Austurland: Designs from Nowhere explores the possibilities for small-scale design and production in East Iceland, using locally sourced materials and skills. The exhibited work was created following a series of workshops that took place in Autumn 2013 featuring the designers Max Lamb, Þórunn Árnadóttir, Julia Lohmann and Gero Grundmann collaborating with local practitioners in Egilsstaðir, Djúpivogur, Eskifjörður, Vopnafjörður and Norðfjörður. The products are presented for the first time at Spark Design Space during DesignMarch.

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The exhibited designs reveal an intriguing mix of narratives, interspersing old and new materials and techniques, celebrating the collaborative nature of the project and demonstrating the range of resources, skills and materials that can be found in the area. Working with the designers were established companies such as the Egersund net-making factory in Eskifjörður, alongside individuals with specialist knowledge of local materials like Vilmundur Þorgrímsson, a geology expert from Djúpivogur. Their unique contributions to the design processes can be seen in the exhibited work, made using fishing net, reindeer antler, seaweed, driftwood and volcano rock.
For each designer, the workshops started with an intensive learning process, to help understand better the potential of the materials and resources found among their new surroundings. 

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The work will be commercially available via Spark Design Space, initially in limited numbers, with the intention of demonstrating the potential for small-scale production in East Iceland. The long-term aims of the project are to encourage more companies in the region to collaborate with designers and encouraging investment for future production opportunities.  

A thirty minute documentary film by Karna Sigurðardóttir & Sebastian Ziegler will be screened as part of the exhibition. The film explores the designers’ approaches and experiences during the workshops.
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During DesignMarch Spark will stay open as follows:
10.00 – 22.00 on Thursday 27, 10.00 – 18.00 on Friday 28, 12.00 – 17.00 on Saturday 29 and Sunday 30.


The project was initiated by Pete Collard and Karna Sigurðardóttir
Egersund Island, net making factory
Þorpssmiðjan, prototype workshop
Jónsver: Sewing workshop
Villi í Hvarfi, nature scientist
Hjölli, stone smith
Photos by Ziegler & Sigurðardóttir