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Photo credits: Catherine Lazure-Guinard"

2014

City Guide

Reykjavik

nordicdesign.ca


Table of"

Content" Editor’s note

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Discover the best: Breakfast & coffee places Fine restaurants Evening hangouts Places to stay Shopping Galleries & museums Things to do & see Escapes Souvenirs

5 7 13 17 27 33 35 37 39

Local’s tips: Snaebjörn Stefánsson Soffía Theódóra Tryggvadóttir Ingibjörg Hanna Bjarnadóttir Sari Peltonen

Photo credits: Roman Gerasymenko"

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43 45 47 49


Let’s connect !

Editor’s note! With a population of about 200 000, Reykjavik has the charm and warmth of a village and the buzzing energy of a large city. It has an impressive array of world-class restaurants, enviable shopping, a wild party scene and a thriving cultural scene. Walk around town, and you’ll discover a myriad of cozy cafés, inviting bars and shops. You’ll pass by quirky architecture, colorful buildings and fantastic vantage points, and you’ll meet friendly, charming and interesting people. On top of that, the sea, Mount Esja and surrounding lava fields provide a breathtaking backdrop to the city. Reykjavik may be small in size, but there is no lack of things to enjoy and discover. Iceland’s design scene is definitely flourishing and quickly gaining fans around the world. Fun, humorous, out of the box, quirky, daring, creative and exciting – These are the words that come to mind when describing the work of Icelandic designers. It’s definitely unique and different from what can be found in the rest of Scandinavia! This guide compiles a lot of good addresses for you to visit next time you are in Reykjavik. I honestly had a tough time making a selection; the city is packed with so many great options worthy of a mention. As I was finalizing the guide, I found myself browsing for flight tickets... I barely left Iceland, and I am already longing to go back. It is a place where my soul feels at home, and I wish you all to have the opportunity to visit this amazing country. A special thanks to Grettisborg Apartments (p.22), SADcars and BUS Hostel (p.23) for making my trip to Iceland possible. I also wanted to thank Snaebjörn Stefánsson, Soffía Theódóra Tryggvadóttir, Ingibjörg Hanna Bjarnadóttir and Sari Peltonen for sharing their best addresses and tips for a great stay in Reykjavik. And thanks to my dad for having been such a good travel companion. I hope you enjoy the guide!

Catherine Lazure-Guinard Founder and Editor in Chief catherine@nordicdesign.ca

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Photo credits: Visitreykjavik.is"

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The best"

Breakfasts & coffee pla

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A place enjoyed by locals for their healthy, delicious, fresh and satisfying brunch. Lovely rhubarb jam.

Another popular spot favored by locals and tourists alike for their organic breakfast buffet and hip atmosphere.

Bergsson Mathús" Templarasund 3 Bergsson.is

KEX Hostel" Skúlagata 28 Kexhostel.is

American-style diner with a hipster vibe. Great milkshakes, and breakfasts are said to “cure hangover’.

An extensive brunch buffet for weekenders in an elegant setting. Located at Hilton Reykjavik Nordica.

Prikið" Bankastræti 12 Prikid.is

VOX" Suðurlandsbraut 2 Vox.is


aces" An eclectic and bohemian place, with that ‘Icelandic cool’ and great dose of humor. Great roof terrace.

Comfy, inviting and homely – Just like your grandmother’s living room!

Babalú" Skólavörðustígur 22A Babalu.is

Stofan Kaffihús" Aðalstræti 7 Facebook.com/stofan.cafe

A décor that has barely changed since the 1950s. A cool retro vibe, giant waffles, lovely hot chocolate and walls filled with work by local artists.

Kid friendly place, where you can actually do your laundry while enjoying your latté. A bookworm’s paradise.

Mokka-Kaffi" Skólavörðustíg 3A Mokka.is

Laundromat Café" Austurstræti 9 Thelaundromatcafe.com

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The best"

fine restaurants"

Dill" Designed by Alvar Aalto in 1968, Dill is located at the Nordic House (p. 35) in the center of Reykjavik, in a quiet wild bird reserve with great views over the old town and lakes. It offers a regularly changing menu with modern, inventive dishes made with fresh, local ingredients. The service is excellent, and the atmosphere is elegant, but unpretentious. Dill is run by Chef Gunnar Karl Gíslason and Sommelier Ólafur Örn Ólafsson, who championed the New Nordic Kitchen in Iceland. Sturlugata 5 Dillrestaurant.is

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Photo credits: Nanna Dis, Times Magazine & Dill"


Gallery Restaurant" It was voted  best restaurant in Iceland in 2012 and received the certificate of Excellence by Trip Advisor in 2013. While such achievements definitely heighten expectations, you will not be disappointed. Gallery is widely praised for its meat, but the fish dishes are also fresh and tasty. You’ll enjoy your meal in a relaxed, welcoming, atmosphere, surrounded by lots of art (thus the name). Bergstadastraeti 37 Holt.is

Photo credits: Hotel Holt"

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The Fish Company" Expect no less than interesting flavors and innovative use of ingredients at the Fish Company. It serves some of the best fish in town, and meat lovers will also not be disappointed. Try a tasting menu with wine pairing for a memorable culinary experience. The staff is attentive and knowledgeable, and will explain every detail of your dish. This bustling place is classy, but with a cool vibe. Make sure to reserve in advance. Vesturgรถtu 2a Fishcompany.is Photo credits: The Fish Company"

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Borg Restaurant" This restaurant is situated in the Art Deco Hotel Borg (p.17), one of Iceland’s iconic buildings. Award-winning chef Volundur Volundarson created a delicate and delightful menu with Icelandic ingredients. Let yourself be tempted by the langoustine with rhubarb foam, the cod with cardamom glaze, the grilled reindeer or the smoked herring. Borg restaurant also has a beautiful mix of vintage and modern style. Make sure to grab one of their original cocktails with homemade syrups and bitters. Póshússtræti 9-11 Borgrestaurant.is

Photo credits: Hotel Borg"

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MAR" Inspired by the old harbor where it is located, MAR restaurant has an interesting menu featuring Icelandic delicacy prepared in South American and South European style. The interior is designed by HAF Studio, who made sure every decorative details were in line with the sea life theme. You’ll notice animals, birds, fish and other marine inspiration throughout the space. You can also find custom made tableware by ceramic designer Guðný Hafsteins, as well as artwork by graphic designer Siggi Odds, which you can purchase at Mýrin, a design store located in the same building (p.29). Geirsgata 9 Marrestaurant.is

Photo credits: HAF Studio"

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…and some more!"

At the top of Harpa, with beautiful views. Exotic cocktails, Icelandic ingredients, top-notch presentation.

Modern French-Scandinavian cuisine, with breathtaking panoramic views.

Kolabrautin" Austurbakki 2 Kolabrautin.is

Panorama" Ingólfsstræti 1

Original dishes with a modern touch, prepared with fresh local ingredients. Try the 9-course tasting menu.

Traditional Icelandic food with a twist and elegantly presented, in a fun, informal and stylish setting.

The Fish Market" Aðalstræti 12 Fiskmarkadurinn.Is

Sjávargrillið" Skólavörðustígur 14 Sjavargrillid.com

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The best"

evening hangouts"

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Quality cocktails, sophisticated crowd and elegant ambiance. A classy place, with a dress code.

An institution in Reykjavik! A friendly coffee place by day, and a fun, crowded bar at night.

Loftið" Austurstræti 9 Loftidbar.is

Kaffibarinn" Bergstaðastræti 1 (Miðbær) Kaffibarinn.is

A trendy and stylish club with lounge areas, lots of dancing and young locals.

A cozy and relaxing place to enjoy a local beer, good bistro food and a warm atmosphere.

b5" Bankastraeti 5 B5.is

SNAPS" Þórsgata 1 Snaps.is


A hip restaurant that transforms into a cool nightclub with talented DJs and good-looking crowd. Try the house mojito. Vegamót" Vegamótastígur 4 Vegamot.is

On weekends, upstairs becomes a top club, attracting notorious DJs and late-night party goers. Kaffi Sólon" Bankastræti 7a Solon.is

This is the place to go if you want to mingle with the arty crowd. Great DJs, frequent live music and talented bartenders.

A cool industrial interior, with a great selection of beer and Tequila. Try their delicious tacos.

Bakkus" Laugavegur 22

Bunk Bar" Laugavegur 28 Bunk.is

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Photo credits: Catherine Lazure-Guinard"

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The best"

places to stay"

Photo credits: Hotel Borg"

Hotel Borg" Built in 1930 and overlooking the beautiful square Austurvöllur, the parliament and the cathedral, Hotel Borg is a landmark in Reykjavik. Renovated in 2006 to its original style, the hotel oozes Art Deco charm and character. The rooms are simple, but elegant, with an interesting mix of modern and old-time sophistication. Hotel Borg won the title of Iceland’s Leading Hotel in 2012 at the World Travel Awards. Make sure to try its restaurant (p.10). Pósthússtræti 11 Hotelborg.is

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Reykjavik Lights Hotel" It is a great place to stay for its excellent service, great location and superior facilities, but especially for its unique style. Created by TARK and HAF, this modern design hotel is inspired by the country’s daylight conditions. Rooms are themed around specific days in the ancient Icelandic calendar and expressing Iceland’s color spectrums, from Northern lights to the midnight sun. The hotel is also decorated with information about Icelandic culture, history and light. Suðurlandsbraut 16 Reykjaviklights.is

Photo credits: Gunnar Sverrisson & Vigfús Birgisson"

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101 Hotel" Located at the heart of Reykjavik, this is a leading boutique hotel with a sleek monochromatic design and a casual-chic atmosphere. The rooms are modern, classy and spacious, with very comfy beds. The hotel also has a beautiful collection of Icelandic art. Make sure to head to their luxurious spa and enjoy some serious pampering. Breakfast is delicious, and the bar is popular for happy hour. Hverfisgata 10 101hotel.is

Photo credits: 101 Hotel"

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ION Adventure Hotel" ION Adventure Hotel is about an hour’s drive from Reykjavik, near Thingvellir National Park and tucked between mountains, lava fields and geothermal steam. Designed by firm Minarc, it is one of Iceland’s newest luxury hotels. Inspired by its surroundings, it is built with innovative materials and sustainable practices, and was recently granted the acclaimed Boutique Hotel Awards in the sustainability category. It has everything to please: magnificent panoramic views, numerous opportunities for extreme adventures, luxurious rooms, fantastic Silfra Restaurant, award-winning bar, and relaxing spa. Nesjavellir, Selfoss Ioniceland.is

Photo credits: ION Hotel"

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Icelandair Hotel Reykjavik Marina" Opened in Spring 2012, this completely renovated hotel is located next to the old harbor, and the dÊcor is inspired by the city’s rich maritime history. The design is colorful and quirky, and the atmosphere is welcoming. It has a trendy cocktail bar area, a great restaurant (and breakfast!), and many facilities such as a wellequipped gym and a small theatre showing Icelandic films. Ask for a room with a harbor view. Myrargata 2 Icelandairhotels.com/marina

Photo credits: Icelandair Hotel"

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Grettisborg Apartments" Owners Roshildur Jonsdóttir and Snaebjörn Stefánsson (p. 43) beautifully designed six self-catering apartments for the independent design-savvy traveller. Stylish, comfy and cool, the apartments are equipped with modern appliances, and furnished with high standards and carefully selected decorations. The apartments are located right next to the main shopping street, in a quiet residential area. At Grettisborg, you quickly feel at home, and you’ll get a taste of what living in Reykjavik is like. Grettisgata 53b Grettisborg.is

Photo credits: Grettisborg"

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BUS Hostel" This recently opened hostel is so much fun, and a fantastic value for money in Reykjavik! The large lounge room and bar have a great rustic and vintage look, loaded with fab flea market finds. The atmosphere is unpretentious, homely and cozy, with a great lived-in feel. The well-equipped bedrooms and bathrooms are modern, clean and spacious. BUS Hostel is conveniently located close to public transport, local attractions and amenities, and you can rent a car or book travel tours directly at the hostel. You’ll definitely appreciate the complimentary bikes, free Wifi, friendly staff and the hostel’s eco-friendly philosophy, too! Skógarhlíð 10 Bushostelreykjavik.com

Photo credits: BUS Hostel"

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KEX Hostel" Housed in an old biscuit factory in downtown Reykjavik and furnished with salvaged materials and found objects from various places, KEX is an organic concept blending a vintage industrial feel with an eclectic, contemporary touch. You will find a variety of dorms and rooms for up to 142 guests along with a cafĂŠ and bar, lounge area, heated outdoor patio, laundry room, old school gym, guest kitchens, meeting room, free WiFi, and more. SkĂşlagata 28 Kexhostel.is

Photo credits: KEX"

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Photo credits: Catherine Lazure-Guinard"

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The best"

of shopping" Hrím Hönnunarhús" If you like home décor, this is a great place to start your shopping spree. It stocks many Scandinavian brands such as Ferm Living, Kähler, OYOY, Tonfisk, Ihanna Home, and Lagdur, among others. It has a great assortment of home accessories, furniture and jewelry. The products are nicely displayed and the staff is friendly. Laugavegur 25 Hrim.is

Epal" For over 40 years, Epal has been a leading provider of fine design in Iceland: Furniture, gift merchandise, light fixtures, bedding, curtains, carpets, etc. from around the world, especially Scandinavia. Epal also has championed Icelandic designers and their work, and has been a driving force in design awareness to the country. There are three locations: the flagship store in Reykjavik, at Keflavik Airport, and in the recently built conference and music center, Harpa. Flagship store: Skeifan 6 Epal.is

* Good Tip:

added tax, Prices include Value m a refund before so remember to clai y. Read more here. leaving the countr 27


Aurum" Founded in 1999 by goldsmith and designer Guðbjörg Kristín Ingvarsdóttir, Aurum is one of the best places in Reykjavik to find Icelandic designer jewelry. The shop also carries a nice selection of gifts, tableware, scented candles and more. If you are looking for something quirky and unique, you are likely to find it here! Bankastræti 4 Aurum.is

Kraum" Located in a beautiful old building, Kraum is 100% dedicated to Icelandic home design and features work from more than 200 designers. You’ll find home furnishings with a unique Icelandic flavor, as well as textile and jewelry. Aðalstræti 10 Kraum.is

Geysir" Cosy and cool, this lifestyle store is nicely decorated with salvaged wood, vintage photographs and maps of Iceland. It sells everyday staples from clothing and knitted goods to home accessories and prints. You’ll definitely find something unique, edgy, old school and/or playful. Skólavörðustíg 16 Geysirshops.is 28


Farmers Market" Inspired by the Icelandic heritage and harsh nature, Farmers Market is well known for its new take on traditional knitwear and multifunctional clothing. It stocks the perfect apparel for the outdoors as well as chic and fashionable knitted city wear. You can visit their flagship store located in the old harbor area, or in several boutiques around town. Hólmaslóð 2 Farmersmarket.is

Mýrin" Myrin is a lovely one-stop shop to find a great souvenir. It stocks the work of over 60 Icelandic designers, and the assortment is a beautiful mix of fashion, accessories, ceramics, books, artwork and home accessories. You’ll find the shop in the Kringlan Mall or in the harbor near MAR restaurant. Kringlan Mall or Geirsgata 9 Myrin-kringlunni.is

Kiosk" Kiosk is a co-op shop owned by 9 designers. It is definitely one of the best places to find cool clothing and accessories by young local fashion designers. You’ll find labels such as EYGLO, Hlín Reykdal, helicopter, Hildur Yeoman, milla snorrason, Sonja Bent and kyrja, among others. Kiosk is trendy, fresh, modern, and unpretentiously sophisticated. Laugavegur 65 Kioskreykjavik.com 29


…and some more!" SPARK Design Space" Klapparstígur 33 Sparkdesignspace.com

Kokka" Laugavegur 47 Kokka.is

Kormákur & Skjöldur" Laugavegi 59 Kormakurskjoldur.com

66° North" Bankastræti 5 66north.is

JÖR" Laugavegur 89 Facebook.com/JORbyGJ

KronKron" Laugavegur 63b Kronkron.com 30


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Fakó verzlun" Laugarvegur 37

Orr" Bankastræti 11 Orr.is

Insula Islandia" Skólavörðustígur 21 Insula-islandia.com

Ella " Ingolfsstraeti 5 Ellabyel.com

Kogga" Vesturgata 5 Kogga.is

Kirsuberjatréð" Vesturgötu 4 Kirs.is


Photo credits: Catherine Lazure-Guinard"

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The best"

galleries & museums"

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SPARK Design Space" Klapparstígur 33 Sparkdesignspace.com

National Gallery" Fríkirkjuvegi 7 Listasafn.is

Reykjavik Art Museum " Artmuseum.is

Museum of Design and Applied Art" Garðartorgi 1, Garðabær Honnunarsafn.is

Galleri List" Skipholti 50a Gallerilist.is

I8 Gallery" Tryggvagata 16 I8.is


Photo credits: Catherine Lazure-Guinard"

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The best"

things to see & do"

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Built in 2011, the spectacular building reflects the sky and the surrounding water. An architectural gem.

An imposing and majestic structure rising above Reykjavik. Go up its tower for a fantastic viewpoint.

Harpa Conference and Concert hall" Austurbakki 2 Harpa.is

Hallgrímskirkja Church" Hallgrímstorg 1 Hallgrimskirkja.is

A cultural institution with events and exhibitions. Designed by Alvar Aalto, and home to Dill restaurant (p. 7).

Get a sense of the architecture and way of life of people in Reykjavik in earlier times.

The Nordic House" Sturlugata 5 Nordichouse.is

Árbæjarsafn Open Air Museum" Árbæjarsafni, Kistuhyl Minjasafnreykjavikur.is


Treat yourself with exclusive beauty and massage treatments with Soley Organics products from Iceland.

The place to go to satisfy your sweet tooth! Make sure to try their Icelandic selection of candies and chocolates.

Sóley Natura Spa" Nauthólsvegur 52 Icelandairhotels.com

Vínberið chocolate" Laugavegi 43 Vindberid43.wix.com/vindberid

A striking sculpture by Jon Gunnar Arnasson, an ode to the sun. A beautiful place to admire the scenery and views of Mount Esja.

You’ll be charmed by the Icelandic horse, known for its unique running trot. Many different trips can be booked through various tour operators.

The Sun Voyager" Waterfront, East of Harpa

Go horseback riding" Ask locals for their favorite spots

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The best"

escapes"

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Strokkur & Geysir" Along the Golden Circle route

Gullfoss" Along the Golden Circle route

Thingvellir National Park" Along the Golden Circle route

The Blue Lagoon" West Iceland

Kerid Crater" Along the Golden Circle route

Landmannalaugar" Southern highlands


Vik & its black sand beaches" South Iceland

Snaefellsnes peninsula" West Iceland

Seljalandsfoss" South Iceland

Ice Lagoon" South Iceland

Geothermal Valley Hverarond" North Iceland

The Nature baths at Lake Mývatn" North Iceland 38


The best"

souvenirs"

Perfume by Andrea Maack" SPARK, Klapparstígur 33 sparkdesignspace.com

Krummi hanger by Ihanna Home" Kraum, Aðalstræti 10 Kraum.is

Sunrise tray by Anna Þórunn " Hrim, Laugavegur 25 annathorunn.is

Rhubarb Schnapps 64° Reykjavik Distillery Keflavik Airport reykjavikdistillery.is

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Kids scarf by As We Grow" Mýrin, Kringlan Shopping Center Aswegrow.is Blanket by Vík Prjónsdóttir" SPARK, Klapparstíg 33 vikprjonsdottir.com

Wool socks by Varma" Geysir, Skólavörðustíg 16 Varma.is


Svan ring" Aurum, Bankastræti 4 Aurum.is

Music albums : Ylja and Sigur Rós" 12 Tónar, Skólavörðustíg 15 12tonar.is Natural beauty & bath products by Sóley Organics" Keflavik Airport soleyorganics.com

Cushion cover by Lagdur" Hrim, Laugavegi 25 Lagdur.is

Knitted hat with faux fur" Farmers Market, Hólmaslóð 2 farmersmarket.is

Fisherman’s duffle bag" 66° North, Bankastræti 5 66north.com 40 40


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Photo credits: Catherine Lazure-Guinard"

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We asked"

a local: Snaebjörn " Stefánsson "

Snaebjörn, is a product designer at Hugdetta.com, and managing owner of Grettisborg apartments (p. 22). He lives and work downtown Reykjavik, although his work usually sends him all around Iceland and sometimes abroad. His goal is to create noteworthy Icelandic design, and find a way to influence his surrounding in a positive and sustained way. You can read here a very interesting interview with Snaebjörn and his wife, Roshildur Jónsdóttir, about their life as designers.

Q: What is your favorite thing about Reykjavik?! Small, compact, swimming pools, friends and family, close to the sea, nature at its doorstep. Q: What makes Reykjavik stand out from other famous capitals around the world?! It is much smaller in size but has a big heart, full of life and power. Q: Iconic buildings of the city:! Hallgrimskirkja, the Parlament and Harpa conference hall. Q: What should a first timer visit in Reykjavik? ! A visit to the Árbæjar museum is a must to explore the building history of Iceland. Then it is best to walk around town and keep your eyes open for curious and interesting architecture. Q: Describe your perfect 24hrs in the city! •  •  •  •  •  • 

Wake up, go for breakfast in one the nice coffee shops near Laugavegur. Go for a bicycle tour in Heidmork with friends and family. Jump into one of the nice swimming pools in the capital area. Go for a nice late lunch with some friends in town. Visit few of the galleries or museums in Reykjavik especially if there is an opening party. Go for a nice meal in on of many nice restaurants in town and take look at the vibrant nightlife.

Q: Any other info about Reykjavik and/or Iceland you would like to share?! Check these out: •  Sparkdesignspace.com •  Facebook.com/pages/Mengi/285557414890570 •  Crymogea.is •  Jorstore.com •  Aftur.is •  Tulipop.is

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Photo credits: +XJGHWWD

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We asked"

a local:"Soffía Theódóra Tryggvadóttir" Soffía Theódóra was born and raised in Reykjavík, and has lived in the Icelandic capital city most of her life. She studied at the University of Iceland both B.Sc. and M.Sc. in Business and Strategic management. A fan of design and fashion, she established Nordic Style Magazine in New York when she studied Fashion Merchandising Management at FIT for a year in the Big Apple. Nordic Style Mage is without a doubt a unique source of information on Scandinavian style, fashion and lifestyle. Check it out here!

Q: What is your favorite thing about Reykjavik?! I didn’t realize what my favorite things about Reykjavík were until I moved to New York. My family and friends are of course nr. 1. The clean air, the water and short distances to everything, are things you take for granted in Iceland, but realize how important they are to you when you live abroad. Then come the small things like going to the swimming pools and lie in the hottub, buying ‘bragðarefur’ (translation: sneaky fox, which is ice cream mixed together with selection of candy and fresh fruit), pastries like ‘snúður’, and candy - Especially the hot liquorice and Icelandic chocolate….so not very touristy things.

Q: What makes Reykjavik stand out from other famous capitals around the world?! During the summer it is bright outside almost 24/7 and during the winter months we don’t see the sun much. What makes Reykjavík also stand out is the short distances within the city, and its closeness to nature. You don’t have to walk that far to have a beautiful mountain view or a view over the sea and the next town. In general it is a small and cozy city with a myriad of very good restaurants and a crazy nightlife. And don’t forget the clean air and water! Q: Describe your perfect 24hrs in the city.! It would be Saturday early July when the weather would most likely be good. I would start with brunch at the Coocoo’s Nest at Grandi, then walk Laugarvegur the main shopping street to see especially all the Icelandic design shops and check out Kolaportið, the local flea market. Next I would go to Laugardalslaugin, a swimming pool, for some relaxation, people watching and tanning session (believe it or not). Afterwards it is a must to eat a hotdog with ketchup, roasted onions and ‘remoulade’! For the evening I would like to go with friends to Fiskmarkaðurinn (e. Fish Market) for a Tasting Menu, which is amazing. To continue the evening Slippbarinn, a restaurant and bar at the harbor is a great place to go for drinks. If it would turn into a super fun night, Kaffibarinn is a good place to go dancing! If possible I would squeeze ice cream somewhere in the schedule during the day. Q: Any other info about Reykjavik or Icelandyou would like to share?! The countryside is very beautiful and unique and I would recommend Myvatn Nature Baths, which is in the North of the island. It is fairly new and intact, like how the Blue Lagoon was 20 years ago.

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Photo : Courtesy of Soffía Theódóra Tryggvadóttir"

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We asked"

a local: Ingibjörg " Hanna Bjarnadóttir! Award-winning Ingibjörg Hanna runs her creative design company and studio in Reykjavik. Ihanna Home is located “in the best design shop in Reykjavik, Epal”, where she designs home accessories with playful, functional and sculptural aesthetics, such as her famous Krummi bird hanger. She lives in Hlíðar, an area that was build around 1940, within walking distance from the city center. She particularly enjoys spending time with her family at the beautiful art musem Kjarvalsstaðir.

Q: What is your favorite thing about Reykjavik?! My favorite thing about Reykjavík is probably the numerous swimming pools it has. They are outdoor and have warm water so it’s wonderful to go there in winter when it is snowing or even in a storm. I love that it is almost impossible to go downtown without meeting someone you know. I didn’t like it very much when I was a teenager, but now I find it more funny than nerve-wracking! Q: What makes Reykjavik stand out from other famous capitals around the world? ! It is as small as a village in population size, but it still has everything a capital should have. I find these contrasts quite interesting. What I love about Reykjavík is that it is next to the ocean. It has beautiful views of mountain Esja and, in good weather, you can also see the glacier Snæfellsjökull - Then I will have a big smile on my face, as will most other people in Reykjavík! Q: What should a first timer visit in Reykjavik? ! Árbæjarsafn is a wonderful and interesting open air historical museum and a regional museum. It shows you the living conditions, work and recreational activities of the people of Reykjavík in earlier times. My favorite part of Reykjavík is Grjótaþorpið. It is one of the oldest neighborhoods in the city and has just a few streets with beautiful old houses and cobbled streets. If you go to the tower of Hallgrímskirkja you will see the colorful rooftops of the Reykjavík’s houses. Q: Describe your perfect 24hrs in the city! I would spend it with my very good friend Katja who would come to visit me from Finland. We would have breakfast at Reykjavík Roasters, my favorite café, and catch up because it has been a while. After breakfast we would go shopping on Laugarvegur and stop by beautiful little shops like KIOSK which is run by local fashion designers. I have several really beautiful and unique outfits from there and I am sure Katja would enjoy their style as well. We would have lunch at one of the restaurants by Reykjavík harbor. That area is becoming really lively and has good restaurants. Close by is Hafnarhús, it serves as the Reykjavík Art Museum´s institute of contemporary art. We would have a look at an exhibition and have a coffee at the museum’s cafe. Before going to dinner and enjoying live music at KEX hostel, we would rest a little bit at home and put on the new outfit we bought earlier. Q: Any other info about Reykjavik and/or Iceland you would like to share?! DesignMarch Reykjavíks design festival will be held the 27th – 30th of March. I will be exhibiting in Epal at Harpa music hall and Insula Islandia in Skólavörðustígur 21. I hope I´ll see you there! 47


Photo credits: Halla Kristjansdottir"

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We asked"

a local:"Sari Peltonen"

Sari came to Iceland for the first time in 2004 to take part in a student exchange program, and she fell in love with the country. Following her heart, she left her native Finland a few years later to wok as a journalist, and she is now the communication manager at Iceland Design Center. She tells us that “tulen ja jään maa” is Finnish for “country of fire and ice”, but it also has a double meaning: “country where I come and stay”, which is a perfect fit for her story!

Q: Your favorite thing(s) about Reykjavik:! I love the way Reykjavik combines small town living, facilities of a capital city and closeness of (extremely beautiful Northern) nature. The nature starts at my doorsteps! I watch the green icy sea, the snowy mountains and the vast skies from my window, and I’m 10 minutes away from a lava field or the lighthouse island. And while Reykjavik is a tiny town, it is also the capital of the country, which brings a more international flair and great services, such as organic food store Fru Lauga, Reykjavik Roasters coffee shop, Bergsson café, SPARK design space design gallery, i8 art gallery and a late night party in Kaffibarinn… I always imagined I’d want to live in a big city, but I’ve realized I love the narrow streets and colorful houses of Reykjavik. I also love the town’s atmosphere and sense of community. There’s a really lovely, relaxed and fun feel to the city. Q: Describe the perfect 24hrs in the city:! Here’s a collection of all time favorites squeezed into one compact – and loooong – day. •  Morning swim and soak under the stars in the steaming hot water pool at Sundhöllinn, designed by the state architect Samuel Gudjónsson •  Buy a kleina, a traditional Icelandic donut, and a coffee to go at Sandholt, the town’s best bakery, then go up to Hallgrimskirkja tower to see the sun rise. •  Walk along the main street Laugavegur, with random peeks to favorite places such as SPARK, i8, Orr, the bookstore, designers’ boutiques (JÖR, Kiosk, Kronkron, Ella…) •  Pick up a green smoothie at Bergsson for lunch, continue towards the harbor with art stops at Reykjavik Art Museum and i8. •  Head over to Grotta for a walk on the beach and by the lighthouse (hot chocolate would be nice) •  Sit down to read a book, magazine or browse the internet at a café (Reykjavik Roasters has amazing coffee and really great Chai, and I love the atmosphere at Kaffivagninn) or have picnic in the Einar Jónsson statue park if it is a sunny summer day. •  Meet friends, have a cocktail at the top floor in Harpa. •  Have an amazing dinner at Dill Restaurant or a relaxed meal at Snaps •  And I just might pop out to Kaffibarinn afterwards… Alternatively, I would pack my bikinis and drive out of the town to a natural hot spring, then return to town for a late dinner. Or if it was winter, I would love to go skating on the frozen pond Tjörnin. Or… There are a lot of options here – it was impossible for me to pick! J 49


Photo : Courtesy of Sari Peltonen "

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Reykjavik City Guide by Nordic Design  

A travel guide to Reykjavik, Iceland, for all fans of interiors, design and architecture, curated by Catherine Lazure-Guinard from NordicDes...

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