers and businesses with respect to product development, production, image creation and export.
  • The Design Centre supports and assists the promotion of businesses, such as start-up and innovative businesses which have limited funding and expertise to promote themselves. The Design Centre provides consultancy to businesses and other organisations on design-related projects.


  • The Design Centre brings together professional designers and businesses in innovative and product-development projects.
  • The Design Centre promotes research and design-related projects in collaboration with universities and businesses.


  • The Design Centre organises events, exhibitions and conferences which are conducive to professional debate and learning in the field of design.

Design is a resource

There are many signs that the Icelandic economy finds itself at a crossroads of new opportunities and directions. Design is a resource, and it is vital to make use of it. The highest-achieving nations place great emphasis on design in product development and marketing, and see good design as one of their most effective tools in a climate of growing competition. Research carried out in Britain shows that the cost of design, as against other production factors, is relatively low; and that, of individual production tasks, design yields the biggest return.

Iceland has many well-qualified designers and architects, who have studied both in Iceland and elsewhere. It is of great importance for Icelandic society that the expertise, training and talent of these people be put to good use. Design is relevant in all sectors of the economy, from construction, production, the fisheries, tourism and food production to services and the knowledge industry. And design is not confined to Icelandic applications; expertise can also be exported. The importance of increasing the role of design in the Icelandic economy is thus obvious.

The Iceland Design Centre

is owned by the Association of Icelandic Architects, the Icelandic Society of Furniture and Interior Architects, the Federation of Icelandic Landscape Architects, the Association of Icelandic Product and Industrial Designers, the Icelandic Association of Ceramic Artists, the Association of Icelandic Fashion Designers, the Icelandic Textile Guild, the Icelandic Goldsmith ́s Association and the Association of Icelandic Graphic Designers.

The Iceland Design Centre

is funded by the Ministry of Education and Culture and the Ministry of Industry.

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In May 2011 a report was published on the economic impact of the creative industries in Iceland.The report is now available in English here.