Just returned to Iceland after years abroad, running her own design studio and working with the likes of Ikea, Indiska and Vitra, Sigga Heimis let us pull her aside from the DesignMarch 2011 preparations to ask a few questions.

 

What will you be up to during DesignMarch?

I will have three different things showing:

– Floor lamp and stools at the +10 exhibition, with a focus on our natural resources in Iceland.

– A light installation, sponsored by Ikea, at Toppstödin.

–  A new take on the shop windows of Stella, one of the oldest cosmetic shops in Reykjavik, together with set designer Systa Björnsdóttir.


What impact do you think DesignMarch has on the local design scene?

DesignMarch is such a great thing, it is a pleasure to participate in it!

It gets us designers to talk and work together, one of the things we need to work on here in Iceland. Icelanders can be solo players and I hope people understand that collaboration really pays off. Putting many smart and creative heads together gives much better results than sitting alone in a corner.

 

You spent a long time outside Iceland. Why did you choose to return?

Iceland is an amazing country with amazing people! Icelanders are creative and strong yet flexible and adaptable. We are used to the flexibility of nature and to have to think things over and we really needed to do so after the financial crash.

For me, these are exciting times. To build up and be creative is much more inspiring than to follow a straight path. I adore both Sweden and Italy, the countries that I have spent many years in, but Iceland comes first and I love being back.

 

Often distance gives a clearer perspective. Now that you are back, what are your thoughts on the local design scene?

The focus is very strong on the artistic side of design rather than the industrial. I would like to see more enthusiasm when it comes to finding our own identity in terms of industry, and not only the old heritage of materials.

There has been a lot of focus on the traditional materials like wool, but we have so many other precious materials, like aluminum, that can be very Icelandic.

I would like to take a more modern approach and at times, more professional approach as well. We have a very strong identity as a cultural nation when it comes to music and literature and I would love to see that happen in design as well.

Are there any designers or projects that you find particularly interesting in Iceland at the moment?

I really like what has happened in fashion. Farmers Market is a beautiful example in identity, quality and production, and the same goes for Steinunn. Both are extremely Icelandic brands, yet with such different characters.

When it comes to product design, things are not as mature. There are many sparks around that have strong possibilities to grow into good things. I really like Vík Prjónsdóttir‘s identity and quality, but I would love to see them go a bit more commercial and the products reach a bigger market. Aurum is another brand that I like and would like to see grow. When it comes to more specific disciplines, Össur and CCP are fantastic companies.