Design

Hnoss

We dropped by studio Hnoss in Toppstöðin, where we met two sparkling designers, illustrators and best friends, Droplaug Benediktsdóttir and Sísí Ingólfsdóttir. Founded in 2011, they aim for creating beautiful illustrations and transforming them into all kinds of products. Their wrapping paper and gift cards have been very popular and soon they plan on heading in the direction of product design for children, made out of wood.

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Where does the name Hnoss come from?

Sísí: When we started the process, we wanted to design something nostalgic together and we discovered this beautiful Icelandic name from mythology. The word means “precious” in Icelandic, we just felt it was fitting. And even though it’s Icelandic, it works well abroad even though it can be maybe a little hard to pronounce.

Droplaug: We also wanted to have the name short and easy to remember, we have noticed that the elderly people here really like it.

Sísí: Of course we Googled the name and we were a little bit bummed out that there URL hnoss.com had already been bought by a Japanese/Korean/Asian guy, and it costs a lot of money to buy it back. The URL hnoss.is was also occupied. But of course we registered the brand, and the categories that we wanted to design in.

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You are best friends I hear, how did this idea come up to start a design company?

Droplaug: Sísi had just arrived back home from her honeymoon in Thailand and yeah, I had newly finished my studies when we started, what I can say it wasn’t planned it just happened. We run a small business in a sense, the process is that we design smaller things that we can easily even out our budgets by selling, and we always try to keep the expensive s in a way that we can afford the next thing that we want to produce.

We originally planned to design children’s toys made out of Icelandic wood but that turned out to be too expensive. We then scaled down, and started designing gift paper. Today we have already designed six types of gift papers and many types of gift cards which we have on offer in five to six various stores in Reykjavík, so we are back to our original plan of designing children’s toys.

How has the combined design process been between the two of you?

Sísi: Well, it’s often like that one of us comes up with a design that the other one comments on, and has affects for example on the colour or the size of the design. We always both approve things before we send them out.

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How do you describe your style?

Droplaug: I am very fascinated by graffiti, street art and figures, but we both have similar kinds of styles so we connect very well when it comes to our sketches and designs. We have similar styles in a way, which I think is very interesting.

“We call our different designs; bábyljur, which means playfulness”

Sísi: We decided on our colour palette for our first Christmas gift papers production, 2 years back, that we couldn’t use strong colours because we were using this environmentally friendly paper. We want things to fit, and we always decide on these things together. We call our different designs; bábyljur, which means playfulness, which is perfect for our gift papers designs because we want to remind us that we are freely designing this and that, without having serious consequences if things are not working.

So, is the paper itself nature friendly?

Droplaug: We looked in to various printing companies, but we were immediately very fond of Guðjón Ó because he runs an ecological printers company here in Iceland. He introduced us to this recycled paper that we then decided to use for our designs. We liked the texture of this paper, and also for our concept in designing gift paper, that usually is disposable in a way. People wrap gifts in, and then they throw the paper away so we are happy to use this paper.

Sísi: But we are not necessarily going to print our designs here in Iceland, if we get a better deal abroad then of course we will. It is not good for a start-up like us to prize our products too high, just because we are paying for an inland service.

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What inspires you as designers?

Droplaug: I really like figurative elements, especially when I lived in London; I was very fascinated by street art and graffiti there. I remember a particular exhibition held by Tate Modern Museum that was all over the city that was very inspirational to me. I also intended to write my BA thesis about a stop-motion graffiti artist from Argentina that was very interesting and devoted in what he was doing. (here) He created so many great things, for example he made spiders crawl in to people´s houses and stuff like that. So basically this artist combined my two interest zones of drawing and animation into one. My teacher on the other hand didn’t like this idea as much, so I did something else for my BA thesis.

“I am a part of the Simpson generation”

But yes, this culture is not very visible here in Reykjavík; my friend came up with this idea that could make the city different in a way, he wanted to paint all the hydrants red with white dots, so we would have mushrooms in our city landscape all over the place. That would be interesting! It would also be refreshing to see more new ideas like this and of course graffiti, real graffiti, not tags. The tags annoy me in a way, but I’m not going to talk about that!

Sísi: I am a part of the Simpson generation; I had a dream to be one of their drawers actually when I was younger. I was a student in an acting school, but soon I found out that that didn’t suit me well enough. I was drawn to draw and design, me and Droplaug have that in common. It is different though when you are designing or drawing, that you keep in mind that you are producing a product that is to be sold. Me and Droplaug have sometimes illustrated or drawn something’s that are not appropriate, in relations to societal limits. But in our designs for our clients we are very appropriate.

Droplaug: Yes, we were thinking about opening an exhibition someday, to showcase our inappropriate art. This exhibition would be called in- appropriate, to refer both to the duality of the word, oh.. is this appropriate or if it’s just inappropriate in general.

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How are you received in the open market?

Sísi: We enjoy very much to participate in shows like Handverk og hönnun, Hrafnagil or Pop-Up markets, because then we can talk to our clients and they often express their opinions about our products. They often give us ideas about what they want us to design. For example they want us to design wallpapers, but that is a bigger production.

Droplaug: Yes, and also, its different to have a pattern permanently on or wall versus having a more complex art piece illustrated on the wall paper print. I think our prints, from our gift papers, would work more as wall stickers.

“I’ve heard it’s a very good meditation for people with ADHD”

I am drawn to your Origami that is all around us, do you sell those as well?

Droplaug: We sold a couple of those Origami’s before Christmas, but I love doing them. It’s so relaxing to make them, for example in front of the TV; it’s so repetitive and calm.

Sísí: I’ve heard it’s a very good meditation for people with ADHD.

Droplaug: We wanted to create lights or something out of this Origami´s. I learned how to make them on YouTube.

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How do you like to be a start- up here in Iceland?

Droplaug: We are so lucky to have so many good people around us, to advice us to run this business. But we are also taking things slow, so that has helped us a lot.

Sísí: We also have regular customers, other than our mothers! Sometimes people also drop by to our studio here in Toppstöðin, for a coffee and a chat. We sometimes also host open workshops that we advertise.

So finally, how is life outside work, do you spend a lot of time together?

Droplaug: Yes, we are together all the time! No, just kidding, we have the same group of friends though and we often spend quality time together.

Sísí: My children idolize Droplaug and her boyfriend, and we really think that is great.

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We wish the Hnoss team the best in the future, hoping to see their designs pop up in different kinds of mediums.

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Interview: Ása Baldursdóttir
Photos: Nanna Dís

Frosti Gnarr Studio

On a frosty Friday afternoon we dropped by Frosti Gnarr Studio located in a cosy industrial environment by the sea, close to Grótta and were greeted by the studio’s staff, one enthusiastic dog and one little helper. The studio started out as a one-man show, but it is now run by three close friends that all have very different backgrounds and roles. We sat down with Frosti to talk about the concept of the Studio, their friendship, their art magazine and upcoming book publishing.

So, you are one big family here at the Studio?

Well, we all have quite different roles in our company and we have a great professional relationship even though we are close friends. I studied graphic design in the Netherlands, and when I moved back home I became a freelance graphic designer. After a while, I contacted my friend Peppi, and we decided to join forces to run a Studio together since he had a business background he took on the role of overseeing the business side of the company. I am the creative director, and Peppi loves excel so we make a perfect match.

Our friend Hilmir is a filmmaker, and he is my right hand and artistic advisor. He touches things and has to know how they are made. He knows paper types, and programs, well he basically knows how things work. The three of us are the oldest and best of friends. And sometimes we have additional company at the studio, for example my little brother is here visiting now.

I noticed that you have done branding for your clients, what can you tell us about that?

Well, branding means that we create an overall visual identity for the client, that relates prominently to their brand. We have worked on branding projects for some commercial clients, but we mainly work on smaller projects with artists and musicians to evolve their identity or brand, help them visualise what it is that they stand for.


So, isn’t it hard for you to combine your vision, with that of your clients when they already know what they want?

It can certainly be very tricky, for people with different backgrounds to work together on any project, but this process of being able to deliver a message through imagery is what graphic design is all about. We work on such a variety of projects in this studio, design for stores, branding, CD covers, books, posters, visuals for TV shows and much more that all demand that we communicate the message of the clients through our own vision of what graphic design should be.

What has been the most exciting project, you have worked on in the Studio?

I would definitely say that it is Grotta Zine, our magazine that we are so excited about. Our readers are mainly artists, and the magazine in itself is important as an archive about Icelandic artists of our times. We are documenting the art and the artists that we feel are not accessible enough, we are collecting artistic work in a catalogue.




Who will be the next artist portrayed in Grotta Zine?

Atli Bender, our next featured artist is on his final year in graphic design in the Icelandic Art Academy but will mainly showcase photography and geometrical screen print experiments in his edition of Grotta.

The title of the Magazine is sprung from our Studio’s location because we are situated here by the sea near Grótta but we were also thinking about the Italian meaning of the word, which is cave, and refers to Plato’s allegory of the cave. The artists we feature are those that we believe have been released from their shackles and have seen beyond the illusions.


So, does the surroundings here in Seltjarnarnes near Grótta, inspire you?

Yes, we are so happy to be outside of 101 Reykjavík. We sometimes walk by the ocean and Grótta lighthouse, which is in itself a magical place. We are inspired by the surroundings of course, and from being a part of this industrial area.

So, what other projects are you currently working on now?

Well, we are working on a book featuring the work of photographer Ragnar Th. Sigurðsson. We are focused on using his range and prolificacy as an artist and journalist as a medium for narrating small stories and juxtapositions in urban and rural Iceland. To narrate this we use the duality of each spread. We want our presence to be felt in this book as long as it complements the artist’s work. In essence, that is what we are trying to achieve in all of our projects, be a voice that amplifies the voice of the client.


Our other big book project “Only Human” should also be mentioned. We are collecting visual art, articles, photographs and poetry that relate to the subject of human limitations and our attempts at rising above them. We have confirmed participants such as Matthew Barney, Anya Jansen, Jenny Morgan, Richard Saja, Brian Walker and Arjen Mulder to name a few. This is a project that we work on in our free time and are not rushing. The artists participating either contribute work that fits the concept, or create pieces specifically for the book.

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Interview: Ása Baldursdóttir
Photos: Nanna Dís

Tinna Ottesen

On a delightful sunny Saturday we visited Tinna Ottesen a production designer and scenographer in 101 Reykjavík. We sat down with her in her apartment with a latte and dark chocolate delicacies to learn about her artistry, the life in Denmark, her experience and future projects.

NEO-GEO – Underwater concerts

I heard that you started by studying design, what was the deciding factor?

It was very random actually; there was never a certain point in my life that I thought to myself that this is what I wanted to do. Actually, I just applied for the first thing I found online, that was Denmark’s Design School and thankfully I got in the department of digital design, which I thought was very interesting at that time. After one year, I changed my mind and switched to the department of visual communication.

Well, that was not all because once we had a cooperation with the Danish Film School, I got to study there also with the documentary department, and at that point I was there as a guest student for a couple of years studying production design. I had no academic background in art, but I found my path quickly.

Where you an artistic teenager?

Yes, I took courses here and there in art, but as a teenager I did a lot of stuff that I replicated later on in life, for example the underwater concerts in a group called Neo Geo. I always had something creative going on. It is a process coming out of the closet as an artist here in Iceland, you have to earn your spot as an artist before you can call yourself an artist, do you know what I mean? So it is an establishing factor, I feel like that is the rule here.

The-Pole

How was life after graduation?

The first thing I did actually when I finished my education was my husband’s graduation film, we have always worked together in all sorts of projects. We built a pier in the studio for that project, I am always thinking about spaces, the set of things. I think it’s about the process, you research until you find a concept, it’s all about the process but processing itself is also very important, and that is also a part of the process of course. Now I sound very complicated. But this is necessary for my work, creativity and the process of the projects.

But well, after graduation I participated in an architectural competition and other artistic collaborations. Every time you work with new people you get to experience a new energy and you learn so much from it. For example when I designed the stage in the Roskilde festival in Denmark, I got to know Haukur Þórðarson, architect, and we are designing a stage together for a project called Kræklingurinn, shown next year.

How does it feel being an artist in Iceland?

When I came back from Denmark one and a half year ago, I booked meetings with people from the artistic industry and tried to introduce myself here in Iceland, it’s like a snowball, one project leads to something new and different. I earned the attention of course, but somehow it is about meeting new people and become a part of the community here in Iceland. I don’t feel like this is a competitive community actually, It feels more like everybody is trying to help each other with projects and connectivity.

Even though it was hard to be away for such a long time, I lived in Denmark for 10 years, it was very easy to come back.

Still from the tv program Heimsendir

Heimsendir, the Icelandic TV series, we are excited to hear more about that…

Ohh, that project was really exciting for me actually. I got to dissect the script to its fullest to get the overview and came up with these three different worlds for the series.

“It touches the soul to see something beautiful”

The dream is for the future to choose cinematic projects that have those possibilities for blending the theatre into the production design. Heimsendir was pretty close to that, it is always nice to create a set that can stand on its own, as a piece of art. Taking stills from those sets has a poem like effect and people do think they are beautiful.

Yeah, so the thing for random things in the props department for TV productions is not sufficient enough?

The thing is that sometimes they over prop projects, just to hide that there was no preparation or a special theme for the set. Everybody is so on it to fix up some things, so that they get a lot of stuff, randomly thrown together. Also this happens a lot in TV sets, they sometimes are thinking very three dimensional, and then the visuals are presented in the two dimensional TV set then it really shows that they haven’t been thinking about this properly. So I think it’s very important to have collaborative production designers department.

You have also participated in the documentary festival scene here in Iceland?

Yes, my husband and I have been artistic directors, for the second year in a row, at the documentary film festival in the West part of the island. There are around 20 premiere screenings annually of Icelandic documentaries at the festival. Although this is an industry festival, it’s also a large Icelandic party, but people talk about documentary for three days, drink beer and feast on seafood in the beautiful town of Patreksfjörður.

We always have a guest of honor at the festival because we want to push the boundaries of the festival. This year we invited Max Kestner who makes films with real people but in real produced scenes in his documentary films. We were trying to push the boundaries more than usual, so we could create a field of discussion in Iceland. There is something that happens when you attend this environment of academic discussion with four beers in your stomach, this is the Icelandic way of mingling. There is a core of people within the Icelandic documentary scene that turns up year after year so this is a very important festival and get-to-gather for Icelandic filmmakers.

What inspires your work?

My computer is full of photographs of this and that that inspire me. It’s also very good to have the camera on you, so you can capture different things when you’re out and about, so you end up with maybe 30 gigabytes of colors and forms that you refer to in your work. The influence bank is always receiving materials and changes as time goes by.

“there were around 90 plays last year and ten films”

I have been watching documentaries and movies in general, there is so much development in documentary filmmaking nowadays, the experimental sector is still so fresh, and people are always doing something new.

There is so much productivity here in Iceland, in arts, there were around 90 plays last year and ten films. In comparison there were around 10 feature films produced in Poland last year where 38 million people live.

You’re It – #2/Tinna Ottesen & Janus Bragi Jakobsson for Aldrei fór ég suður & inspired by Iceland

Is the production of “reality” portraying the truth in documentary filmmaking?

No never. The thing with both fictional and documentary filmmaking is that the director is telling a story. The space is always somewhat of a production as well, even though you are at somebody’s house you are tweaking things around, the backstage and the visual is always so important for the storytelling.

Where do you work, do you have a studio?

I share a small working studio at Grandi, by the harbor, which I actually share with three other women. But my dream would be to have a giant house, just beside my house, where I could spread out all over the place.

So are you collector?

I try to watch out not to collect too much, if I find something interesting I try to give it away to somebody else for example to RUV the national television stations props storage or to Embla stacks where Júlía has her props storage, where other people can use it, so I can maybe access it again. I don’t dare to start to collect props. Then you have someplace, which works like a spare valve.

So have you ever found something amazing, that you wouldn’t dare to throw away?

I can tell you about something, yeah; when I was out in the country I found sooo many old phonebooks from 1940´s. The official institutions are very professional in what they do concerning the preserving of things, but they have so little space. RUV for example is such a good official service for all the film industry; their workers are so nice and helpful.

“Somebody’s uncle that knows someone that knows someone else that has a certain sort of stone museum”

But if you’re looking for something specific, you could always call somebody, or someone that knows something about this and within an hour you have sorted it out. Somebody’s uncle that knows someone that knows someone else that has a certain sort of stone museum. But sometimes it takes a month to get some one little thing. But usually it’s the other way around.

Lastly, what are you up to now?

I am working with actress Margrét Vilhjálmsdóttir on producing a project called the Norður that we will open next year. We are traveling to Faeroe Island, Greenland & Denmark and get artist from these countries to contribute to our project, it will be a portable stage production. Margrét always wants to produce something big; she wants to have a helicopter and huge ships and over 50 people involved. The stories will walk on the shores; each artist can only work with a artist from another country.

Another project is building with Haukur Þórðarson this floating stage in the harbor area, for the project Kræklingurinn, where there will be some kind of a monster coming up from the sea. I have actually many more projects in the pipes that are unconfirmed.

So how is life always on the run?

Well my advice is to enjoy the people that you meet, that you take time to talk and listen to people´s experiences, that you show that you appreciate when they do things for you, in my case lending me stuff, for example props.

I also recently moved here to this great apartment, where I have a garden so I also try to enjoy non-work related things. I am growing cabbage and planting other things, which I absolutely love. I think it’s necessary when you work so much with your head and in the computer that you don’t forget about the meditation of working with your body. I also have a grill in my garden that my father made. He actually built it for my mother, out of barrels. There is a rail that is connected to a motor, so it turns inside. I can grill around five legs of lambs in each one of those.

I used the grill at my tenth year wedding anniversary the other day, my father moved the grill to my house so we could grill lambs for dinner.

We went outside in the garden for a short while, where Tinna showed us her grill and her growing cabbage that is flourishing in a little square of her garden. We left this peaceful place, remembering her strong presence, wishing her a bright future producing sets in all sorts of mediums. Tinna will surely be one of the production designers to watch out for in the future.

tinnaottesen.com

Interview: Ása Baldursdóttir
Photographs: Nanna Dís

Sig Vicious

Snoop-Around interviews Siggeir Hafsteinsson – Sig Vicious for the Reykjavík Grapevine,
issue #6 18.5.2012Part of this interview originally appeared in The Reykjavík Grapevine

The graphic designer Sig Vicious started out with a computer and a vision, making his ideas comes true through visual mediums. He started out fifteen years ago and has since then run his own advertising agency, worked freelance and for various companies and agencies. His unique style in digital graphic shows often in his intense works, explosion on the canvas, which he often blends with popular culture icons, politics or humour, all blended in with his colour palette that is very artistic and authored by many means.
We got to visit Sig on a musky Sunday morning, greeted by home-made delicacies.

Did you take interest in design at an early age?

Well, when I was thirteen I had an Atari computer and was a part of a computer clique. I started drawing in a program where the resolution was 480×320 and you could choose from 16 colors. I didn’t do well in school, so I spent a couple of years working at a bakery and the shipyard, but I took interest in design again in my early twenties.

“The first thing I made was a flyer for a fashion show at Hótel Borg; it was epically ugly”

Did you wind up studying graphic design?

No, I’m completely self-taught. I wanted to become a graphic designer and I knew that I had to learn how to use Freehand, a program that some designers used back then. I went to Siberia for three months in 1997 and used my time there to master Macromedia Freehand completely. When I returned, I got a job and started working on brochures and stuff like that. Lets just say I have grown to what I am today; you are always learning and developing as an artist. Some of my early work isn’t very good when I look at it now. The first thing I made was a flyer for a fashion show at Hótel Borg; it was epically ugly. I made it in Photoshop and used something called difference clouds. I was very happy with it at the time.

Are you influenced by other people’s work?

Well, I’m inspired by a lot of things, but it doesn’t play directly into my own work. I take a lot of interest in street and graffiti culture, even though I’m not doing it myself. One of my favorite artist is Jose Parla, a calligrapher, he mixes calligraphy and graffiti together, and I think that is very great. You’ve recently designed some EVE-online artwork. We can see the digital attacks right here on your wall! Yeah, so first I took a couple of old photographs from Reykjavík and superimposed them with spaceships from Star Wars. Then I wanted to develop the idea further using more original material, so I got my friend Oscar Bjarnason to take photos and used ships from the EVE-online game as models. I have actually received a bit of feedback from the EVE community; they say that the scale of the ships is incorrect. However, they should know that this is art, not EVE reality!

So, you always worked for others or what can you tell me?

No, I owned my own company for a while with my partner Snorri Barón and we had a lot of kids asking for jobs, and I always asked about their portfolios and was not interested in their educational background. The work speaks for itself in my opinion. We did a lot of different things back then, Egils Orka if you remember that with Friðrik 2000. We worked on things for Vífilfell, Sprite, Fanta and we did all the commercials for Rautt, Íslandssími. Actually one of them got banned for television screening, the competition was doing commercials with the good kids with pink ribbons while our commercial was about how it is in reality, being a teenager, all the ugly stuff and tryouts. But I’ve done it all if that was your question, worked for others, myself and done various projects and so on.

“I like to ask for two or three keywords, but other than that
I can do whatever”

What do you find most fun about being a designer?

I most love making vinyl covers because I am typically given a lot of artistic freedom. I like to ask for two or three keywords, but other than that I can do whatever. The last cover I did was a single sided vinyl one with Goldie, the song is on one side, and on the other side the lyrics are carved in to the vinyl. I think its an epic one, its number 100 from Metalheads, and is signed by Goldie himself. I usually do two or three covers per month, and I really like doing it. I have also designed books and such.

How does one approach you?

The best way is to send me an email. And if you want to buy my stuff you just send me an email.

Has the foreign press shown you interest?

I’ve been interviewed couple of times. But I don’t like if they ask me about the Icelandic influence and if they are always connecting my designs or art standpoint to something that has to do with Iceland. I think it’s a silly approach to designers.

What are you doing now and what does the future hold?

Well I’m working for a commercial agency. Of course I like to work at a small company, as an artist, but you cannot live exclusively by making flyers and vinyl covers. I’ve done projects for big companies like HP and Nike in the past, and this kind of work is very different in terms of project size and pay. I think I will be doing this as long as I have the freedom to create.


We left Sig Vicious apartment, munching on home baked muffins that he had offered us during the visit, thinking about those digital attacks he creates in Reykjavík, online, as music artworks and in so many other places. We wish him a great future, in his creation of digital worlds.

sigvicious.com

Interview: Ása Baldursdóttir
Photographs: Nanna Dís

DesignMarch – Pieces worn out and about on

Last weekend the exhibition Roots – Icelandic contemporary jewellery design opened in Hafnarborg. The exhibition focuses on contemporary jewellery design and the various roots goldsmiths and jewellery designers look to for material, ideas and inspiration. The goldsmiths and designers use diverse materials, ranging from expensive metals and precious jewells to wood and mosses. The theme of the exhibition reflects this diversity as well as referring to nature and the personal and cultural roots of the designers. The exhibition is held in a collaboration with the show committee of the Icelandic Goldsmith´s Association and is part of the DesignMarch 2012.

Guðbjörg Kristín Ingvarsdóttir, the founder of the design company Aurum,
met with us and told us a little bit more.

When did this exhibition open and what is its relation to Design March?

The exhibition has been going very well, and will be open until 15th of April. On Design March we will open up a jewellery rent, that will be open from 21st - 26th March, and is intended for everyone.

We are hoping for the jewellery to be worn out and about, on Design March, and that people will have the opportunity to wear unusual pieces, that are larger and more colourful that they would normally buy.

Where did this idea come from?

I knew about this concept from the craft museum in Copenhagen, where they have been renting out jewellery for many years. The museum collects the jewellery pieces, and then they are rented out to ministers and other official employees of the state and in that way they introduce Danish design abroad in a very functional way.

What can you tell me about the prices that you offer on the Icelandic pieces on Design March?

There will be a special consent form, that has to be filled out buy the renter, that he will be careful with the jewellery and that the piece will be returned in its previous state. The price will be announced later, but it will be in the lower range and all profits will be granted to The Light.

The Light is a Rehabilitation and Support Centre for people who have had cancer /blood disorders and their families. We want to support their organisation, because we believe they are a worthy cause.

That is great! What can you tell me more about the exhibition itself?

The members of the show committee, wanted to showcase designers that have been marking their steps in the jewellery design culture here in Iceland. And also, we wanted to blend the younger generation as well, designers that have their own strong language in jewellery design.

There is a nature focus in the exhibition, we can see connection to the old silver – the National museum silver-, designers that use filigree with other materials, there is a piece that is blended with recycled rubber, a bell covered in stones, the craft is very visually displayed as well in many ways. There are many pieces in the exhibition that are very sculptural and colourful.

At last, what materials did surprise the most?

Well, the main thing is that there are so many materials that are used by the designers on the exhibition. There is moss, thread, driftwood, rubber, glass bronze, that is the material that I´m working with, there is so much so much variety. I think this is a exhibition, that showcases a very great cross section of Icelandic jewellery design and everybody is welcome.

The following goldsmiths and designers take part in the exhibition:

Anna María Sveinbjörnsdóttir, Dýrfinna Torfadóttir, Erling Jóhannesson,
Fríða Jónsdóttir, Guðbjörg Ingvarsdóttir, Hafsteinn Júlíusson,
Hansína Jensdóttir, Harpa Kristjánsdóttir, Helga Ósk Einarsdóttir,
Helga Mogensen, Hildur Ýr Jónsdóttir, Hulda B. Ágústsdóttir,
Inga Rúnarsdóttir Bachman, Jóhanna Medúsalemsdóttir, Júlía Þrastardóttir,
María Kristín Jónsdóttir, Orri Finnbogason, Sruli Recht, Tinna Gunnarsdóttir,
Tína Jezorski, Þorbergur Halldórsson, Sigrún Sigurjónsdóttir, Sif Ægisdóttir,
Ástþór Helgason and Kjartan Örn Kjartansson of the jewelery brand Orr and
Sigríður Anna Sigurðardóttir and Timo Salsola (Sigga&Timo).

Interview: Ása Baldursdóttir
Photographs: Nanna Dís

Ragnar Freyr & Ragnheiður

Ragnheiður is a product designer that is driven by a mixture of play, naiveness and order. Ragnar Freyr is a graphic designer that has a passion for blogging about creativity. Despite similar names and interest in design, the interviewees have a different artistic view. We sat down with Ragnheiður and Ragnar Freyr on a rainy afternoon, in Reykjavík city, with a cup of Japanese tea and their pug dog.

First of all, what can you tell me about this dog sitting in your lap?

Ragnar Freyr: This is Panda, our little pug dog. She has been sleeping pretty much since she came to Iceland. She is turning six soon and doing well!
Ragnheiður: I think she has had a good life here, although it’s a little bit colder here in Iceland.

What kind of character is Panda? Does she have a influence on your life?

Ragnar Freyr: Yes, she is a jiggly bundle, but has a great need for sleep. She lowers our blood pressure.
Ragnheiður: She can be very disturbing, with her barking. But we love her dearly.

Bentey by Ragnheiður_Ösp

When did you two meet and when did you become a couple?

Ragnheiður: We met at the Icelandic Academy of Arts, we started studying there the same year. We were even in the same group for our first assignment.
Ragnar Freyr: Yeah, then we started to notice each other and started dating after a year of being classmates.

When was this?

Ragnheiður: This was maybe 2003, wasn’t it?
Ragnar Freyr: Yes, that’s right.

When did you move in to your current apartment?

Ragnar Freyr: We moved in here four years ago. We are very fortunate to have this view.
Ragnheiður: Yes, it’s great to experience the seasons through the window, it’s very cozy.

Notknot by Ragnheiður

Have you been doing projects together, after you graduated?

Ragnar Freyr: Yes, we have worked together but we have always wanted to do more. However, it’s hard to find the time for cooperation outside our daily work.
Ragnheiður: Well, we did posters together for a competition held by Designboom, were the theme was the environment.
Ragnar Freyr: Yeah, we did two posters and made the final round, the posters were shown at a poster show in Seoul and Tokyo.

“I’m focusing on small items and accessories for the home”

Do you discuss your other work with each other?

Ragnar Freyr: You could say that we are perpetually in some sort of cooperation, because we are always giving our opinions about each other’s projects.
Ragnheiður: We discuss ideas all the time and it doesn’t matter where or when.

Ragnheiður, what can you tell me about your design?

Right now, I’m focusing on small items and accessories for the home, designed under the name Umemi. I’m currently working with wool for pillows, and will continue to do so, especially for DesignMarch 2012. Wood is also a very exciting material for my design, as is the craft of woodturning.

What fascinates me is using materials in my design that lasts. Plastic is exciting but it is not an environmentally friendly material and the things designed out of plastic don’t necessarily last or have endurance. So all in all, I think natural materials are most exciting for me as a designer.

You don´t approve of using plastic in design?

Ragnheiður: Well, plastic is widely used in packaging and disposable items and it almost instantly becomes garbage. My mini-figures, the dolls that I collect, are made out of plastic. But those plastic figures have meaning, they are collectibles in an artistic sense. So how plastic is used in design and in what context is important.

Letterpress printed labels for Notknot by Ragnar Freyr

What can you tell me about your collections? What do you collect?

Ragnheiður: Well I mostly collect plastic figures and toys…
Ragnar Freyr: What does she NOT collect?
Ragnheiður: Hey, I have constrained myself on my collecting habits over the years. When I was younger I collected everything from pencils, erasers, napkins, candy wrappers and stones. Now I collect unique toys from Asia, mainly from Japan. Dolls that have large eyes fascinate me especially. I collect things that I find strange and interesting.

Have you ever been to Japan?

Ragnheiður: I’ve been there once. My sister is moving to Japan for a year and I’m going to visit her. I can’t wait!

“It can be very awarding to help those companies through the power of graphic design”

What about you Ragnar, do you collect things?

Ragnar Freyr: No, not really! When we became a couple her habit of collecting and my minimalistic nature was a stark contrast between us. I am what you may call a declutterer. I don’t like to have too much stuff around me. The only things I collect nowadays are books by Terry Pratchett that I have been reading for years.

Ragnar, what can you tell me about your business and graphic design?

Ragnar Freyr: I run an international graphic and digital product design studio, under my own name in downtown Reykjavík. I try to offer quality work for print, the web and mobile platforms. I think it is best to be as well rounded as possible in terms of design. I mainly work for small or middle-sized companies. Lately I’ve been focusing on helping start-up companies. In the environment of start-up companies everything happens fast and it’s a very dynamic field. It can be very awarding to help those companies through the power of graphic design. It’s fun to be a part of their journey from the start.

What can you tell me about compromising, is it hard to mediate your artistic ideas to accompany the clients ideas?

Ragnar Freyr: There is always a fine line combining different ideas, and it is sometimes very difficult not to compromise. I’m getting better at this through my experience in the business. Of course I’m selling my service, but the service is in the form of expertise. So the client is buying not only design, but also knowledge. That has to be considered in the process.

Posters for Breakbeat.is by Ragnar Freyr

What is your favorite assignment up until now?

Ragnar Freyr: My all time favorite project is Breakbeat.is, which I have been designing for the past 9 years. I’ve done around 40 posters and flyers for them.

What about you Ragnheiður? Who are your clients?

Ragnheiður: Well, I think it’s a little bit different in the product design world. The business model is not about the clients ordering works from you. You just have to think about your target market when you design. You have to be familiar with marketing in business and find the right people to work with, so you can focus on the design itself. My target group is mainly women, because research has shown that there are mainly women that decorate homes.

In Iceland, it is very common that product designers do everything in their business, from designing and producing, to marketing and selling their products. So I am very focused on for whom I’m designing for and so on.

Createmake.com by Ragnar Freyr

Ragnar, I heard that you’ve been blogging about interesting things?

Ragnar Freyr: Yep, I am the writer of Createmake, a blog about the ideas, process and products of brilliant creators and makers from all over the world. I also run a site called Inspivids, which is a regularly updated collection of videos that inspire thoughts and social action. I love posting videos of designers and their process on how they work and what makes the design and so forth. I’ve gotten very positive feedback and I have a few hundred readers on daily basis.

Ragnheiður, you also have a blog? What is it about?

Ragnheiður: Well, I’m not very active on it now. I started blogging when I was working on my master’s thesis. My research project was cuteness in Japan and the plan was to create a database about cute things. Then I mostly wrote about my design process.

How do you define cuteness?

Ragnheiður: There are many scientific things that have been used to define cuteness. For example large eyes and fat cheeks, small limbs and things that can be connected to children. Things that trigger  maternal instinct and, basically raising certain feelings of motherhood. Now this has evolved, many other things are considered cute today. Cuteness in Japan can be especially bizarre, for example teenagers that dresses up in costumes, doll costumes. If somebody would do that here in Iceland, it would be considered very strange.

Sykur by Ragnheiður

Do you think that you two are strange?

Ragnheiður: I think everybody is a little bit strange.
Ragnar Freyr: Yes, actually I think it´s necessary to be a little strange.

” I love meditation and Buddhism”

What is your passion in life, other than arts and design?

Ragnheiður: I love meditation and Buddhism, and this has to do with the changes in our lifestyles that we made over the last couple of years by changing our eating habits for example. Meditation is actually something I think should be taught in school!
Ragnar Freyr: I’ve been interested in mountain biking lately. I can’t wait to ride this summer.

You both try to live healthy lifestyles. What can you tell me about that?

Ragnar Freyr: I’ve been a vegetarian over a year now and I think it suits me very well. I’m very compassionate towards animals and I think the variety in vegetarian food is great.
Ragnheiður: I try to follow him. We prepare healthy vegetarian meals on weekdays but on weekends, I like to have meat! We try to buy Icelandic products, mostly, I like my Icelandic lamb now and again.

Last, but not the least, what does the future hold for the two of you?

Ragnheiður: I think for me it’s about designing for markets abroad. Even though Icelanders are very interested in design, the Icelandic market isn’t that large. I would like to add people to my team, and aim to increase cooperation with others that have expertise in other fields.

Ragnar Freyr: I think I will develop my own digital products in the future. Web applications, for example. I also have a few side projects. For instance, I run Tvinna.is, with two of my friends, where companies can advertise open job positions for the creative and IT fields.

We leave with a memory of dolls with large eyes, the snoring pug dog and the healthy smoothie Ragnar made for us, wishing the designer couple a long lasting carrier and great opportunities in the future.

Ragnar Freyr

ragnarfreyr.com
blog.ragnarfreyr.com
createmake.com
inspivids.com
twitter.com/ragnarfreyr

Ragnheiður Ösp

umemi.com
facebook.com/designbyumemi
twitter.com/designbyumemi

Interview: Ása Baldursdóttir
Photographs: Nanna Dís

Undralandið

The aftermath of Christmas. Most have eaten too much and the time of exercise is lurking ahead, but I’m not quite there yet so I find myself firmly squeezed in a comfy chair with a slice of pizza in my mouth and a computer in the lap, browsing the internet. Having read dozens of status updates from people worried about their over indulgence I stumbled upon a marvellous video from a new and exciting graphic design company in Reykjavík, run and owned by four women fresh out of their studies. I knew I just had to meet them the first chance I got, and find out what makes them tick.

Ladies, can I have your names?

Júlía Hvanndal, Arna Rún Gústafsdóttir, Jóna Berglind Stefánsdóttir and Svala Hjörleifsdóttir.

You all studied graphic design at the Iceland Academy of the Arts but what was your experience before?

Svala: I finished college and went on to work for some time. Later I studied for a short period at the Technical College in Reykjavik so that I could attain a degree in art studies. That then led me to the Arts College in Reykjavik and finally the Academy. Júlía: After college I worked and lived abroad for a while, in an attempt to figure out the world and where I fitted into it. Jóna: I entered the Academy straight from college having done media studies. So you were absolutely clear on your path? Yes by that point, but prior to that I had been interested in dentistry. These are quite different fields. Júlía: She does have a tongue and teeth thing going on. Are you clinical in your work then? Jóna: No, I’m not perfectionist and I am fully able to leave a mess behind. Arna: I finished college and then moved to Denmark and worked there for a while, and then, like the others I entered the Academy.

“you might actually be able to make a living out of drawing”

So the vast majority of students had gone out in the world to figure out their niche before starting their studies?

Júlía: In all of us I think there was always the spark present, the desire to do something creative. Svala: Yes, and then there are the things that make sense to you now when you look back, for instance I collected well-designed, beautiful packaging and had a collection of beautiful gum wrappers, logos and postcards from all over the world. It all makes sense to me now, maybe not so much then.

Arna: For me it was the notion that you might actually be able to make a living out of drawing, which I never thought possible while sitting in college with all my notebooks full of scribbles and drawings. Jóna: Exactly! I had always intended to be an artist but then the idea of dentistry took over at some point. I so enjoyed my trips to the dentist that I intended to become one. I gather from that information that this field of work attracts “different” types of people. Well, my mother always said I was the weird child. That is a good thing, I think!

What do you bring to this venture as individuals? By that I mean, you must all have your strengths and weaknesses?

Arna: Well, one thing that unites us is that we all have the desire to work a bit more with our hands. Júlía: I’d say that we all have our own strengths but then we share common ethos, an idea of where we are going. Svala: Exactly, during brainstorm-meetings, things just flow, with us finishing each other’s sentences, in what is a cumulative process. The finished article will then stylistically depend on who ultimately executes it.

That leads me onto what first got me interested in your work, your Christmas card video, which I came across over the festive seasons, where did that idea come from?

Arna: It came from us wanting to work hands on with the logo, cutting it out of Laufabrauð (traditional Icelandic Christmas deep fried shortbread) or baking it. Júlía: Or alternately sending the typical orderly card but that isn’t really what we’re about. Arna: Something new, something fresh. Jóna: The video came from us documenting the process. Svala: The filming was a backup, we thought it might be good for something later, to own it as a memento. It was all just good fun.

Jólakveðja Undralandsins 2011

There has been a palpable shift back to technique and handcrafting, don´t you think?

Jóna: And a desire to work by hand. Svala: Not just sitting in front of the computer. (At this point it’s worth mentioning how seamlessly they finish each other’s sentences, the four of them, like a grand old couple telling the rehearsed tale of how they met fifty years ago. Such fluidity I think can only come from a shared vision and desire)Arna: The drive to learn something new along the way is there as well.

“It’s healthy not to be glued to the computer all the time”

Svala: There’s a deeper understanding to be achieved in analogue, take photography for instance. It’s healthy to learn, no matter if you are going to work solely in digital later on, you’ll understand better the machine you are using, the commands, the ideas are the same, and they are of course all named after the old methods. You will be able to break it down to its constituent parts when working in analogue. Arna: You will also develop a different set of skills and won’t be fully dependent on technology. Simply being able to take a good picture and not having to edit it afterwards. Jóna: It’s simply healthy not to be glued to the computer all the time.

The perfect example of that is Reykjavík Letterpress, which we interviewed last year. Jóna: I was an intern there for about six months before we started up here. They are great aren’t they? Jóna: Yes, but you´d be surprised, they’re such pranksters!

Svala: What they create is so beautiful, great artists. Arna: And the Reykjavík Letterpress girls are the only ones working with these techniques in this country! Júlía: The craftsmanship and the paper. Oh we’re into paper, it’s a weird hobby, we know. Paper is brilliant!

From one thing to another, what brought you to taking the plunge into becoming a start-up?

Júlía: We had all just loosely been talking about it over coffee here and there or at school but last November I sent them all message about that now was the time and I called Svala and said: Enough is enough! Now is the time where we will be opening an office, we are good enough, clever enough, we know what we are doing and the time of hesitation is over!

Svala: At that point my boyfriend, Hörður, had been saying; stop wasting time and just start working with your friends. So when the phone call from Júlía came it was like ‘ahhh right, this is on’. Arna: We we’re all privileged enough to be able to bring projects into the company, that was a good leg up. Then it transpired that we could be her in this space, which we love, and that was the point we knew it was real, that this was on. Bar Bakkus is opening just across the road and we can therefore work until like one in the morning and then just jump over and dance. I’m impressed with your work ethic, working til one in the morning, that’s quite good. Jóna: That does happen on occasions.

Have you set yourselves a business goal?

Svala: That is just around the corner, we intend to put our goals in the form of a time-line on the wall, but to make a project out of it. Arna: You could say that our first major goal is to pay ourselves full wages.

Júlía: Well, that, and the bills. But in regards to the future we are going to do good things. Svala: With the reception we have had from people and the projects that are in the pipeline, there are a lot of great things happening that hopefully will have a domino effect. Jóna: We are diligent and we have ambition. Svala: We set the rule for ourselves that we would treat each project with equal enthusiasm and integrity, be it a bank or a bakery, we’ll treat them all the same and most importantly, try to make sure it’s fun and creative. I was quite fond of the fact you put some of your older work on your website, thus making sure it’s not barren and it gives the potential client a great view into what you’re all about.

Are you working on some interesting projects now?

Jóna: Well, we just got contracted to do all the design work for the Iceland Airwaves festival, which is quite the coup for us, as far as we know we are the first women to be lead designers for this 13 year old festival.

That must be a long term commitment for you?

Jóna: Well, we start pretty much now. Arna: As far as commitment goes we estimate about three weeks of work, that is, of course, spread out over the next few months but yes, should be about three weeks.

Does this project involve you working with a lot of people?

Júlía: Not really. Should be just the web programmer, Halldór, and we know him well. Any photography will be taken from the vast archive that the festival has gathered through the years on Flicker. All the festival photographers are required to publish them there. Svala: We try to do anything and everything ourselves and learn through the process.

Is your approach different from other graphic design companies?

We aren’t markedly taking a stance as women when we approach a project, but it does make a difference whether it’s just women, a mixed group or just men. Arna: We might, in our projects, be more aware of gentrification in advertisement, and therefore possibly have an advantage in avoiding clichés. We are, by our nature, better adaptive at taking a woman’s perspective than a man would be.

Júlía: Us being only women here just happened, we contacted guys as well when we were starting up, but, as these things happen, this is how it wound up. Having come through the same program at university, we have worked together and found that it somehow just works. There have never been any disagreements or drama. Jóna: It is really quite fulfilling to be finally able to work in the field of your profession.

And lastly, a bit of a cliché question but what would be a dream project?

Arna: You could say that it was dependent on the client, it’s always great to work with people that are willing to try something new and take risks, give it a go. I mean it might be a great company that looks really promising but then the people are less ready to evolve the concept. We have two projects like that at the moment, that is where the client has come to us because of who we are and for what we stand for, the one being Macland and the other we really can’t talk about. A mystery client? Yes… But a client that’s willing to take the journey with us and place that trust in our work.

Are you coming in at an early stage, in the concept development?

Svala: The client has opinions on how it should be done, that is only to be expected, as it might be something, he or she will have carried with them for a while, their baby if you will. So we just brainstorm with the client, get him involved and that can be great fun. Júlía: But to be able to brand a whole company or design the cover of a book from scratch, that is extremely gratifying as a designer. There is, of course, a difference between starting from scratch, as you say, with something new, something that has no parameters and then working with, say, the Airwaves festival where set parameters are in place and the question is how do you work within the set boundaries.

Jóna: I would say that it’s both interesting and with the Airwaves project we are working with a strong identity that’s already there and we won’t be dissecting it, but you can play with it, evolve it and try to freshen it up. Svala: Which we did in our sketches that we presented to them and they seem to have liked it.

But running your own business that must be a new experience. Going to meetings, having to negotiate terms and so forth?

Júlía: That’s true but we have played it by the book so far, we get a brief, we then send in a proposal that leads to some negotiations, it is a process. Arna: You learn it on the go, what people are willing to pay for the work, and for you to calculate the time the project will take you so that you don’t short change yourself. Jóna: We seem to be doing all right so far, we are going out of our comfort zone but that becomes a norm like anything else soon. Svala: Also we have just put down a clear agenda for us, and how we approach negotiations. Arna: That might be the one place where we take men as role models, on the money side we’re all guys. That is frankly a must, you can so easily kill your love for your job if you make bad contracts and end up slaving away for what ultimately won’t even pay the bills. Arna: That is a part of it at first but then you learn or… well, it’s just all a bit of a learning process.

Any message for the children out there in the world?

Júlía: Keep on trucking! Jóna: Anything is possible and dreams can come true, ha ha. Now we’re just babbling.

I love to meet people that are as optimistic as these four are, but at the same time have the ability to back it up. Here you have a unit that, through the time spent working together in university, managed to forge a bond that really comes across when you talk to them. Their eagerness and the great progress they have made in such a short space of time gives me the feeling that we should all keep a close eye on them in the future.

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Interview: Guðni Rúnar
Photographs: Nanna Dís

Beer Van Geer

On a rainy afternoon I head over to Stofan, a newly open small cafe in the center of our beloved smallest big city of the world. My date is with a Dutchman, an artist/computer geek I have been repetitively bumping into at various concerts in the course of the last two weeks or so. Nanna Dís is supposed to meet up with us as well. Officially to take photographs but I have a sneaking suspicion that under the mask of the photographer lurks the face of an vary editor here to spy on my modus operandi as it is only my second interview. Nanna Dís and the Dutchman arrive at almost the same moment, we order a round of coffee and plant ourselves in the only sofa available at the busy cafe.

So, who are you?

My name is Beer Van Geer and I´m from Der Haag. I have my own media company called Universal Media Man (universalmediaman.nl). I studied digital media at an art school in Utrecht.  It is the only school in Holland that combines art, media and technology. So I did a lot of different things there, there the aim is to combine all media together really. After I graduated I started my little company. I mostly work as a freelancer but I also hire other freelancers. I do a lot of different stuff, from commercial projects to more artistic projects and all that stuff that I do is interactive.

Beer shows us a video of himself operating his graduation project, a short of interactive media box, ideal for helping out festival go-ers finding something that appeals to them. The hypothetical festival guest steps into a big box where he is confronted with a huge mirror displaying control buttons hovering over his reflection. By raising a hand and waving at the controls you change a moving image that is located in the center of the mirror. That moving image could be of a musical act playing at a particular festival for example. If you happen to see something you like you select it, expanding the center image and having it reveal info about where and when the particular musical act will be performing.

All we know (Info): www.universalmediaman.nl

All we know (Demo)

How many of these boxes are there?

I haven´t sold the idea to festivals jet, so I have only made the prototype. But it was stored in a place that got squatted and squatters trashed it, took it apart and used its walls for isolation in the sealing. So now there isn´t a box left. Although, I use the same mirror technique in other projects.

Next he shows us a video of a hospital security system he designed. It is based on similar mirror control technique. An example of a more commercial project he says. To me it looks the same as the surveillance system seen in Minority Report.

How did you end up in Iceland?

It was because of a project I was working on with Mind Games (mindgames.is). I was making an application that works with neuron feedback devises where the goal is to train you in meditation.

In this project, called the Dagaz Project, I work with mandala figures, geometric figures from Buddhist art used by monks to meditate. You can actually find them in every culture. Here in Iceland you have them in the patterns of you wool sweaters.


I first got interested in the mandala figures when I was traveling in south east Asia and started to notice their spiritual culture. They really have an good system to enable people to practice spiritual matters. For example boys have to stay in a temple there for a period of at least two weeks in their lifetime, after which they have a chance to learn more about meditation if they choose to.

In Holland we don´t have anything like that at all. Sure we have churches, but they´re all empty. And sure we have monks, but they are hidden away from society. The connection to the spiritual world has disappeared. But at the same time we have constructed devises that can measure the brainwaves. In the Dagaz Project we tried to adopt Eastern meditation ideas to Western standards by combining the mandala figures and Western brain wave measurement devises.

The Dagaz Project is an app that works with a device that you place on your head. This device picks up data about your inner state. When the program starts you´ll see a large circle in the middle of the screen. As you get calmer the circle gets smaller and smaller until finally it disappears. Then you have reached the next level. Now the mandala figures appear, dancing around a point in the middle of the screen. The figures and their arrangements get more and more impressive as you get calmer.

Dagaz Project (demo)

This is futuristic stuff! As me and Nanna Dís marvel at the dancing triangles on his computer screen Beer starts to tell us about his newest project.

My new project is related to the Dagaz Project. It is a synthesizer for feedback devises. That is, it is a synthesizer that visualizes feedback. It works like an open system so you can link it to different frequencies. For example if you connect it to a heart monitor you can emulate your hart rhythm with it. It links feedback to visual parameters. The synthesizer is set up visually around various gravity points witch effect particles that float in space. There is a main gravity point in the center and there are more points around the center. Each point has an gravity alternation slider witch can change the patterns, making it possible to create endless different forms, shapes and dynamics.

Beer points to his computer screen at something that looks like a windows media player plug-in while me and Nanna Dís pretentiously nod our heads pretending to have understood what he just said. He goes on explaining his newest work that is inspired by the geometry of nature, both on macro and micro levels. As we continue to pretend to understand I start to suspect that he must realize that his complex explanation concerning the geometry of nature as an open system is waisted on island hicks like ourselves. It must be his good manners. I decide to direct the interview on to, for us, more comprehensible topics.

Grapeme (demo):

You are also involved in an online concert program. What´s that and how does it work?

It is called Hyphae and it is a series of live electronic concerts wich are streamable online. The first one was the Extreme Chill concert at Kaffibarinn last June featuring Skurken, Tonik, Beatmakin Troopa, Orang Volante, Plat, Steve Sampling, Murya and Futuregrapher.

The Kaffibar concert is accessible in its entirety at: www.livestream.com/hyphae/video

The concept is about streaming electronic music from many different locations creating a synchronized global party and at the same time giving new up-and-coming musicians a bigger platform.

We have had two of these concerts already and they have been well received. Our first priority was to stream top quality music through the internet but now in the upcoming events we would like to add some interesting visuals to the streams. So most of the artist playing in upcoming shows will have some sort of a visual aspect to their performance, hopefully resulting in an more pleasurable viewing.

The next concert is on the 26th of November and for the first time it will be a stand alone Hyphae concert. The first two times we linked the concert to other events happening at the same time, the Kaffibar concert was for example linked to an art festival in Holland. On the 26th we plan on having concerts happening in different locations around the world at the same time. Musicians playing in different countries will together form the official line-up.

The Hypae II concert will feature musicians live from four countries (USA, Canada, Denmark & Netherlands). The concert starts at 19:00 (GMT) on the 26th of November. You can watch it online at http://www.hyphae.nl/ or, if in Iceland, catch it on screen at Kaffibarinn.

Do you feel that Icelandic electronic music compares to what is happening in other countries?

Yes, definitely. It is of very high standard and frankly I am amazed of the number of good electronic musicians in Iceland. Here it feels like everyone has a music identity or is involved in music in some way.

You think you will be coming back?

Yes, I plan on coming back very soon.

Interview: Hallur Örn Árnason
Photographs: Nanna Dís