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Kraum: Carrying the Torch for the Founders of Reykjavík
One of the oldest houses in Reykjavík is located in Aðalstræti 10, where design shop Kraum currently offers unique design by over 200 designers. It is very fitting that Icelandic products are being sold in this historical building since it was originally built to promote  Icelandic production. In the mid 17th century there was very little production going on in Iceland and what we now know as Reykjavík was little more than farmlands and empty fields. An entrepreneur called Skúli Fógeti wanted to change that and had several factories set up in what became Reykjavík’s first street. Aðalstræti 10 is now the only house left of Skúli’s enterprise and therefore one of the oldest houses in Reykjavík. After the factory was shut down the building was changed to a residence, where some of Iceland’s most prominent citizens have stayed, including Jón Sigurðsson, the leader of the 19th  century Icelandic independence movement.

The perfect fit
When a housing conservation committee gained control of the house and started renovations it was decided that it was desirable for such an historical building to house a business connected with its origin.  Halla Bogadóttir, manager of Kraum,was at that time looking for a venue for an ambitious business idea. “I felt that me and many of my colleagues were too scattered across town and for many operating a business was taking  too much time from the design part.We wanted to find a venue in which  we could present the best Icelandicdesigners have to offer in one place  and when Aðalstræti 10 came our way we knew it was a perfect fit.  We wanted to put special emphasis on Icelandic products and products with a close connection to Iceland’s culture, nature and history. What we didn’t want was to sell souvenirs mass produced in different continents. So in a way we feel as if we are carrying the torch for Skúli Fógeti,” says Halla.

Be Profound like Halldór Laxness
As a part of that effort Kraum started a competition where designers were invited to come up with products in the spirit of one of Iceland‘s most prestigious painters, known simply as Erró. “The results were incredible and  we now have on offer many of the items which came about from the contest at reasonable prices,” says Halla. One of these is the winning piece; a writing board in the shape of a caricature Erró made of Iceland’s most beloved author Halldór Laxness. Halldór, a Nobel Prize  winner, was considered extremelywitty and eloquent so whatever notes you write on the speech bubble emanating from his mouth will surely automatically become profound. This year a new competition has started and this time it is the sculptor Ásmundur Sveinsson who sets the motif. “Last time we wanted to focus on more practical designs, but this time around we’re expanding and calling for clothing and ornamental items as well. We’re very excited to see the results, which will be made clear on May 1st, the same day of the summer opening of Ásmundarsafn,”says Halla. During the so-called DesignMarch Kraum will be especially crowded. From March 18-21 six new designers will display their works in Kraum. During this event Reykavík is expected to be full of interesting lectures and  exhibitions reflecting the diversity in Icelandic design.

Aðalstræti 10 • 101 Reykjavík
+354 517 7797


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