Founded and organised by the Iceland Design Centre - a corporation of various design-related organisations - ten years after its inauguration, DesignMarch 2018 has become a vital element of the Icelandic creative economy.
With hundreds of events spread across Reykjavik, the festival proved that design is indeed inherent to the country's economic and social life, giving the small local multidisciplinary scene a stage of European level.
On the occasion of its tenth birthday, from March 15 to 18 DesignMarch turns the Icelandic capital back into a hub for design enthusiasts and Nordic lifestyle aficionados.
If, on the one hand, the local design scene is undoubtedly very young - the Iceland Academy of Arts was opened only in 1998 and the Faculty of Architecture and Design soon after - this also means that the new designers "are closer to the Icelandic reality compared to previous generations, who have studied abroad”, explain the founders of the Iceland Design Center.
This proximity has helped to raise the curtain on contemporary issues such as mass tourism, landscape conservation and sustainability. For example, this year, the school's Product Design graduates will present Intimate Futures, an exhibition that explores the intrinsic relationship between people and the iconic Icelandic horse. While the group show Strands in Settlement & Design will look at the harsh nature that shaped the landscape and the identity of the country.
Despite being profoundly local, the event still has a scope that crosses national borders. This is thanks to the natural link between Iceland and the other Northern countries, but also to a broad programme of lectures and talks that, over the years, has welcomed internationally renowned artists including Robert Wong of the Google Creative Lab, Dutch food designer Marije Vogelzang, journalist Marcus Fairs and the British Studio Swine.
The 2018 programme of DesignMarch has also been enriched by the Design Diplomacy platform, a series of panels aimed at encouraging interdisciplinary dialogue. Among the guests are the Finnish designer Reeta Eek, the Dutch Henrik Vibskov and the Canadian architect Rami Bebawi.
Finally, among the young names worth keeping an eye on are the product designer Theodora Alfredsdottir, who will present All Molds, a research project on the theme of moulds, and the collective 1+1+1, which will show a unique and fun collection of vases realised in collaboration with artisans and women from Sierra Leone.
Opening photo: THE COLLECTION OF SHELVES URBAN NOMAD IS A COLLABORATION BETWEEN THE BRAND FÓLK AND DESIGNER JÓN HELGI HÓLMGEIRSSON. PHOTO COURTESY DESIGNMARCH