written by:
April 26, 2011

I just returned from a four-day trip to Reykjavik and am still filled with excitement. Though the sky was grey for most of my time in Iceland, the visit was anything but dark and gloomy. The colors found all around the country, from the landscape to the cityscape to the clothes people wore, spanned the full spectrum. Buildings stretched across the city's skyline were dotted in teal, brick red, and mustard. Shops were filled with traditional knitwear in elaborate patterns and avant-garde pieces (think Bjork) in bold primary colors. With every coffee shop I popped my head into and every corner I turned, I was treated with flash upon flash of color statements and mixes. The architecture, the sweaters, the bikes, and the cars were painted in pop washes that complimented the bright, cheery moods of the Icelanders I met during my stay—and provided ample ammo to fight away the solemn skies and hail showers that plagued our trip.

Buildings seen from our Penthouse terrace framed pops of color perfectly.
Buildings seen from our Penthouse terrace framed pops of color perfectly.
1 / 20
Around every corner it was common to spot unique shingle and roof color combos like this forest green and salmon house.
Around every corner it was common to spot unique shingle and roof color combos like this forest green and salmon house.
2 / 20
Little plastic dolls in this storefront perfectly illustrate Reykjavik's palette of bright hues.
Little plastic dolls in this storefront perfectly illustrate Reykjavik's palette of bright hues.
3 / 20
More vibrant colors adorning the simple lines of the city's center.
More vibrant colors adorning the simple lines of the city's center.
4 / 20
I loved this collection of children drawings of the Hallgrímskirkja, a stunning Lutheran church overlooking the city.
I loved this collection of children drawings of the Hallgrímskirkja, a stunning Lutheran church overlooking the city.
5 / 20
The Hallgrímskirkja is visible from all over. Views from the top reveal a rainbow of rooftops.
The Hallgrímskirkja is visible from all over. Views from the top reveal a rainbow of rooftops.
6 / 20
While driving through a field of moss-covered volcanic rock, I spotted a group of cave explorers in orange, reminding me of a team of astronauts walking on another planet.
While driving through a field of moss-covered volcanic rock, I spotted a group of cave explorers in orange, reminding me of a team of astronauts walking on another planet.
7 / 20
Icelandic horses are richly colored, like this guy who braved a hail storm long enough for me to snap his picture.
Icelandic horses are richly colored, like this guy who braved a hail storm long enough for me to snap his picture.
8 / 20
Even in nature the colors are vibrant and intense in Iceland, like this rust-red hillside.
Even in nature the colors are vibrant and intense in Iceland, like this rust-red hillside.
9 / 20
Reykjavik, like many cities, is covered in pockets of graffiti. But here the graffiti seemed even more colorful. Gone was a the grime in cities like New York.
Reykjavik, like many cities, is covered in pockets of graffiti. But here the graffiti seemed even more colorful. Gone was a the grime in cities like New York.
10 / 20
In many an alley I found walls and walls of graffiti.
In many an alley I found walls and walls of graffiti.
11 / 20
There were also examples of knit graffiti in Reykjavik, like this tree, not painted, but covered in a colorful sheath.
There were also examples of knit graffiti in Reykjavik, like this tree, not painted, but covered in a colorful sheath.
12 / 20
A pink and yellow doorway made a rather boring building remarkable.
A pink and yellow doorway made a rather boring building remarkable.
13 / 20
My favorite shop discovered was Icelandic designer Mundi's boutique, which featured graphic t-shirts.
My favorite shop discovered was Icelandic designer Mundi's boutique, which featured graphic t-shirts.
14 / 20
Brightly colored womens' clothing.
Brightly colored womens' clothing.
15 / 20
Mundi also had interesting home designs like this blanket that I bought, which doubles as a coat.
Mundi also had interesting home designs like this blanket that I bought, which doubles as a coat.
16 / 20
This giant Styrofoam sculpture lives in Mundi along with the ready-to-wear fashions.
This giant Styrofoam sculpture lives in Mundi along with the ready-to-wear fashions.
17 / 20
Secondhand stores were filled with Danish furniture. If only I knew a way to get these items back to New York cheaply!
Secondhand stores were filled with Danish furniture. If only I knew a way to get these items back to New York cheaply!
18 / 20
While eating in a local cafe, I was pleasantly surprised by the color coded books at the barista stand.
While eating in a local cafe, I was pleasantly surprised by the color coded books at the barista stand.
19 / 20
Babies sleep in carriages outside in the cold while mothers drink tea in the warmth. This shocked me almost as much of the rainbows of color all over Reykjavik!<br /><br /><p><em><strong>Don't miss a word of Dwell! Download our </strong></em><a href="http
Babies sleep in carriages outside in the cold while mothers drink tea in the warmth. This shocked me almost as much of the rainbows of color all over Reykjavik!

Don't miss a word of Dwell! Download our FREE app from iTunes, friend us on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter!

20 / 20
Buildings seen from our Penthouse terrace framed pops of color perfectly.
Buildings seen from our Penthouse terrace framed pops of color perfectly.

Join the Discussion

Loading comments...

Latest Articles

Modern living room with furniture designed by Ludovica + Roberto Palomba
These oases by the sea, many done up in white, make stunning escapes.
February 08, 2016
A Philippe Starck standing lamp and an Eames chaise longue bracket the living room; two Lawrence Weiner prints hang behind a pair of Warren Platner chairs and a table purchased from a River Oaks estate sale; at far left of the room, a partial wall of new
Texas might have a big reputation, but these homes show the variety of shapes and sizes in the Lone Star State.
February 08, 2016
Montigo gas-burning fireplace in spacious living room.
Built atop the foundation of a flood-damaged home, this 3,000-square-foot Maryland home features vibrant furniture placed in front of stunning views of a nearby estuary.
February 08, 2016
Studio addition in Seattle
An architect couple sets out to transform a run-down property.
February 08, 2016
West Elm coffee table, custom Joybird sofa, and matching Jens Risom chairs in living room of Westchester renovation by Khanna Shultz.
Every Monday, @dwell and @designmilk invite fans and experts on Twitter to weigh in on trending topics in design.
February 08, 2016
modern lycabettus penthouse apartment living room vertical oak slats
For the modernists among us, these spare spaces are a dream come true.
February 08, 2016
The square fountain at the courtyard's center is a modern rendition of a very traditional feature in many Middle Eastern homes.
From a large gathering space for family or a tranquil sanctuary, these seven designs feature some very different takes on the ancient idea of a courtyard.
February 08, 2016
stdaluminum 021
Since windows and doors are such important aspects of your home, it’s always a good idea to take the time to evaluate how they fit within the lifestyle you want. Whether you’re in the middle of constructing a new home, or you’re considering replacing your current setup, there are multiple elements to consider when it comes time to make the final decisions. Milgard® Windows & Doors understands how vital these choices are to the well-being of your home and has developed ways to turn the process into a journey that can be just as enjoyable as it is fulfilling. Not sure where to start? We gathered some helpful insights from their team of experts to help us better understand what goes into the process of bringing your vision to life.
February 08, 2016
modern fire resistant green boulder loewen windows south facade triple planed low-e glass
These houses in Broncos Country prove modern design is alive in the Rocky Mountains.
February 08, 2016
french evolution paris daniel rozensztroch living area eames la chaise butterfly chair moroccan berber rug
A tastemaker brings his distinct vision to an industrial loft with a centuries-old pedigree.
February 07, 2016
senses touch products
The haptic impact can’t be underplayed. The tactility of a material—its temperature, its texture­—can make the difference between pleasure and discontent.
February 07, 2016
senses taste products
Ambience is a key ingredient to any meal—materials, textures, and mood all impart a certain flavor.
February 07, 2016
senses smell products
The nose knows: Though fleeting and immaterial, scent is the lifeblood of Proustian memories, both evoking and imprinting visceral associations.
February 06, 2016
design icon josef frank villa beer vienna
Josef Frank: Against Design, which runs through April 2016 at Vienna’s Austrian Museum of Applied Arts/Contemporary Art, is a comprehensive study of the prolific architect, designer, and author.
February 06, 2016
senses sound products
From an alarm to a symphony, audio frequencies hold the power to elicit an emotional call-and-response.
February 06, 2016
Italian Apline home with double-height walls on one facade.
Every week, we highlight one amazing Dwell home that went viral on Pinterest. Follow Dwell's Pinterest account for more daily design inspiration.
February 05, 2016
A built-in sofa with Design Tex upholstery marks the boundary between the two-level addition and the bungalow. Leading up to the master bedroom, a perforated metal staircase, lit from above, casts a Sigmar Polke–like shadow grid on the concrete floor.
From a minimalist Walter Gropius design to a curving sculptural stair, these six stairways run the gamut.
February 05, 2016
distant structure lakeside prefab norway facade stones green roof
Dwell has traveled all over the world, from Tasmania to Indonesia, to report on modern houses.
February 05, 2016
modern lycabettus penthouse apartment master bedroom atrium
Get ready for a weekend of rest with these sleepy, little cocoons.
February 05, 2016
lamp show 99 cent plus gallery 0
At Brooklyn's 99¢ Plus gallery, 30 artists and designers re-imagine the lamp in an illuminating light show.
February 04, 2016
Hidden storage stairwell with raw brass hardware
Having ample space to stow items is a daily struggle—peep these modern homes for some ideas on maximizing your square footage.
February 04, 2016
modern fairhaven beach house blackbutt eucalyptus living room Patricia Urquiola sofa
Whether it's along a coast in Australia or the French Alps, wood provides a natural touch in these interiors.
February 04, 2016
Glass and steel sculpture in Printemps store of Paris.
In the Paris' venerable Printemps department store, two Toronto-based firms were tasked with enlivening a new atrium and creating a unique experience for visitors. YabuPushelberg, partnering with UUfie, designed this stunning steel "sail" embedded with vibrant dichroic glass.
February 04, 2016
Monochromatic Master Bedroom in Copenhagen Townhouse
Whether it's to maximize limited light or create a soothing interior, these five projects go white in a big way.
February 04, 2016
EQ3 Assembly quilt by Kenneth LaVallee
The new Assembly collection from EQ3 celebrates up-and-coming figures in Canadian design. Discover this newly appointed class, which debuted at Toronto's Interior Design Show, here.
February 03, 2016
The Greenhouses of Half Moon Bay
Each week, we tap into Dwell's Instagram community to bring you the most viral design and architecture shots of the week.
February 03, 2016
Deck of Australian addition to Edwardian home.
A 1,500-square-foot home in Melbourne welcomes a modern black and white kitchen, dining, and living area.
February 03, 2016
open plan concrete home in japan
Embracing the organic, imperfect material, these raw concrete surfaces are a step up from exposed brick.
February 03, 2016
Renovated DC Row House loft space with Arne Jacobsen Egg Chair.
The classic designer's signature and comfortable forms continue to be popular in homes today.
February 03, 2016
Zinc-roofed cabin France.
An architect builds an energy-efficient home near one of France’s most popular pilgrimage sites.
February 03, 2016