The Museum of Design and Applied Art’s summer exhibition CHANCE ENCOUNTERS – Towards modernity in Icelandic design focuses on the arrival of modernism in Icelandic domestic interiors from 1930s into the 1980s.

The exhibition includes pieces from the collections of the Museum of Design and Applied Art and other Icelandic cultural museums, but also showcases chance encounters with objects that have been ‘well kept but not forgotten’ while preserved in private homes. These objects have shown how much the young Icelandic design history has left to reveal.

One of the exhibitions goal was to provoke knowledge among the Icelandic people on the valuable national heritage the period from 1930 to 1980 brought forward.


The exhibition is a rare chance to see works by the first Icelandic furniture makers. Many of them studied in the neighboring countries, Denmark in particular. The influence of leading Danish furniture designers of the time can be found in many of the Icelandic designs. Many also drew on earlier sources such as the German Bauhaus-school and the De Stijl group.


The exhibition reveals the boundaries of tradition and modernity in furniture making as the arrival of new materials such as plywood, chromium-plated tubular steel, iron and novel strings.


Special attention is drawn to the pioneering work of Icelandic women in the textile scene. You’ll see a diverse selection of hand-woven cloths, a field that flourished before the mechanical mass production, along textile screen printing by the women of Gallery Langbrók from the 1970s.


Some of the textile printing reminds us that

“resemblances are far from rare”



The exhibition is curated by Dr. Arndís S. Árnadóttir and design historian Elísabet V. Ingvarsdóttir.

It runs until October 13th – rush over, if you haven’t seen it yet!

More information on the The Museum of Design and Applied Art here. More on the exhibition here.

Images courtesy of The Museum of Design and Applied Art