The Fish Can Sing: A New Restaurant in Reykjavík by

Issue 12 · Spring Forward · March 28, 2014

The Fish Can Sing: A New Restaurant in Reykjavík

Issue 12 · Spring Forward · March 28, 2014

Located along the old harbor in Reykjavík, Iceland, Mar is a seafood restaurant with a sophisticated interior and menu that are salutes to the sea, its inhabitants, and the history of Iceland's fishing industry.

Today most of Iceland's fishing industry has pivoted east to the Sundahöfn port, but the infrastructure of the old harbor has been preserved thanks to businesses like Mar and the proximity of popular shopping street, Laugavegur. Hafsteinn Júlíusson and Karitas Sveinsdóttir of HAF Studio were interested in relating both the concept and design of Mar to the surrounding docks, built back in 1917. Here's a look at how HAF Studio's idea unfolded: 

Mar Restaurant in Reykjavik, Iceland | Remodelista

Above: Like the name of the restaurant, the signage is in Latin; this one informs diners of the menu style: "an Icelandic offering of pure and delicate Latin American and Mediterranean-style cuisine."

Mar Restaurant in Reykjavik, Iceland | Remodelista

Above: HAF Studio sets the tone of the restaurant with a color palette of black and pale wood, white, teal green, and deep orange.

Mar Restaurant in Reykjavik, Iceland | Remodelista

Above: Paneled walls of black-stained wood reference the weathered wooden houses traditional to Iceland's fishing community.

Mar Restaurant in Reykjavik, Iceland | Remodelista

Above: A map highlights the chef's points of gastronomic inspiration; it was designed by Siggi Odds, who HAF commissioned to create of the restaurant's graphics.

Mar Restaurant in Reykjavik, Iceland | Remodelista

Above: Overhead pendant light bulbs are caught, like buoys or fish, in a web of colored rope—a kitschy concept that HAF presents in a high style way.

Mar Restaurant in Reykjavik, Iceland | Remodelista

Above: The designers livened up the room by mixing black bentwood chairs with single chairs in unexpected colors. 

Mar Restaurant in Reykjavik, Iceland | Remodelista

Above: The bar is sheathed in brass.

Mar Restaurant in Reykjavik, Iceland | Remodelista

Above: Prints of seabirds and a breaching whale are framed on the wall. A spot of brass surrounds the porthole window looking into the WC lounge.

Mar Restaurant in Reykjavik, Iceland | Remodelista

Above: Mirrored fish swim against a single teal blue wall in the back of the restaurant.

Mar Restaurant in Reykjavik, Iceland | Remodelista

Mar Restaurant in Reykjavik, Iceland | Remodelista

Above: Tables are set with custom ceramics by artist Guðný Hafsteins. Their organic shapes and colors are inspired by the seabird, skarfur, a kind of raven. The restaurant's ceramics and graphic prints are available at Mýrin, the shop just next door to Mar.

Mar Restaurant in Reykjavik, Iceland | Remodelista

Above: HAF interwove standing metal bars to wine storage along the wall.

For those visiting Reykjavík's, another must-see is Spark Design Space, a concept shop detailed in our recent post, The Hub for Iceland Design. On Gardenista, have a look at our piece on Iceland's bathing spot with volcanic powers, the Blue Lagoon.

Location of Mar on Reykjavík's old harbor:



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