Collection by Tiffany Orvet

Reykjavik’s New Design District


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.

Reykjavik creates this kind of frozen-in-time picture with its colorful corrugated-clad houses and ice capped mountains. But that picture is changing—across the world, Iceland’s first generation of homegrown designers are making waves in fashion, architecture, product design and more. Back home, they’re filling up the capital city’s deserted industrial spaces with their workshops and galleries, and spawning a renaissance in a city that has never been so alive. Nowhere is this more evident than in Reykjavik’s old harbor district. A couple of years ago designers started moving in, turning former fishing sheds and factories into buzzing studio space. Shops and cafes have followed suit. And now the city has plans underway to further develop the area into a vibrant live/work area close to the city center. Here are some of the cornerstones of Reykjavik’s budding new design district.

Folks from the Iceland Design Centre tend to identify the “Design District” as starting at least several blocks west of...
The Harpa Concert Hall and Conference Center was designed by Ólafur Elíasson together with Henning Larsen Architects...
The Harbour Path, or Hafnarstígur in Icelandic, was developed by architect Massimo Santanicchia together with Mattia...
The décor at the newly opened MAR Restaurant (December 2012) reflects the historic harbor of Reykjavik.
A map on the wall shows where MAR pulls its culinary inspiration from.
Design shop Mýrin next door to MAR shares the same aesthetic and specializes in modern Icelandic design, like these Not...
Huts in the Old Harbour used to be where fishermen did their baiting work and tended to their daily catch.
Keeping it real: Saegreifinn (Sea Baron), a popular restaurant in the Old Harbour, is owned by retired fisherman...
Hamborgarbúllan is another popular and distinctive restaurant on the Path.
Next stop is the brand new Icelandair Hotel Reykjavik Marina Hotel that opened in 2012.
Across the street, a multi-use complex-cum-culture house brings together a batch of Icelandic artists from different...
Netagerðin is a combined workshop and atelier for three design firms: BBOLLA, STÁSS, VOLKI and one independent music...
Next door is the restaurant Forettabarrinn.
At the end of the harbor is a small peninsula called Grandi. Here you find Kría Cycles, a truly do-it-all bike shop.
A long stretch of connected fishing sheds run the length of Grandi, and this is really the heart of the design district.
Steinunn is the fashion brand of Steinunn Sigurðardóttir.
And don’t miss the inviting headquarters and shop of reigning royalty when it comes to fashionable Icelandic wool...
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