“My models are for experimenting – and by experimenting, I mean understanding.”

In 2014, the Icelandic architect and mathematician Einar Þorsteinn Ásgeirsson (1942–2015) donated most of the contents of his workshop to the Museum of Design and Applied Art in Iceland. The gift included diaries, photographs, drawings, calculations, sketchbooks, models, furniture, and other items relating to his life and work.

Einar Þorsteinn was a pioneer in geometric research and the use of 3D models, through which he was able to study and explain concepts such as five-fold symmetry. He was also ahead of his time in the study of sustainability, as shown in the dome houses he designed in the 1980s, each of which featured its own indoor garden.

Einar Þorsteinn can best be described as a true Renaissance man. He was also a collaborator, working closely with the artist Ólafur Eliasson, for example on the glass exterior of the Harpa concert hall in Reykjavik, and with the architect and inventor Buckminster Fuller.

Instead of filing Einar Þorsteinn’s work and belongings in the backrooms of the museum, as is normal practice, here the process will take place in the museum’s exhibition space. We will open the boxes, photograph the work, enter it into the filing system, and finally pack everything up according to best practice. The aim is to preserve the work but also to make the information gathered on each object accessible. Unfortunately, publishing law in Iceland makes it difficult for museums such as the Design Museum to provide access to the images in their filing systems. We truly hope this will change and that in the near future this treasure chest will be open to everyone. It feels a shame to keep it closed.

Filing is an exciting and educative process – it deepens our understanding, sparks new ideas and connections, opens up a dialogue and brings back memories.

1) Interview with Einar Þorsteinn in O32c Issue #13 — Summer 2007 – Page 80 – 83

Photos: Vigfús Birgisson