Flags is a series of ten wood flags that reflect a personal view into the colors of Reykjavik and its many shades.

Háleiti og bustadir, Háleitisbraut

From the ten districts of Reykjavík city, ten streets were chosen, one from each district.

Pictures were taken of the front doors and walls of each and every house in each street and color palettes were created from them. The conclusions from this research into the coloring of Reykjavik were drawn together into the ten flags.

The color and form of each flag, is descriptive of each street, while at the same time providing insight into the district as a whole.

Hlidar, Drapuhlid

Further research of the districts showed that the color palette of Reykjavik is different depending on what era they are from. The age of each district is therefore shown in the flag size, one centimeter per year.

In each flag, shapes and lines were used that were apparent in the relevant street.

 

Kjalarnes, Esjugrund

The number of colors in the flags varies, since the streets vary in their length and how colorful they are. All the colors are mixed and painted by hand. The colors in each flag indicate the frequency of the colors in each street, not the quantity.

Hjardarhagi, Vesturbaer

 

Why did you choose to work with colours and flags?

It was my passion for colors and color combinations that led to my interest to research the colors around me.
Since the French revolution in 1789, flags have been used as unifying symbols for specific groups of people that live in a different territory of the world. The reason why I chose to present my color research of Reykjavik in flags is because I hope that the flags can be unifying symbols for the districts of Reykjavík. Furthermore I think it is positive that each district stands together as a whole in order to increase the district spirit.

Could you give examples of where the flags got their shapes?

The color and form of each flag, is descriptive of each street, while at the same time providing insight into the district as a whole.
The color palette of Reykjavik is different depending on what era they are from. That is the reason why the age of each district is shown in the flag size, one centimeter per year.
The form is a direct reference to the district. I used forms and lines that I felt were apparent in the relevant street;
The oldest district in Reykjavik is called the town center, Miðborg. The buildings there are delicate and the shape is taken from their roofs.

Midborg, Njálsgata

In Hlídar district it is common that the steps to the front doors form mirror images, from where the form is taken.

The shape of the Breiðholt flag comes from the difference in height in the district where the height is used to extenuate the landscape.

The most apparent buildings in Kjalarnes are wood houses, which are somewhat reminiscent of summer housing. The form is derived from their roofs.

The form of the Bryggju district flag is derived from the waves in the corrugated aluminum that cover all the houses in the district, as well as from the waves in the sea.

How does your work show that you are Icelandic?

I enjoy working with my environment. But that does not mean my work is totally and entirely Icelandic. I believe that the Flags project can easily be transferred to other cities in the world.

Nevertheless, unlike many other cities, Reykjavík is still growing in all directions. My feeling is that a district spirit is lacking in the youngest districts. Something that is clearly present in the older ones, especially in Vesturbær, Hlíðar and Miðborg. The experience of growing up in the city for many years, and I think reflects in the Flags, is maybe how it can bee seen that I am Icelandic.

Who are your design heroes?

They are many, but I really like Hella Jongerius and her color studies and Bertjan Pot and his masks. I also like the work of Raw Color Studio. Yes, I’m very much into the Dutch!

What is good product design in your opinion?
(Not too much) Quality over quantity. Brilliant solutions. Beautiful details. Long lasting. Green thinking.

What is your favorite spot in Reykjavik and why?

My favorite spot in Reykjavík is at Laugarnes. When you stand there and watch the ocean in Faxaflói meet the sky and the mountain Esja behind. The color palette there is amazingly beautiful and ever changing.

 

Flags are on display at the Iceland Academy of the Arts graduation exhibition at Reykjavik Art Museum Hafnarhús until May 6th.

 

Images courtesy of Elsa Ýr Bernhardsdóttir.