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Exhibition | Case Studies, Product Design into the 21st Century

Exhibition opening in Reykjavík Art Museum – Kjarvalsstaðir, Saturday, 4 March at 16h00.

The exhibition explores Icelandic product design at the beginning of the 21st century through the work of several designers, who have in recent years attracted attention for their innovative ideas. Product designers identify needs and opportunities. At the same time they must consider production processes, choice of materials and the impact on the environment.

Sigríður Sigurjónsdóttir, the curator.

A handful of outstanding projects have been selected, each of which reflects a specific design approach: experience design, workmanship, local manufacturing, material research, mobility and mass-production. These examples give an insight into key trends in product design in recent years. The projects reflect diversity and the opportunities on offer to society by utilizing the forces of creative thinking

Partaking designers

Brynjar Sigurðarson.

Workmanship - Brynjar Sigurðarson

During the winter of 2009, Brynjar Sigurðarson stayed for a while in the shed of a fisherman in Vopnafjörður, learning the traditional craftsmanship and choice of materials involved in the trade. Subsequently he began transferring the fisherman´s ways of knitting nets into crafts which above all else have aesthetic value. Brynjar lives in Berlin and has received several awards for his design.

Unnur Valdís Kristjánsdóttir.

Experience Design - Unnur Valdís Kristjánsdóttir

Unnur Valdís designed the Float Cap which came on the market in 2011. Since then it has taken on a life of its own, regardless of the people behind it. It has opened up a world of relaxation, togetherness and nature experience. The float cap is an example of a simple but brilliant idea, based on Iceland´s long established bathing tradition. It is also well in line with the modern day ethos of mindfulness and health consciousness.

Brynhildur Pálsdóttir and Ólöf Erla Bjarnadóttir.

Material Research - Brynhildur Pálsdóttir, product designer, Ólöf Erla Bjarnadóttir, ceramist and Snæbjörn Guðmundsson, geologist.

The team working on the research project The Search for Icelandic Porcelaine. Porcelain is originally mixed from three minerals: kaolinite, quartz and alkali feldspar. Iceland has substantial quantities of pure quartz. Kaolinite is also found around the country, in active and inactive geothermal areas, but usually it is heavily mixed in with other minerals. Alkali feldspar, though, is almost nowhere to be found pure in the country. In order to produce real Icelandic porcelain the search is on for other minerals which could replace it. The work involves taking samples of suitable Icelandic minerals, experimenting with them and researching them. Here, the focus is on the journey rather than the destination.

Tinna Gunnarsdóttir.

Local Manufacturing - Tinna Gunnarsdóttir

As a designer, Tinna explores her surroundings, aided by everyday objects. She deals equally with the private space of the home or the natural context. She places materials and technology in unexpected circumstances, thus creating a fresh perspective, an expanded experience – a fun and distorted context.

Sigga Heimis.

Mass-Production - Sigga Heimis

Sigga Heimis designed her first item for Ikea in 1999. Since then she has gained a deep knowledge of and insight into consumer´s habits and production of objects. The design process is influenced by a few formative factors. The Euro-pallet is an important part, all the products must fit thereon and be easily stacked upon it. Also at Ikea each product must pass a certain test. There are many different things to take into consideration before an item gets mass produced. The requirements have changed and people´s way of life is constantly changing. These are the challenges which Sigga faces today as she has become increasingly involved in design management.

Mobility - The orthotic and prosthetic company Össur

Össur works with a large team from different disciplines. The company Össur was founded in Iceland in 1971 and has become a global power in health technology. The company has around three thousand employees in twenty countries, who have achieved outstanding results and made the company´s vision into a reality. The Pro-Flex artificial leg is the company´s latest product and the first one in a new generation of carbon fiber legs. The design features are improved ankle mobility by 80% and increased trust power of 90%, compared to a standard artificial leg.

Along with the exhibition different events will be held such as lectures, gallery talks and workshops for families. Further information at