Icelandic furniture, product design and architecture will be on view at Design Forum Finland—marking a year of collaboration between Icelandic designers and Helsinki World Design Capital 2012. The show paints a picture of a design nation in the making, spotlighting the characteristics of contemporary Icelandic design.
The Icelandic design tradition is young. In the 1950s, when Alvar Aalto was already a world famous architect, the Icelandic language did not even have a word for design (isl. hönnun). In recent years, there has been a growing interest in design in Iceland, as local designers establish a strong, new identity. The first national design policy has recently been launched, inspired by Finnish emphasis upon design in economic downturns, the policy paves the way for design to serve as a key resource in a society rebuilding itself after the challenges of 2008.
Icelandic Contemporary Design addresses current themes in the Icelandic society, be it sustainability, hectic everyday life or the natural forces of the volcanic island. It was initially introduced in 2009, and has since been exhibited in Reykjavik, Iceland; Copenhagen, Denmark (Dansk Design Center);Shanghai (EXPO 2010) and Beijing (Notch 10) in China; Stockholm Design Week (Stockholm Furniture Fair) in Sweden and in Tallinn (Estonian Museum of Applied Art and Design), Estonia. Design Forum Finland will be the exhibition’s final stop.
The exhibition was curated by design historian Elísabet V. Ingvarsdóttir and produced by Iceland Design Centre, the promotional organization for Icelandic design.