WALL POETRY Urban Art Festival | Collaboration of Iceland Airwaves and Urban Nation Berlin | Every year in november Reykjavik is the stage for a huge music festival called “Iceland Airwaves” showing Icelandic bands as well as international newcomers and famous bands. This year Iceland Airwaves initiated a very special artistic collaboration together with Urban Nation Berlin. They invited 10 street artists to paint the music from bands performing at the festival. Under the theme “We paint the music, you love to hear” the artists created ten extraordinary murals that now enhance Reykjavik’s surface.
There are two buildings in Reykjavik that deeply impressed me. Both with a unique character. In this first part of impressive Icelandic architecture I will show you the wonderful HARPA – a futuristic concert and conference hall at the old harbour of Reykjavik right beside the sea. HARPA concert hall Inspired by Iceland’s exceptional landscape and its diverse lightning atmosphere HARPA was designed by Henning Larsen Architects (Denmark) and Batteríið Architects (Iceland) in cooperation with the Danish-Icelandic artist Olafur Eliasson. The two building blocks with angular edges are revetted with a filigree honeycombed steel framework. The space in between is filled with reflecting glass elements that change their colour according to the light of the day and the weather. The name “HARPA” is the result of a competition organized in the year 2009 to find an Icelandic name that is easy to pronounce in every language. The word has different meanings.
By closing the door behind me I’m entering another world. A world wrapped in Warpaint music. I’ve never heard a Warpaint song in a café before. The slightly melancholic tones suit my inner conception of Iceland, correspond to its winter-melancholy, to the Northern Lights and to the vast of its ice landscape. But right now it’s summer and the street in front of the Coocoo’s Nest is full of people eating ice cream. There is an ice cream shop next doors where you have to draw a number to get your desired scoops of ice cream. Icelanders are addicted to ice cream! Even in cold winter days. At least this is what Ragi, a 59-years old Icelander told me.
This month it’s all about REYKJAVIK! I visited the northernmost capital this summer on a long weekend trip. I think I’ve never been to such a small city with so much art. 🙂 Partly it felt like being in a small version of London. But Reykjavik has its own character. It’s relaxed and open-minded. Let me take you on a tour through a city that never sleeps at night (because there is almost no darkness in summer), show you some stunning architecture, introduce you to some amazing people who I met and give you some insider tips by locals. Of course I will also pick out the most beautiful street artworks for you! And let me tell you, Reykjavik has a lot street art to offer! 🙂 The trip was part of “Helden en voyage” – a design study trip sponsored by Philipp Seine Helden (the agency I work for).
What to do, when your boyfriend suddenly breaks up with you? Well, for a travel soul like me the answer was clear: Jump into the next plane and go somewhere you’ve never been before. ICELAND seemed to be the perfect destination for this plan – a lonely island far away from the European mainland, far away from home and from my everyday life. So I packed my bags and jumped into the next plane to Reykjavik in Juli this year. By approaching Iceland I became aware of one thing immediately: I’m entering a world where natures rules. As far as the eye could see the ground was covered with black lava rocks.