It actually happened! DesignMarch 2020 took place from 24th – 28th of June!
The theme of this year’s festival was New World – New Ways. Little did festival organizers know what challenges they would face.
“In the beginning of March, when it became apparent that the festival would have to be postponed, we called everyone involved to get their feedback. We believe that the conversations we had about how we could proceed collectively, and bring light and positivity during these challenging times, enabled all of us to work together and organize a more local, yet very successful festival. Even though Iceland has been successful in tackling the challenges associated with Covid-19, we had to adapt to a new format,” Þórey Einarsdottir, festival director.
To do so, festival organizers decided to put additional emphasis on creating digital content and documenting the festival. The team experimented with a new concept called STUDIO 2020, a platform for varied forms of interviews, giving insights into the Icelandic design scene and current local conversations. (see more below)
Festival events were spread all over the greater Reykjavik capital area, and large events, such as DesignTalks, opening and closing ceremonies, and Design Diplomacy, were postponed until 2021. At the same time, there was a more local focus and it was inspiring to see how many local people
attended DesignMarch in June.
Despite the unusual circumstances, there was no lack of creativity. A common thread throughout the festival was emphasis on sustainability, and the reuse and repurposing of materials.
Björn Steinar Blumenstein created a limited edition Covid-19 sanitizer made from 250 kg of leftover fruit from local food importers, highlighting the material’s potential use-value. The sanitizer was offered to guests at all DesignMarch venues.
Click here to view the DesignMarch in June Thank you video.
For this year’s edition of DesignMarch, the team experimented with a concept called STUDIO 2020. During the festival the studio served as a platform for varied forms of interviews, LIVE talk shows, performative design interventions, thematic conversations and podcasts.
This is was the right time to be experimental with new ways of communicating a design festival, content beyond and below appearances alone.
The creators and curators of the Studio 2020 are Hlín Helga Guðlaugsdóttir, curator of DesignTalks, Garðar Eyjólfsson, programme Director of MA Design at Iceland University of Arts, María Kristín Jónsdóttir, editor in chief of HA magazine, Steinn Einar Jónsson, designer and Einar Egilsson, filmmaker, with the support from Promote Iceland.
Frame is collaborated with DesignMarch this year and hosted a LIVE conversation where Robert Thiemann, founder and editor-in-chief conversed with local creative thinkers on how design can facilitate degrowth, yet improve health and prosperity of people and planet as part of their #FrameLive series.
DesignMarch x Studio 2020 at Dutch Design Week
DesignMarch x Studio 2020 participated in Dutch Design Week this year in the first virtual group ‘exhibition’ of World Design Weeks under the name World Design Week United – DesignMarch, online during Dutch Design Week, which is only virtually this year.
DesignMarch created a virtual room where guests can get to know 7 Icelandic designers and projects through the lens of Studio 2020.
Here you can have a look:
Valdís Steinarsdóttir – Social change through design
Valdís Steinarsdóttir graduated from the Iceland University of the Arts with a bachelor’s degree in product design in 2017. She mainly focuses on material experiments by recycling organic matter and hopes to bring societal change and open up a platform for discussion and debate. She won Designer of the year at Formex Nova awards 2020.
Björn Steinar Blumenstein – Sustainabilty and anti capitalistic waves
Björn Steinar is a product designer, an enthusiastic designer who strives towards bringing societal change through his design. Designing into a world overflooded with products and useless temptations, which is why he tends towards an anti-capitalistic design method; honest design practice with a real purpose.
Flétta, Hrefna Sigurðardóttir and Birta Rós Brynjólfsdóttir – Urban miners
Flétta, a conceptual design studio by designers Birta and Hrefna. With a BA degree in product design from Iceland University of the Arts, they use excess materials and recycle. Focusing on matters that affect society, its people and the outcome can be anything that contributes to it. All products are made by hand in Iceland.
Human Expansion Station – Feeling the soil
The Human Expansion Station is a project based on human plant relations. The human expansion is an important part of the continued development in this field. Where nature man boundaries become blurry, focusing on a sincere flow without judgment and arrogance. Designer Búi Bjarmar Aðalsteinsson and Hrefna Lind Lárusdóttir.
Digital Sigga – Digital Identity
Sigríður Birna Matthíasdóttir, aka Digital Sigga, completed an MA in design exploration and translation at the Iceland University of the Arts. She studied fashion design at Studio Berçot in Paris. Her work involves avatars, virtual fashion, and face filters for Instagram. Using digital technology to examine and develop new aesthetics and standards of beauty.
Melur mathús – Exploring local material through food
Melur mathús focuses on a wild plant native to Iceland called lyme grass, which binds more co2 than a birch tree and has shorter growing time. Designers Kjartan Óli, Signý Jónsdóttir and Sveinn Steinar bring attention to its rich cultural usage and its future possibilities, sprouting a conversation about the plant’s ability for soil conservation.
Jón Helgi Hólmgeirsson – Making technology natural
Jón Helgi Hólmgeirsson is a Product & Interaction Designer from Reykjavík, Iceland. He is head designer at Genki Instruments where he designs products, interactions, UX, UI and much more. He won the Icelandic Design Award 2019 for Wave, a ring designed for musicians to enhance their experience and interpretation.