Artist and textile designer Sigrun Lara Shanko‘s majestic Maelifellshnjukur hand-tufted rug is exhibited at DesignMarch‘s Pillars, among other works by members of the Icelandic Textile Association. The exhibition celebrates the rich heritage which today’s diversity in textile design is built upon.

The two-meter long and 80 cm high awe-inspiring work is a commissioned one; Maelifellshnjukur is the favorite mountain of Shanko’s client. The designer created the piece by first looking at aerial maps and studying the whole layout of the mountain. Then, with the help of the client and from farmers in the area, she gathered as many photos of the mountain in different seasons to create a holistic picture of it. “The mountain has a strong character and I wanted to celebrate that. I felt that the best way to do it was by choosing to portray it in late fall or late winter, by letting the snow show off the highlights of its character.”

Take a peek at Shanko’s other Icelandic-nature inspired works of art:

Shanko’s rugs are inspired by the rugged Icelandic landscape; a tribute to its grandness, wild beauty and raw power. When asked what she loved most about Icelandic nature and what makes it special, Shanko answers, “The diversity of the landscape and the constantly changing light. The black lava fields as far as the eye can see, dotted with intense light green spots of moss, like oases in this desolated dessert. The close proximity of volcanoes and glaciers make for very inspiring day trips. To sit down next to a glacier and to feel the noise it makes through your body is both awesome and scary at the same time. I am as much part of this rugged nature as it is part of me.”

Langjokull glacier rug. The designer looked at old maps of the glacier to see how large it was then compared to now – the crimson red outline represents the middle way, and also serves as a reminder that there is a dormant volcano lying asleep underneath the ice cap.
The Fin by Finn rug is a tribute to the whales, particularly the last one caught in the summer of 2015. Since then, there has not been any whale hunting. It represents half a tail of a fin whale, with wound markings. “Perhaps I should leave the marking out but I didn’t, as it says so much more as is,” the designer shares with me.

Inspired by the rugged Icelandic landscape; a tribute to its grandness, wild beauty and raw power.

DesignMarch is an annual design festival which takes place at Iceland’s sparkling capital of cool, featuring the newest developments in architecture, graphic design, fashion, furniture and product design. Read about what makes it special: DesignMarch Diaries.

Shanko Rugs is one of my favorite designs at DesignWeek. Take a peek at my other favorites here: Best of DesignMarch.