We are so excited to be sharing this new segment on Niceland!
Our “all things nice in Niceland” should of course introduce you to our neighbours!
The Niceland offices are located on the Reykjavik harbor. The harbor has fast become a very trendy part of town, sought after location by restaurants, designers and startups alike, meaning, we are surrounded by an elite flora of Icelandic talent!
Iceland is a place where everyone knows everyone, it is very much the norm to pop over for coffee just to catch up or have a get to know you chat. That is what we want to do, we want to get to know our neighbours and in the meantime tell you what we find out and show you what it feels like being a local Nicelander.

After having attended the opening of Skelfiskmarkaðurinn restaurant designed by HAF studio team, we knew exactly what our first stop would be.  

Our first neighbour feature is of a neighbour of ours we have been very excited about visiting. We leave our office and walk around the harbor in the direction of the city center. The refreshing sea breeze ribboned into the brisk air,  the ocean lazily swelling up to the wooden walls of the harbor almost like a heartbeat, setting the tone for our visit. And just like that, we have arrived.

HAF studio is located in an almost fairytale-like house on the Reykjavík harbour, three little rows of nine identical houses, with a silver tin roofs and aqua green exterior walls, little light bulbs peak their heads from underneath the roof to light up the color that has become a unique characteristic to this particular sector of the harbour. Very quaint and endearing. They have spent the whole summer remodelling and working on the house and every single inch of the space, and we are so excited to see what they have done.
 HAF means ocean in Icelandic. HAF Studio is actually an abbreviation of the name of one of the owners, Hafsteinn Júlíusson. HAF Studios is a design and concept studio own and run by Hafsteinn Júlíusson and his wife Karítas Sveinsdóttir. The couple married on August 20, 2011 after having spent a year in Milano, Italy studying interior design at Scuola Politecnica di Design and Istituto Europeo di Design, they moved back to Reykjavík and started their company.  
Our goal is to create simple things with interesting solutions which have a rich and strong concept. For us it doesn’t matter whether that it’s food, accessories, furniture, service or a soda drink.” Their incredible success is something you can not help but notice in Reykjavik, they have done it all, from designing entire restaurants, storefronts, offices, hospitals, banks and hotels! Their visions have become a rich part of Icelandic young culture in determining what is trending within the Icelandic world of interior design and aesthetic.
Hafsteinn tells us that when they were offered the house for rent there were no excuses left, “We decided to go for the dream! Opening a shop that offers custom furniture, our own line and an edited selection of items from other designers and even leaving space for Karitas´s hobby of having living plants and freshly cut flowers in the store.”
The only reason they had not done already is because they wanted to be in this area. “We wanted to have a connection to this area and when you have set your sights on something, nothing else really compares.” Hafsteinn says smiling.

Once I enter the now completely transformed space, I am serenaded by a scent that captures the atmosphere in the studio perfectly, “these candles are made from natural wax and are of a cruelty free production in Paris.”

The space is very warm, black steel rimmed shelves line the walls, clear glass objects and green leafy plants occupy the shelves. An inviting casual couch welcomely waits for guests next to a coffee maker, books and posters of exquisite flowers and wild-life make the store and studio engaging and chic. Looking up at the ceiling, our eye immediately goes to the vertigo light suspended from the higher ceiling, and since the work studio is on the second floor the lower ceiling frames the lighting fixture perfectly. The lower ceiling is maximised by a linear lighting system in a geometrical paralleling pattern that creates the perfect balance of natural light to highlight the raw concrete walls and simple clear sealed floors.

Customers come into the HAF Studio Store and are welcomed by the owner Karitas, interior designer, her husband Hafsteinn, an interior designer and product designer, or one of their team members, Védís Pálsdóttir, a product designer, Kristrún Hunter, an architect, or Markús Stefánsson, a industrial designer.  

Their work in spaces and other design pieces are a perfectly curated match between warm wooden tones, sleekness of metals and the elegance of refined craftsmanship. The color palettes range from monochrome to inviting caramel leather chosen to compliment the design and the general ambiance of a HAF studio made space is in fact unique to any other.

Skelfiskmarkaðurinn, that translates to the sea-shell market, is a restaurant owned by chef Hrefna Sætran and her partners, it is located on a city square affectionately called Hjartagarðurinn or “Heart garden” just of the main street Laugavegur in Reykjavík.
We walked inside and were immediately transported to a beautiful world of marble finishes, elegant wooden panels and surrounded by three tiered silver serving platters decked with alluring shells in all shapes and sizes.  Yet another unbelievable achievement by HAF studio, the curves of the chairs and tables were reflected in the light fixtures, all designed by the studio, for the restaurant and manufactured in Poland. Wall art made by Siggi Odds that simultaneously draws out colors that elevate the space by accenting the tones within large tiled marble that seals the floors.

How inspiring to have such immeasurable talent surround us. Young people that remind us that if you can dream it, you can do it. Thank you Hafsteinn, Karitas and to the amazing team you have built for sharing your visions with us. We wish you the greatest success in the future and can not wait to see what the future holds for you, our dear neighbours.

We look forward to getting to know other neighbours of ours with you in the coming weeks.


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