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Icelandic Contemporary Design | Helsinki

The exhibition Icelandic Contemporary Design features Icelandic furniture, product design and architecture. It paints a picture of a design nation in the making, spotlighting the characteristics of contemporary Icelandic design.

The exhibition also marks a year of collaboration between Icelandic designers and World Design Capital Helsinki 2012.

Icelandic Contemporary Design addresses current themes in the Icelandic society, be it sustainability, hectic everyday life or the natural forces of the volcanic island:
  • Landslag’s Avalanche Barriers protect the small town of Siglufjördur
  • Young, upcoming designer Thorunn Arnadottir’s Sasa clock doubles as a necklace
  • Berlin-based Hrafnkell Birgisson creates tableware of recycled coffee cups and saucers (Hoch die Tassen and Hoch die Teller).

During the exhibition, the Design Forum Finland shop will feature a selection of Icelandic design.

Icelandic Contemporary Design was initially introduced in 2009, and has since been exhibited in Reykjavik, Iceland; Copenhagen, Denmark (Dansk Design Center);Shanghai (EXPO 2010) and Beijing (Notch 10) in China; Stockholm Design Week (Stockholm Furniture Fair) in Sweden and in Tallinn (Estonian Museum of Applied Art and Design), Estonia. Design Forum Finland will be the exhibition’s final stop.

The exhibition was curated by design historian Elísabet V. Ingvarsdóttir and produced by Iceland Design Centre. Both Mrs. Ingvarsdóttir and director Halla Helgadóttir of Iceland Design Centre will be present at the opening.

The exhibition is intended to mirror quality in Icelandic design in recent years, according to various definitions where good ideas evolved, due to professional ambition, sincerity and rationality—ideas that were developed to their fullest and supported by a mentality that ought to be emphasized in today’s world. The aim is to call attention to the value of good design and effective ingenuity for human society - a vital resource for the future.

landslag avalanche barriers
Landscape architects Landslag | Avalanche Barriers

The exhibition covers works of twenty-two designers and design teams who have gained attention both in Iceland and abroad. They are intended to spotlight the characteristics of contemporary Icelandic design, with regard to both appearance and ideology. It's up to each viewer to determine whether there are consistent attributes of a nation to be seen or whether the work is shaped by the matrix out of which they emerged, by the designer's background or the prevalent forces at play – or, in some cases, all at once.  

The exhibition is accompanied by a presentation of recent graduates in product design whose works have attracted attention.

The exhibition was first opened at the Reykjavík Art Museum in 2009.
Photographer: Ingvar Högni Ragnarsson

This exhibition is organized by the Iceland Design Centre in collaboration with the Icelandic Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Icelandic Ministry of Education, Science and Culture, the Icelandic Ministry of Industry and the Aurora Design fund.  
Curator: Elísabet V. Ingvarsdóttir  
Exhibition design: Kurtogpí in collaboration with Atelier Atli Hilmarsson

Designers and work in the exhibition:

Katrín Ólína
Cristal Bar, Hong Kong

Landslag ehf
Siglufjörður Avalanche barriers

Basalt architects
Blue Lagoon Clinic

Studio Granda
Hof Country residence


Rut Kára

+ Arkitektar
Hótel Borg renovation


Borgarfjörður High School

Tinna Gunnarsdóttir

Kristín Sigfríður Garðarsdóttir
Blown glass

Ingibjörg Hanna
- Bird Coat Hanger

Guðrún Lilja Gunnlaugsdóttir
Visual inner structure

Stella Design
My family

Go Form
MGO 182 & MGO 500

Sigríður Sigurjónsdóttir & Snæfríð Þorsteins
Shelve life

Stefán Pétur Sólveigarson

Hrafnkell Birgisson
Hoch Die Tassen

Snæfríð Þorsteins & Hildigunnur Gunnarsdóttir
2922 days

Rocky Tre

Sóley Þórisdóttir

Erla Sólveig Óskarsdóttir
Sproti & Spuni

Dagur Óskarsson
Dalvík - sled

Jón Björnsson
Flower Eruption

Friðgerður Guðmundsdóttir

Icelandic Contemporary Design
1.12.2011 – 8.1.2012
Design Forum Finland,
Erottajankatu 7
Admission free
Opening hours
Mon-Fri 10-19, Sat 10-18, Sun 12-17

Win an Icelandair flight and accommodation for thress nights at Hotel Reykjavík Natura. And bring a friend. To participate visit: