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FOOD + DRINK

DesignMarch: Meaningful Kitchenwares

FOOD + DRINK

DesignMarch: Meaningful Kitchenwares

Three items that add new value to Icelandic dining

by Karen Day
on 28 March 2012

From model Elettra Wiedemann's Goodness pop-up restaurant at Hotel Natura to the recently-developed products showcased around Reykjavik, new ways to work with food was at the forefront of Icelandic design at this year's DesignMarch fair. Young designers are tapping into their surreal natural environment, creating new cuisines or updating classic kitchen wares to express modern opinions on nutrition. Below are three clever items that weave Icelandic traditions into modern design, highlighting the brilliance of country's emerging talent.

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Wheel of Nutrition

Icelandic designer Hafsteinn Juliusson emphasizes portion control with a series of colorful pie-chart plates. Developed with Portuguese designer Rui Pereira, the Porcel porcelain plates offer eaters three options for proportional consumption: Diet, Extra Ordinary or Supersize. The simple idea is the latest from HAF, the studio Juliusson set up after finishing his Masters from Milan's Scuola Politecnica Di Design, which focuses on creating meaningful products within the world of design while avoiding mass production. The Wheel of Nutrition plates were on view during DesignMarch at the Italian aperitivo he hosted and are available in short supply at the Icelandic design shop Kraum.

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5 x Pancake

Product designers Tinna Gunnarsdóttir, Stefán Pétur Sólveigarson, Ingibjörg Hanna Bjarnadóttir, fashion designer Sonja Bent and engineer-turned-jewelry designer Steinunn Vala Sigfúsdóttir each updated the classic Icelandic pancake pan for Kraum. The kind of item found in every kitchen cupboard and given to kids leaving for college, the pan hasn't received a redesign since created in 1950 by the casting company Málmsteypan Hella. The five designers commissioned by Kraum breathe new life into the quintessential appliance by creating new handles that reflect a more modern aesthetic, enticing future generations to continue the tradition.

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Roll Cake Chopping Block

A collaboration between the Iceland Academy of the Arts and food R&D institute Matís, the Designers and Farmers Project works with farmers from around Iceland to create new food products that reflect traditional national fare. Last year we enjoyed their toffee-like Rhubarbbrittle candy, which comes wrapped in rhubarb-inspired paper.

This year we learned the story behind their guillotine-like chopping block, which perfectly cuts a rye bread roll cake stuffed with lamb paté or Arctic char. The group was inspired by the life and work of the renowned early 20th-century Icelandic writer Þórbergur Þórðarson, an eccentric character who greatly enjoyed roll cakes. Þórðarson was obsessed with measuring things, and could often be found wandering around, measuring distances at Hali—the farm where he was born and now one of the farms on the collaboration's roster. The chopping block ensures that each slice of roll cake is exactly one thumb-length long in tribute to his fixation.

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