Join a small group of RIT alumni on a once-in-a-lifetime immersion in Icelandic design culture organized in partnership with the RIT Alumni Association and hosted by Josh Owen, Industrial Design Program Chair.

Our coterie will explore the creative approach to life flourishing amid Iceland’s stunning volcanic landscape as we meet with the movers and shakers in the local design scene and dive into DesignMarch, Reykavik’s lively annual design week. We’ll feel the power of giant waterfalls and erupting geysers, soak in geothermal hot pools, and enjoy a week of beautiful local cuisine, all in the enriching company of other inquisitive, likeminded RIT alumni.

An invitation from Josh Owen, Industrial Design Program Chair:

RIT is excited to visit Iceland and to examine the country through a designer’s lens during Reykjavik design week. Because of its geographic isolation, Iceland is remarkably different from the rest of the world.

We’ve crafted this trip for designers and for those who are curious about design to discover how a unique culture interprets it. I’ve been around the world to look at design and the way it is expressed through the unique people and places that produce it. As a designer and an educator, I believe that design is more than a vocation – it is a way to view and decipher the world. I love to experience new and different ways of using design and to share my insights with others.

Join me in Iceland – through a designer’s lense.

Sunday, March 24—Welcome to Iceland!

  • Soak away the jetlag in the world famous water of The Blue Lagoon

  • Toast your fellow travelers over a beautiful feast for the senses

Upon arrival at Keflavik Int’l Airport your Onward Travel host will be waiting for the group accompanied by a friendly Icelandic guide and a professional driver with a comfortable vehicle. The guide will interpret the enchanting landscape as we drive through volcanic rock fields and cross the continental divide on our way to the center of Reykjavik, Iceland’s charming capital.

But we aren’t headed straight for the city. Our first stop after leaving the airport will be for a hot brunch at a restaurant opened just for us this morning. The location on the edge of Reykjanes Peninsula, beside a looming lighthouse, will have you feeling Icelandic vibes in no time. Then, what’s better to stave off jetlag than a soak in the world renowned, wellness-promoting waters of the Blue Lagoon.

A light lunch will be provided for you to enjoy during the remaining transfer to Reykjavik. In the early afternoon we’ll check into our accommodations for a little R & R before gathering for a gourmet multi-course Icelandic feast at Forréttabarrinn. The food at this design-focused restaurant is feast for all of the senses. Get to know your fellow RIT alumni and toast the fantastic week ahead.

Monday, March 25—Reykjavik Design Plunge

  • Lunch on seafood at Reykjavik’s iconic harbor

  • Roll up your sleeves in a hands-on letterpress workshop

Our day starts with the best coffee in Iceland at Reykjavik Roasters. A local designer-cum-tour guide will meet us there to show us Reykjavik from his point of view. We’ll begin with sweeping views from the steeple of Hallgrímskirkja Church, an icon of expressionist architecture. Our walking tour will feature architectural interpretation and take us through some local spaces for design as well as Reykjavik’s wonderful City Hall. Then we’ll enjoy a lunch of lobster soup and grilled fish kebabs by the harbor.

A stunning presence in the city harbor is the iconic Harpa, a concert venue and event center. The glass facade was designed by the artist Olafur Eliasson and features kaleidoscopic reflections of the city and landscape. During our private behind the scenes tour of this singular building our group will be fascinated by the intellectual depth of its aesthetic inspiration as well as its tumultuous, if short, history.

From Harpa we’re off the visit our friends Ólöf and Hildur at Reykjavik Letterpress. Established in 2010 by these two gregarious and creative friends, the studio has since achieved significant success – including a 2016 ranking as the 2nd best letterpress shop in the world by Print Magazine. We’ll spend the afternoon here in a workshop and each member of our group will create their own letterpress print that will be displayed in an RIT Exhibition as part of the upcoming DesignMarch event.

Enjoy this evening in Reykjavik as you please!

Tuesday, March 26—The Golden Circle

  • Gain an understanding of Iceland’s vital geothermal energy system

  • Enjoy a guided tour of some of the world’s most stunning scenery

Today our fabulous Icelandic guide will take us on a special tour of The Golden Circle area near Reykjavik, providing much more insight than the typical tourist experience there allows. We’ll begin at Thingvellir National Park; highlights of the day will include exploring this magical place where the great Atlantic rift is clearly visible, a visit to the famous Geysir geothermal area and a stop at the magnificent Gullfoss waterfall. To emphasize the incredible Icelandic relationship with geothermal energy we’ll also visit the eye-opening Hellisheidi Power Plant and enjoy lunch in a greenhouse full of tomato plants. To round out our day of adventure, we’ll unwind with a soak in the picturesque Secret Lagoon.

When we return to Reykjavik we’ll be hungry and probably a little bit tired, so tonight we’ll enjoy a healthy, laid back dinner together at Glo, a delicious “fast casual” raw-focused restaurant whose chef has become something of a national celebrity.

Wednesday, March 27—Through a Designer’s Eyes

  • Tour some of the most celebrated modern interiors in the city with the man who created them

Spend the first half of today how you wish – wander the city streets, do some shopping, or visit a museum.

In the afternoon we’ll meet our friend, local design legend Halfdan (aka Dani) Pedersen for a very special and memorable tour of his work in the center of Reykjavik. A former film set designer, Dani has designed the interiors of many of the city’s most popular restaurants, bars and stores. Today he will take us to these places to show us his work and discuss his process, and we’ll enjoy some of Reykjavik’s best food and beverages as we go. Dani’s lovely personality combined with his wonderful work and the access he brings our group will make this a day you’ll remember for a long time.

Thursday, March 28—DesignTalks Inspiration

  • Spend a day listening to brilliant people from across design disciplines presenting their latest work and captivations

  • Mix and mingle with the fascinating crowd of attendees at the post-talks reception

Note: As the DesignMarch programming and festivities unfold, more information will be provided regarding the schedule March 28-30.

Today the festival begins! DesignTalks is an inspiring day of presentations by prominent design thinkers and we’ll spend the day soaking it in. The theme for 2019 is Innovation by Design.

Friday, March 29—The Festival is Underway

  • Enjoy the lively DesignMarch festival at various creative venues around the city

  • Enjoy some truly lovely canapes in a hip office space downtown

Installations and programs will take place all over Reykjavik as the city becomes a venue for creativity. We’ll find out what’s happening and make the most of the dynamic, unique design showcase around us. Horseback riding and a cooking class will also be available for those who’d like to take part in those activities. Timing and details TBD.

Early evening, we’ll convene for an RIT cocktail party, catered by Iceland’s MasterChef Gunnar Helgi. Mix, mingle, and toast this unique, creative experience at the Pink Iceland office, located on hip Hverfisgata, in the middle of the action. Cocktails, conversation, and lovely food await. And perhaps you’re just getting started, because Reykjavik’s infamous Friday night out, known as rúntur, starts now. Icelanders go out hard, so feel free to join the raucous bar crawl that lasts all night long.

Saturday, March 30—More DesignMarch

  • Toast your traveling companions after a wonderful week in Iceland!

Another fantastic day experiencing DesignMarch and enjoying Reykjavik’s creative buzz! Stay tuned for all the plans.

This evening we’ll enjoy a delicious farewell dinner together at one of the city’s best restaurants. Cheers to a wonderful week that was not only intellectually stimulating but lots and lots of fun! Those who would like to can head out to the closing party of DesignMarch together tonight to say hello to all their new Icelandic friends.

Sunday, March 31—Farewell

  • Head home with wonderful memories!

Sleep in this morning or take one last long walk or thermal dip at the city pool. Today we will enjoy a special catered lunch at one of the city’s premier cultural institutions. Throughout the week we’ll have met many local designers and artists and we’ll invite them to join us for this final soiree.

Then it’s off to the airport for flights home, the transfer is included. Bon voyage!

  • $3,850 based on double occupancy.
  • Air travel is not included but Onward Travel is happy to assist. Please see the Itinerary PDF for additional information on coordinating your flight.
  • Contact Onward Travel with questions at letsgo@onwardtravel.co.