DIY Reykjavik is a Do-It-Yourself, non-profit design experiment initiated and designed by Arnaldur Scram and Simon Stigsby of New York-based design firm Shift, in collaboration with Ouida Angelica Biddle and Dr. SigurÃ°ur Gunnarsson. The pavilion is a temporary installation situated in front of the Nordic House in Reykjavik, Iceland and coincides with the 2009 Reykjavik Design Days and 2009 Reykjavik Art Festival. The structure is declared ownerless and represents a stepping stone for the local community to question Icelandâ€™s future.
A major portion of the Icelandic building industry was paralyzed after the recent economic collapse. Regardless of the downturn, Shift has been compelled to initiate and seek out new opportunities, exploring the potential and limitations of a new Icelandic economy. Shift approached companies within the building industry, who subsequently volunteered their efforts to make this project a reality, â€œa highly uncommon event in better economic times.â€ Simon elaborates, â€œHowever, there was an extraordinary sense of solidarity. Everyone involved, from material providers and consulting engineers, to people we borrowed space and tools from were exceptionally positive and enthusiastic about the project. It really felt like people came together in these hard times - joining forces to accomplish common goals.â€
The structure consists of one thousand aluminum triangles - every single piece different in size, shape, fold, and configuration. It was designed and processed through a variety of 3D software, laser-cut then folded and riveted by hand. Aluminum was deliberately chosen due to its unique structural challenges, its abundance and recyclability, but also for its potential to generate debate about the current and future use of the material. Icelandâ€™s substantial aluminum processing and its direct link to the islandâ€™s natural energy resources has caused much political controversy surrounding the damage of the landscape from geothermal power plants and dams built to support the aluminum industry. But despite this opposition aluminum is a popular cladding material in Iceland. The installation is about this political controversy, and about rethinking both a new economy and a new technology. Through it Shift aims to provide inspiration and instigate critical assessment of Icelandic society.
The DIY Reykjavik pavilion was born out of the economic collapse and may not have been realized under different circumstances. Arnaldur explains, â€The project is about testing the possibilities that ultimately arise from a complete economic collapse - the current reality facing Iceland. The modern ideological system which governed Iceland in every aspect has failed and Iceland should now be about actualizing and seizing opportunities arising from the collapse. How do designers navigate within this new reality? Are we going to look backwards and let the future happen or are we going to find a new way forward using what we have at hand? I hope people find inspiration in our endeavor and in what a community is willing to contribute to in order to see new ideas realized.â€
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