Until May 19, Sparks Design Space is presenting an exhibition of The Designers and Farmers Project.
This project brings together of one of the oldest professions in the country, farmers, and one of the youngest professions, product designers. Matís collaborates with the Academy of the Arts on the project.
The Designers and Farmers Project spanned four years, from 2007 – 2011, and was divided into two parts; course and research. During these four years, the course was taught three times as part of a BA Degree
in Product Design. Thirty students and eleven farms from all over the country participated in that part.
The products which have been developed in the research part are the Rabarbía Rhubarb Caramel from Langamýri in Skeiðar, the Black Pudding Cake from Möðrudalur on Fjöll, the Rye Bread Roll Cake and the small rolls cakes for the restaurant Hali in Suðursveit and the Skyr Confectionary from the Creamery in Erpsstaðir in Dalir. The Designers and Farmers Project was envisaged as a gift to the farmers’ community in the hope that the project would create precedent and cause multiple
ripples into society.
Sigríður Sigurjónsdóttir, Professor of Product Design at the Iceland Academy of the Arts, sought out Brynhildur Pálsdóttir and Guðfinna Mjöll Magnúsdóttir, product designers, to develop a six week course in food design.
The organisation Straight from the Farm (Beint frá býli) had recently been established to encourage farmers to begin home production. At the same time, the Nordic countries were bringing in the so-called New Nordic Kitchen which the chef Gunnar Karl at Dill spearheaded in this country. Thus, there were many events which conspired to inspire the Designers and Farmers Project.
Sigríður Sigurjónsdóttir, Brynhildur Pálsdóttir and Guðfinna Mjöll Magnúsdóttir:
„We viewed the farms as small companies dotted around the country and saw countless opportunities. We saw an opportunity to create new traditions. We wanted to see food produce based on uniqueness
and good design, we were bored of the lack of courage and the imitations which ruled the market.
Here, we thought, was a need for designers and we believed that we could demonstrate new opportunities in food production with the advent of design. It is because of this that the Designers and Farmers Project came into being.“
The Rabarbía caramel is made from childhood memories of rhubarb, when children took a rhubarb stick and sugar in a glass to dip the rhubarb in. The rhubarb caramel is shaped like a rhubarb stick and the packaging is designed with a view to the product being well suited as a present for any occasion. The caramel is handmade with care by the farmers and developed in collaboration with the Iceland Academy of the Arts Designers and Farmers Project, Matís and the master baker Örvar Birgisson.
The Rye Bread Roll Cake is part of a menu developed for Hali in Suðursveit; a menu which reveals to Þórbergssetur restaurant guests, the radiance of eccentricity of Þórbergur Þórðrson, the writer, who was born and brought up there. The rye bread roll cakes are served with beetroot sauce or orange/carrot sauce. Þórbergur’s eccentricity and his compulsion for measurement provided inspiration to the design team for the setting for the serving of the refreshments. In particular the chopping block, which is a wooden chopping board for the roll cake. The hope is that the refreshments become classics and a model in the market for regional produce, where local produce and cultural reference is utilised.
The Skyr Confectionary is a high quality sweet, covered in Valrhona chocolate and filled with homemade skyr from the Erpsstaðir Creamery. Grapevine chose the skyr confectionery as the product of the year in 2011. The Designers and Farmers Project in collaboration with the Erpsstaðir Creamery formally presented the skyr confectionary at DesignMarch 2011. The tower in Lækjartorg was borrowed and it was transformed into a temporary retail place for the skyr confectionary during DesignMarch. Following on from this, the Erpsstaðir Creamery began production of the skyr confectionary and just under a year later, 20,000 pieces had been produced, which is far more than planned.
The Black Pudding Cake was developed for the restaurant Fjallakaffi in Möðrudalur in Fjöll. Haggis and black pudding dough is in turn poured into a specially designed tin and the cake therefore is reminiscent of marble cake when cut.
Students in BA course and research project: Arna Rut Þorleifsdóttir, Auður Ösp Guðmundsdóttir, Brynjar Sigurðarson, Halla Kristín Hannesdóttir, Kristín Birna Bjarnadóttir, Kristín Þóra Sigurðardóttir, María Markovic , Sabrina Stigler, Steffi Silbermann
Graphic Design by Jordi Serra and Kristján Björn Þórðarson
Images by Vigfús Birgisson