DesignMarch 2011 – Natural materials in modern forms standout at Iceland’s premier design fair

by Evan Orensten in Design on 07 April 2011

Iceland’s annual DesignMarch exhibition always impresses with its internationally renowned veterans as well as the next generation of influential designers. Now in its third year, the 2011 showcase introduced a range of furniture and product innovations. Below are a few of our favorites that stand out for their use of locally-sourced, natural materials.

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Stáss Ornaments‘ colorful tables (above left) lend a cheerful ambiance to any room, and their flat-pack design allows for eco-friendly shipping.

Young product designer Ragnheiður Ösp hand embroiders wooden stools (above right) by drilling holes into the smooth surface and weaving locally-sourced wool directly through it. The beautiful patterns add texture and create an utterly unique aesthetic.

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Ólöf Jakobína’s stackable Lísa candlestick holders (above left) are handmade from Icelandic porcelain. We love the flexibility of a row of candles with a single holder, or a group of candles with varying stacks for a multi-height display.

One of the best examples of form and function we saw was the Wood/Wood/Wood paper towel holder designed by Ingibjörg Hanna Bjarnad and Halla Björk Kristánsdóttir (above right). The aptly named product is made entirely of native wood and comes in multiple color combinations.

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Made of 100% Icelandic wool, Kúlan (above left) is a playful solution to acoustic problems. These colorful little orbs improve issues with echos, standing waves and volume isolation by both diffusing and absorbing sound waves.

A sturdy wooden frame combined with a minimalist approach, the Fengr coat rack is a great example of functional elegance. Fanney Long Einarsdóttir’s sculptural design incorporates multiple surfaces to hang your heavy coat and a dish for keys or loose change (above right).

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Birgisson Design displays ingenuity with this interesting take on the traditional teacup (above left). The studio breathes new life into the once discarded by using reclaimed teacups found at local flea markets.

Longstanding admirers of his work, we were excited to see Sruli Recht‘s latest innovation—a metal record stand that puts a music collection on display rather than hidden in an unsightly stack.

Epal, Reykjavik’s most prominent design shop, is likely to carry many of these items (hopefully soon!).

COOL HUNTING on April 7, 2011