Greinasafni: Icelandic Times
Kraum: A Paradise for Design Lovers
While walking in downtown Reykjavik, you will probably notice an abundance of energetic design products represented in a wide variety of design shops. If you visit the oldest quarter of the town, beginning in Aðalstræti, you will find a design store that fully represents the bloom of Icelandic design, as you can find products from no fewer than 200 designers in the store Kraum.
Kraum is actually located in the oldest standing house in Reykjavik, built in 1762 by Skúli Magnússon, a prominent figure in the history of Iceland as a pioneer of industrialization. He is sometimes called the father of Reykjavik as historians argue that Reykjavik would not have become the capital of Iceland if it had not been for Skúli’s enterprise. Walking down Austurstræti from Lækjartorg you will pass the more modern square of Ingólfstorg on your way to Kraum. There, this oldest house of Iceland will lay before you on the right side, a black little house right next to some taller and newer buildings. To enter the store you will go to the right, up a small and charming road leading to the “Grjótaþorpið,” a small, uphill area, where most of Reykjavik’s oldest houses stand. Behind the black house you will notice a connecting annex made of glass, and then a newer extension to Skúli’s old house. Enter the annex and enjoy the hidden treasures you will find in Kraum.
The results of a design competition in the spirit of the sculptor Ásmundur Sveinsson were recently announced. This competition was held in collaboration with the Reykjavík Art Museum and the winning design was a 3D puzzle by the name “My Ásmundur.” This design as well as few others will be on offer both in Kraum and in the Reykjavik Art Museum. “We had all sorts of different designs in this competition, first of all the spectacular puzzle, a clock, a vase and many more. Those objects are certainly going to fit well with the rest of the products in the store,” says Halla Bogadóttir the owner of Kraum.

Kraum’s selection of design products, range from small decorative ornaments to practical clothing to full-sized furniture. In between, one can find clothing, glasses, bowls, hangers and many more objects, that could beautifully decorate one’s surroundings. “We have objects made of fish skin, which always amazes foreign travellers and hangers that look like whale teeth. Last but not least, we have a notepad which emulates the volcanic activity of Hekla and Askja, where each page of the notepad represents a particular layer of ash or lava with the year of the eruption indicated,” says Halla, who adds that even though the ash cloud of Eyjafjallajökull has caused much irritation and even destruction for the farms around the glacier and their animals, volcanos keep being a strong motive in Icelandic art as well as fascinating phenomena of nature.

The oldest part of the house, closest to the street, houses an exhibition room run by the city of Reykjavik. In this space there are always some exhibitions going on, the next one being from The Reykjavik City Museum, which will exhibit the British occupation of Iceland 10th of May 1939. Together, Kraum and the exhibition space produce a charming entity, which is interesting, both pleasurable and satisfying to visit.

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Aðalstræti 10 • 101 Reykjavík
+354 517 7797


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