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Designs from Nowhere Receives the First Icelandic Design Award


Photo: Börkur Sigþórsson

Designs from Nowhere receives the first Icelandic Design Award.

Designs from Nowhere explores the possibilities for small-scale design and production in East Iceland, using locally sourced materials and skills. The final outcome was a collection of items exhibited at SPARK Design Space during DesignMarch 2014.

The works were created following a series of workshops that took place in Autumn 2013 featuring the designers Max Lamb, Þórunn Árnadóttir, Julia Lohmann and Gero Grundmann collaborating with local practitioners in Egilsstaðir, Djúpivogur, Eskifjörður, Vopnafjörður and Norðfjörður. Designs from Nowhere was developed as a direct response to the MAKE It Happen conference of September 2012, organised by MAKE by Þorpið, that brought creative thinkers, designers and cultural leaders together to discuss the potential for future projects in the area.

According to the jury

Designs from Nowhere is a comprehensive project. It explores the possibilities for a small-scale design and production in East Iceland, using locally sourced materials and skills. The project, which was initiated by Karna Sigurðardóttir and Pete Collard features the designers Þórunn Árnadóttir, Gero Grundmann, Max Lamb and Julia Lohmann who collaborated with local practitioners in East Iceland.

The apt connection of people, places and material sources results in a dynamic dialogue from which new material outcomes derived. “The designs reveal an intriguing mix of narratives, interspersing old and new materials and techniques, celebrating the collaborative nature of the project and demonstrating the range of resources, skills, and materials that can be found in the area” as stated by
Spark Design Space where the project was presented during DesignMarch 2014. Further dissemination has since then taken place both at a design conference in Moscow and as a part of the London Design Festival in September.

The project demonstrates that geographic parameters, in this case a region of 20.000 m2 yet home to only 12.500 people, do not have to be an obstacle for creating vibrant design projects, dealing with current global issues. The project has been disseminated in a sensitive way both visually and verbally, via exhibitions, and a thirty minute documentary film by Karna Sigurðardóttir & Sebastian Ziegler where the designers approaches and experiences during the workshops are made public.


First one of its kind in Iceland, the new design award aims at attracting attention towards the importance and quality of the Icelandic design and architecture. It honors achievement and excellence, and is awarded annually to a designer, design team, studio or architect for an outstanding new work, object, project or collection. The award is 1.000.000 ISK, awarded by the Minister of Industries and Innovation.



The trophy, designed by Björn Loki Björnsson, Elsa Jónsdóttir and Kristín María Sigþórsdóttir.
Photo: Börkur Sigþórsson

Read more about the awards and see the other nominees
Read more about Designs from Nowhere