Now in their third year, The Grapevine Design Awards are bigger than ever.

We rounded up a small panel of design experts and asked them to determine what was most cutting-edge in 2012. In addition to ‘Best Product,’ ‘Best Product Line,’ and ‘Best Design Project,’ the panel added a new category, ‘Best Fashion Design’ to the roster. Judging by the number of runners-up, it looks like it was a good year for Iceland’s growing design scene.

Without further ado, here are the winners:

Holster by Fur Trade

A unisex vest for carrying small items, Holster is the outcome of a cross-disciplinary collaboration between graphic designer Siggi Odds and fashion designer Bóas Kristjánsson. Made from leftover cuts of local high quality fish leather in Iceland, it promotes recycling and environmental values. It is high quality and genuinely functional—a practical new design solution to add to our work and travel wardrobes. We appreciate that the entire product is well thought-out from the craftsmanship to the retailer choices, brand development and communication. Holster suits many target groups—perhaps more than it is given credit for—men, women, craftsmen for carrying their essential tools as well as hipsters walking down Laugavegur with their iPhones and headsets.


Prik by Brynjar Sigurðsson

Prik by Brynjar Sigurðsson, an exhibition of wooden objects at SPARK Design Space, leans towards design as art—an example of how varied and wide the spectrum of Icelandic design is today. Beautiful development of original, visually interesting work with fishing ropes and old knots, Brynjar’s Prik has a strong connection to Icelandic culture. Brynjar is one of the most promising new names in Icelandic design.

Fifty by Dögg Guðmundsdóttir and Arnved Design Studio

A new take on the classic Flag Halyard chair (1950) by Hans Wegner, Fifty is aesthetically beautiful, comfortable and well suited to both indoors and outdoors use. Rope as material is used in a new, interesting way, and its design provides privacy in a subtle way. Being produced by Ligne Roset and receiving the Wallpaper Design Award are both notable achievements for an Icelandic designer. We admire Dögg’s long and successful career in furniture and product design.

We look forward to seeing more in 2013:

Jónófón by Jón Helgi Hólmgeirsson

A graduation project by the young product designer Jón Helgi Hólmgeirsson, Jónófón is a flat pack carton-plywood-and-paper cup record player that you put together yourself. Fun, carry-with-you, affordable, DIY, it’s a great take on a classic product. We also appreciate the beautiful form language and the overall well-thought-out concept.

Cod II by Kría Jewelry

Cod II by Kría Jewelry (Jóhanna Methúsalemsdóttir) is a collection of jewellery inspired by cod bones. An interesting, beautiful new take on cod—the staple fish that kept the nation alive for centuries—the connection to local culture is strong. While the collection is strongly rooted in the local tradition and the form, language is almost poetical; it speaks to wide audiences both across cultures and sexes and is an economically successful product.
The objects have great proportions and compositions and have an interesting relation to human body. Details are well considered and the use of two different metals, silver and brass, is clever. In addition to looking great, this also makes the items more affordable. Kría’s concept is strong and the story is good. The extended product, from marketing to packaging and distribution, is well done.



Is it an accessory? Is it jewellery? STAKA may lack definition but certainly doesn’t lack in originality. The collection of modern jewellery combines beautiful craftsmanship and local materials with modern technology, and is beautifully presented.

As We Grow

As We Grow is a sustainable, high quality children’s clothing label with beautifully designed items promoting a great thought: reusing and expanding the lifetime of children’s clothes—perfect for the most important people in the world.

Torg Í Biðstöðu

Run by the city, Torg Í Biðstöðu is a programme that makes use of various ‘meanwhile spaces’ in Reykjavík. It invites and funds enthusiastic creatives (not just design professionals) to reconsider their relationship to their surroundings.

Torg Í Biðstöðu has a great impact on the community, revealing how design and design thinking can change our society with little money and effort. While meanwhile projects take place in all big cities around the world, very few other capitals directly encourage and support it the way the City of Reykjavík does. It is also a clever path past the heavy, time-consuming city planning agenda in trying new things fast. We like the focus on “doing.”

What Torg Í Biðstöðu may lack in professionalism (even if the 2012 programme was bigger, better, more professional and better run than the previous years’ programmes), it more than makes up for in the joy it brings to people working on things together and enjoying our city during the short Icelandic summer.



Life in the Vatnsmýri

Another project that has to do with the urban environment, Life in the Vatnsmýri is a great example of how to use design to communicate complicated scientific concepts to a wide audience. Professionally produced by product designer Brynhildur Pálsdóttir, architect Magnea Guðmundsdóttir, graphic designers Ármann Agnarsson and Jónas Valtýsson, and a team of scientists, the project dealt with an interesting topic—the relationship between nature and city in a country where city dwelling is a relatively recent phenomenon. We were also impressed by the extensive nature school activities run by the Nordic House in connection to the exhibition and loved the holistic take on the ecosystem in the Vatnsmýri area.

Ostwald Helgason

Ostwald Helgason are strong pattern and print makers. Their cuts are fantastic and colours excellent. Each collection is a holistic entity of its own. Everything else around the label is done in an equally impressive and professional way, from sales to fashion shows. We have nothing but praise for Ostwald Helgason, and we are proud of their international success. In a short time the label has developed quickly, and we, along with the rest of the fashion world, cannot wait to see what happens next.




Kron by KronKron

A label with a vibrant, fresh visual style and identity, you can spot a KronKron piece from a mile away. One of the cornerstones for the local design scene, their 2012 was strong and showed continued development. The label does a good job with communication and sales, and the collection features pieces that suit many body types.


Each Mundi collection is a holistic, well thought-out concept and the label has a strong identity—yet it caters to everybody from Ásgeir Trausti to our great aunt. The 2012 collections showed maturity in printing and excellent development in tailoring. We also appreciate that the items are made in Iceland.


We look forward to see more in 2013:

Milla Snorrason

Milla Snorrason has gone from socks and glasses to a mini collection of clothing that is quirky, original in its sense of aesthetics and high in quality with well thought-out details and excellent, sophisticated patterning inspired by Reykjavik!


New talent, Gudmundur Jörundsson has shown exciting men’s fashion and done great work with Kórmakur and Skjöldur. His own collections take interesting turns and show fast development. We hear there is plenty more to come, also for women, and cannot wait to see it!

On The Panel:

Helgi Steinar Helgason, architect at the Iceland Design Centre

Sari Peltonen, contributing writer at The Reykjavík Grapevine

Rúna Thors, industrial designer and teacher at Iceland Academy of the Arts

Auður Karitas, designer and stylist at Geysir

Hafsteinn Júlíusson, designer at HAF