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Reykjavik’s New Design District

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What do creatives see in abandoned docks and old fishing sheds? Opportunity. Now the City of Reykjavik is working with local designers to makeover its old fishing harbor into Iceland’s first design district.
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  Folks from the Iceland Design Centre tend to identify the “Design District” as starting at least several blocks west of the magnificent Harpa Concert Hall and Conference Center.
    Folks from the Iceland Design Centre tend to identify the “Design District” as starting at least several blocks west of the magnificent Harpa Concert Hall and Conference Center.
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  The Harpa Concert Hall and Conference Center was designed by Ólafur Elíasson together with Henning Larsen Architects and Batteríið Architects. It opened in 2011. Photo by: Tiffany Orvet
    The Harpa Concert Hall and Conference Center was designed by Ólafur Elíasson together with Henning Larsen Architects and Batteríið Architects. It opened in 2011. Photo by: Tiffany Orvet
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  The Harbour Path, or Hafnarstígur in Icelandic, was developed by architect Massimo Santanicchia together with Mattia Gambardella and Ragnar Már Nikulásson in 2012.  It’s a playful painted path that starts at Harpa and continues for about 1 kilometer, connecting Harpa and the downtown area to the Fishpacking district of the Old Harbour. Photo by: Tiffany Orvet
    The Harbour Path, or Hafnarstígur in Icelandic, was developed by architect Massimo Santanicchia together with Mattia Gambardella and Ragnar Már Nikulásson in 2012. It’s a playful painted path that starts at Harpa and continues for about 1 kilometer, connecting Harpa and the downtown area to the Fishpacking district of the Old Harbour. Photo by: Tiffany Orvet
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  The décor at the newly opened MAR Restaurant (December 2012) reflects the historic harbor of Reykjavik. Black treated wood panels conjure up the old harbor houses and pendant lights hang from fishing nets. Local designers Hafsteinn Júlíusson and Karitas Sveinsdóttir of design studio HAF did the interiors, while ceramic designer Guðný Hafsteins created the tableware and graphic designer Siggi Odds contributed with some elements of the décor. Photo by: Tiffany Orvet
    The décor at the newly opened MAR Restaurant (December 2012) reflects the historic harbor of Reykjavik. Black treated wood panels conjure up the old harbor houses and pendant lights hang from fishing nets. Local designers Hafsteinn Júlíusson and Karitas Sveinsdóttir of design studio HAF did the interiors, while ceramic designer Guðný Hafsteins created the tableware and graphic designer Siggi Odds contributed with some elements of the décor. Photo by: Tiffany Orvet
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  A map on the wall shows where MAR pulls its culinary inspiration from. Photo by: Tiffany Orvet
    A map on the wall shows where MAR pulls its culinary inspiration from. Photo by: Tiffany Orvet
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  Design shop Mýrin next door to MAR shares the same aesthetic and specializes in modern Icelandic design, like these Not Knot pillows by Ragnheiður Ösp Sigurðardóttir. Photo by: Tiffany Orvet
    Design shop Mýrin next door to MAR shares the same aesthetic and specializes in modern Icelandic design, like these Not Knot pillows by Ragnheiður Ösp Sigurðardóttir. Photo by: Tiffany Orvet
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  Huts in the Old Harbour used to be where fishermen did their baiting work and tended to their daily catch. Today they house shops, galleries, restaurants, and whale watching excursions among other things. Photo by: Tiffany Orvet
    Huts in the Old Harbour used to be where fishermen did their baiting work and tended to their daily catch. Today they house shops, galleries, restaurants, and whale watching excursions among other things. Photo by: Tiffany Orvet
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  Keeping it real: Saegreifinn (Sea Baron), a popular restaurant in the Old Harbour, is owned by retired fisherman Kjartan Halldorsson. It’s famous for its lobster soup (called humarsupa), but it also serves hakarl (cubes of putrefied shark) and minke whale meat (a species that is not endangered) among its Icelandic specialties. Photo by: Tiffany Orvet
    Keeping it real: Saegreifinn (Sea Baron), a popular restaurant in the Old Harbour, is owned by retired fisherman Kjartan Halldorsson. It’s famous for its lobster soup (called humarsupa), but it also serves hakarl (cubes of putrefied shark) and minke whale meat (a species that is not endangered) among its Icelandic specialties. Photo by: Tiffany Orvet
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  Hamborgarbúllan is another popular and distinctive restaurant on the Path. It was a coffeeshop until Tommi Tómasson opened his burger shop here in 2004. Photo by: Tiffany Orvet
    Hamborgarbúllan is another popular and distinctive restaurant on the Path. It was a coffeeshop until Tommi Tómasson opened his burger shop here in 2004. Photo by: Tiffany Orvet
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  Next stop is the brand new Icelandair Hotel Reykjavik Marina Hotel that opened in 2012. A fully functioning dry-dock complete with a towering ship stands literally at its doorstep. Inside lies a quirky combination of whimsical and hipster cool. Many of the design elements and antiques in the rooms are locally sourced. Photo by: Tiffany Orvet
    Next stop is the brand new Icelandair Hotel Reykjavik Marina Hotel that opened in 2012. A fully functioning dry-dock complete with a towering ship stands literally at its doorstep. Inside lies a quirky combination of whimsical and hipster cool. Many of the design elements and antiques in the rooms are locally sourced. Photo by: Tiffany Orvet
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  Across the street, a multi-use complex-cum-culture house brings together a batch of Icelandic artists from different genres. From great food and music, to designers working with textiles, ceramics, upholstery, and more. Photo by: Tiffany Orvet
    Across the street, a multi-use complex-cum-culture house brings together a batch of Icelandic artists from different genres. From great food and music, to designers working with textiles, ceramics, upholstery, and more. Photo by: Tiffany Orvet
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  Netagerðin is a combined workshop and atelier for three design firms: BBOLLA, STÁSS, VOLKI and one independent music label, KONGÓ. Photo by: Tiffany Orvet
    Netagerðin is a combined workshop and atelier for three design firms: BBOLLA, STÁSS, VOLKI and one independent music label, KONGÓ. Photo by: Tiffany Orvet
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  Next door is the restaurant Forettabarrinn. The name means “starters bar” which corresponds with the small tapas-style dishes they serve. Like Netagerðin, the restaurant is also set up as a space to both enjoy what’s on offer or to get work done, or perhaps a bit of both. Photo by: Tiffany Orvet
    Next door is the restaurant Forettabarrinn. The name means “starters bar” which corresponds with the small tapas-style dishes they serve. Like Netagerðin, the restaurant is also set up as a space to both enjoy what’s on offer or to get work done, or perhaps a bit of both. Photo by: Tiffany Orvet
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  At the end of the harbor is a small peninsula called Grandi. Here you find Kría Cycles, a truly do-it-all bike shop. They’ll fix your flat tire or build you a custom bike from scratch. They’ll even serve up an Espresso in their café while you ponder the benefits of fixed gear vs freewheeling. Kria was started by Iceland-based English architect turned workshop owner David Robertson in 2009. Photo by: Tiffany Orvet
    At the end of the harbor is a small peninsula called Grandi. Here you find Kría Cycles, a truly do-it-all bike shop. They’ll fix your flat tire or build you a custom bike from scratch. They’ll even serve up an Espresso in their café while you ponder the benefits of fixed gear vs freewheeling. Kria was started by Iceland-based English architect turned workshop owner David Robertson in 2009. Photo by: Tiffany Orvet
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  A long stretch of connected fishing sheds run the length of Grandi, and this is really the heart of the design district. Designers of every kind have taken spaces here for their studios, including product designer Sigga Heimis and fashion designer STEiNUNN. Photo by: Tiffany Orvet
    A long stretch of connected fishing sheds run the length of Grandi, and this is really the heart of the design district. Designers of every kind have taken spaces here for their studios, including product designer Sigga Heimis and fashion designer STEiNUNN. Photo by: Tiffany Orvet
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  Steinunn is the fashion brand of Steinunn Sigurðardóttir. Always memorable, Sigurðardóttir has a flair for the dramatic. As does her studio space. Photo by: Tiffany Orvet
    Steinunn is the fashion brand of Steinunn Sigurðardóttir. Always memorable, Sigurðardóttir has a flair for the dramatic. As does her studio space. Photo by: Tiffany Orvet
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  And don’t miss the inviting headquarters and shop of reigning royalty when it comes to fashionable Icelandic wool sweaters. They’re called Farmers Market, and their studio at the very end of the peninsula is worth the trek. Photo by: Tiffany Orvet
    And don’t miss the inviting headquarters and shop of reigning royalty when it comes to fashionable Icelandic wool sweaters. They’re called Farmers Market, and their studio at the very end of the peninsula is worth the trek. Photo by: Tiffany Orvet

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