"There is a lot going on in design in Iceland and it reflects in our selection, the youngest designer we carry is only 18 years old and the oldest is in his 80s"...
As one of the more recent additions to Reykjavík's design and retail scene, Akkúrat is quickly making a name for itself as a reliable source for new, quality and innovative design from locals and neighbouring Nordics alike. We talk to the women behind the concept store, Sigrún Guðný Markhúsdóttir, the founder of Akkúrat, and Elsa Vestmann Kjartansdóttir, who runs the store, to find out more about how it all came to fruition and gain insight about their favourite designers.
Junko: Sigrún, how did the idea for Akkúrat come about?
Sigrun: When The Icelandic Design Center advertised the space I already had this idea in my head to open a store with Icelandic and Nordic design and recruit the Döðlur design studio to work with me. The name came about after the first phone call to Daniel, of Döðlur, and I continuously said, “Akkúrat“, which means “exactly“, and is a very common phrase in Scandinavia, so it was perfect for the concept!
J: What are your backgrounds and have you always been involved in design?
S: I studied Marketing Economics in Denmark with a major in business, innovation and entrepreneurship. I have always worked with designers, and I’ve been on both sides of the business, I have managed stores, dealing with designers as a buyer and I also founded my own agency for Nordic design in Denmark.
Elsa: I studied fashion design in the Icelandic Academy of the Arts and after my graduation I did a few internships, and met Sigrún through one of them and that’s how I got involved in Akkúrat.
Written by Amy Moffat
J: What is your criteria for selecting the designers who are stocked in store?
S: We keep our eyes open for anything interesting at all times! We love discovering fresh new talents, social media is a great tool for that. Of course we stock many well known local designers but handpick every item carefully and display a mix of different designers together.
We also have some collaborations coming up with local designers and artists and we want to create a living space with happenings and exhibitions. Akkúrat is a place to meet others and to be inspired.
J:Can you both pick a favourite item in store right now, and tell us about it?
S: As well as designing the store interiors, the design studio Döðlur launched a clothing line exclusively for Akkúrat under the name Döðlur by Döðlur. And my favourite are the trousers, inspired by track bottoms from the 80’s with a stirrup detail. They also feature the brilliant Döðlur logo which is a combination of two Icelandic letters, Ö and Ð.
E: I’m really drawn to the newly stocked designs by Studio Fræ, they started this project where they wanted to make souvenirs inspired by the different stones and minerals found in Iceland and the outcome is a series of very cool graphic posters and postcards, its very rare that you find cool souvenirs from your own country but their designs reference the unique Icelandic nature in a new way. We’ve asked them to make a card for the upcoming holidays and I can’t wait to see what they create!
Akkúrat is located at Aðalstræti 2 in Reykjavík. Check out their website here.
J: How is Akkúrat being received in Reykjavík?
S: Extremely well! We are thrilled how diverse our costumers are, all different ages, travellers from all over as well as locals. Our goal was to be a window into the best of Icelandic design and support local creatives.
J: How do you feel about the creative community in Reykjavík, what are its pros and cons?
S: There is a lot going on in design in Iceland and it reflects in our selection, the youngest designer we carry is only 18 years old and the oldest is in his 80s. But unfortunately we don’t have local designers in every category of design and therefore we mix a few selected designers from the neighbouring Nordic countries to fill in those gaps.
J: What are the biggest challenges for Akkúrat?
S: We want to continue to support local design and expand our selection, giving Icelandic design a platform, both for locals and travellers to discover. Our motto is “design surprises and new discoveries“!