ISSUE 3  |  Paints & Patterns

The Hub for Icelandic Design

January 21, 2014 6:00 PM

BY Francesca Connolly

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On a recent trip to Reykjavik, Iceland, we found ourselves spending hours at Spark Design Space, a combination exhibition space and shop founded by Sigrí­í°ur Sigurjónsdóttir, professor of product design at the Iceland Academy of the Arts. 

Located on a hilltop in the center of the city, Spark happens to be the only gallery in Reykjavik dedicated to showcasing design, and offers a year-round calendar of exhibits. Its companion shop, meanwhile, sells a stream of products from its shows past and present. “We call this our slow shop,” says Sigrí­í°ur who originally started the retail space as an extension of her classroom and a way for her students to collaborate and have an outlet for their work. Textiles, ceramics, small toys, and household goods are displayed in the sunny storefront. Framed posters by graphic designer Goddur–a colleague of Sigrí­í°ur’s at the Iceland Academy of the Arts and a major force in the Icelandic design scene since the 1980s– are stacked along the walls. They became our favorite souvenirs of the city.

Above: Spark Design Space is located in downtown Reykjavik just off Laugavegur street, the oldest shopping street in the city. Photograph by Alí­sa Kalyanova.

Above: Spark is half gallery, half shop. Shown here, a roll of salmon pink bubble wrap for packing and showing objects. Photograph by Nomar Parker.

Above: A display of necklace-like Sasa Clocks. The color-coded beads hang around a mirrored wheel that turns every five minutes, dropping a bead down the cord. See more from our post, The Hours: Measuring Time with Wooden Beads. Photograph by Nomar Parker.

Above: The Spark shop sells current pieces and past favorites from its companion design gallery. Shelves are packed with items from the Designers & Farmers project, Ví­k Prjónsdóttir, Goddur posters, handmade sticks by Brynjar Sigurí°arson, and perfume by Andrea Maack. Sigrí­í°ur will ship pieces on request. Photograph by Nomar Parker.

Above: Art books and exhibition catalogs. Photograph by Nomar Parker.

Above: Scintilla Pillowcases of cotton and silk velvet appliqué sit next to a stack of ceramics by Hanna Dis Whitehead.

Above: The gallery’s Hanna Dis Whitehead show. Her ceramic mugs, vases, and pots are made of stoneware slip clay and characterized by their prominent handles. Photograph by Nomar Parker.

Above: Spark is currently collaborating with Textí­lprentun íslands on a textile pattern by artist Siggi Eggertsson.

On the search for the best design galleries around the world? Have a look at the Museums in our City Guide section for more.

Location of Spark Design Space in Reykjavik: