From fish-leather lamps to high-tech prosthetics, lava chairs to smart phone design, originality, resourcefulness, individualism and innovation continue to shape Icelandic design, whether in form, function or use of materials.
In recent years, the field has been rapidly blossoming, growing from its craft-based roots into fundamental industry involving thousands of people and significantly contributing to the economy. Folklore, heritage, history and a touch of nostalgia influence designers, attempting to define and celebrate a national identity in a globalized world.
Lack of available materials is a challenge, causing designers to think creatively and seek new possibilities. Wool, however, remains a trusty material, now with a fresh approach. Incidentally, eco-consciousness plays a fundamental role in Icelandic design, as manifested in the recycling and repurposing of objects, as well as the utilization of remnant materials.
The Iceland Design Centre promotes the field and provides information locally as well as abroad, nurtures innovation and ensures development.
Contemporary Icelandic fashion design can be defined as European avant-garde: unconventional, rebellious and embracing a new way of thinking. A blossoming industry, fashion designers enjoy immense creative freedom, not constrained by tradition and ideas of classic clothing. The annual Reykjavík Fashion Festival highlights the most recent works by Icelandic fashion designers.