Winner of the First Icelandic Design Award

Designs from Nowhere was recently announced as the winner of the first ever Icelandic Design Award (photo: Börkur Sigþórsson).

At a glittering award ceremony in Reykjavik last week, the winner of the first ever Icelandic Design Award was announced. The accolade went to the collaborative project Designs from Nowhere, and representatives of the winning team were on hand to pick-up the rather splendid trophy.

The winning project, which explored the possibilities for small-scale design and production using locally-sourced materials and skills, was initiated by Karna Sigurðardóttir and Pete Collard. It features the designers Þórunn Árnadóttir, Gero Grundmann, Max Lamb and Julia Lohmann who collaborated with local practitioners in East Iceland (see our previous article about the work here).

It seems apt therefore that the identity and trophy for this new annual award also came about through a collaboration. Designed by Björn Loki Björnsson, Elsa Jónsdóttir and Kristín María Sigthórsdóttir, the award design takes its inspiration from light. It symbolises the ‘lightbulb moment’ of getting ideas, guiding the way in creative work as well as putting someone in the spotlight. The three creative minds who worked on this project had not worked together before, and were brought together by the Iceland Design Centre.

‘Loki who is a graphic designer came up with the idea of the identity of the award, that should be a light, to translate from a 2D logo/font into a 3D neon light. Then he got Elsa, who is also a graphic designer, to work with him to design the font and logo of the awards as well as the website,’ comments Kristín María. ‘I came in as an experience and product designer to take part in realising the steps from the 2D into 3D, as well as putting together the award ceremony. So we worked together on the sign itself and then co-designed the trophy which we wanted to see as an extension of award identity.’

On Thursday 20 November at the award ceremony in Reykjavik, the winner was announced. Karna and Þórunn received the shining souvenir of success on behalf of the entire project team and it was only then that the trophy was revealed in its full glory, handmade by a local craftsman. Explains Kristín María, ‘We chose to use a stripped light or not to add colour to the light to represent raw energy of design culture in Iceland and also because it’s the first time ever this award is granted.’

The Icelandic Design Award aims at attracting attention towards the importance and quality of the Icelandic design and architecture. It honours achievement and excellence. The award includes the trophy and a prize of 1,000,000 ISK, awarded by the Minister of Industries and Innovation. A panel of industry experts selected the 2014 winner from a shortlist of five entries, more information on which can be found on the award website.

Photos courtesy of the Iceland Design Centre.

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