Sometimes the biggest surprises come in small packages. This could be said of Kjartan’s home; a small, top-floor flat in an apartment building from the middle of the last century, in a neighbourhood built around the same time. Nothing to suggest that right there you would discover something so out of the ordinary; as the home of this design enthusiast, collector of eccentricities and art lover truly is. Up a narrow staircase we arrive at his flat on a bright winter daylight flowing in through the roof windows, a strong smell of patchouli mixed with one of the owner’s scented candles, which form part of his many collections.
The apartment used to house his whole family; his parents started out here after Kjartan’s father returned to Iceland from Copenhagen having finished his studies in interior design. The layout of the apartment shows clear signs of good design, as well as cleverly thought out space solutions, and it has kept its original design throughout the years, with minor alterations. It should therefore come as no surprise that the son of an interior designer would end up displaying such interest in gathering singular objects, often difficult to find.
Having studied textile design in Copenhagen for a period, Kjartan decided to move back to Iceland, and has since created his own peculiar world in the apartment that used to be his parent’s home. During that time he has carefully selected every item, each of which tells a story of places he has visited, and where he has often discovered unique objects. Many years of working in retail, selling design and furniture, has also left a permanent mark on his style and home. This all now forms a part of his singular universe, where, aside from the other previously mentioned objects, artwork has now become one of the biggest players in the house, fighting for attention from all the classic design furniture and quirky objects that you find everywhere you look.
Kjartan is facing one problem at the moment that does not have an easy solution – lack of wall space. Since deciding to shift his focus from buying design objects and furniture to buying art, wall space has become somewhat limited; a difficult thing to accept for the compulsive collector that Kjartan has turned into.
Maybe in the future we will find him living in a different space, where his universe will keep on evolving, perhaps into something completely different, but whatever the outcome, hopefully we will be there to document it; for homes like these are hard to create and even harder to find.
Text: Auður Gná // Photography: Íris Ann