Bed linens used to be passed down from mother to daughter in Iceland,” says Linda Björg Árnadóttir, the creative director of Scintilla, a home textiles design company. “There was real quality in the fabric. It didn’t seem to wear out over time, but instead it got better more cozy, more character.” Scintilla has won its way into every luxury hotel in Iceland for a simple reason: its beauty matches its durability.
“This is a bathing culture here in Iceland,” says Linda. “Our towels are in hotels across the country–including the Blue Lagoon Hotel.” The beauty of the design and the quality of the material is only part of the story. These towels are meant to be used a lot. “Swimming isn’t a once and while thing for Icelanders. It’s everyday.”
The design on the towels is inspired by the dramatic and graphic landscapes of Iceland, combining the harshness of the elements to the diversity of the colours. “These are not direct prints mind you,” says Linda. “We process this and then form and create our designs specifically. These aren’t homages to nature. These are manufactured avant-garde print designs, following in the great tradition of other nordic designers.”
Nordic design, or Scandinavian design, is characterized by a certain minimalism and functionality. The brands that defined the movement, which emerged out of the 1950s, were Denmark’s Bang & Olufsen or Finland’s Iittala. “Scintilla is not Iceland’s addition to Nordic design. Scintilla is post-Nordic design,” says Linda. “We can use elements from Nordic design and from before. We can blend the past and the present. We don’t need to worship minimalism or combat it. We can use everything to our advantage functionally and aesthetically.”
As Scintilla becomes ubiquitous in bathrooms across Iceland, Linda dreams of something bigger. “To be honest, I want people in 30-years to still have my towels. I want it to be an iconic Icelandic brand. Something handed down and filled with memories. I also want everyone to have it. I want to give something of Iceland to the world.”