Ideas are born, some take flight, explode in all directions and fall on new ground.

Sigga Soffía Níelsdóttir graduated from the Contemporary Dance Department of Iceland’s Arts University in 2009. Part of her studies took place at École Supérieure des Arts du Cirque in Brussels. In 2021 she graduated with an MBA degree from the University of Reykjavík. She has worked both in Iceland and abroad as a dancer and choreographer but has also become known as a designer of fireworks and flower art.

The Japanese word for fireworks is hanabi – hana means fire and bi means flower; the Japanese therefore talk of fire flowers. For the last few years Sigga Soffía has worked to synthesise elements of these art forms both on the ground and in the air, and designed fireworks displays which have evolved from her choreography. In addition she has designed a fireworks display of real flowers, more precisely a floral installation which blooms according to

a devised planting design. The newest additions to the fire flower project are fragrance, nectars and food, as well as diverse product and experience designs. In this way Sigga Soffía hovers between various art forms and design fields, along with her collaborators from different disciplines.

Behind the Scenes is conceived as a space for research. Here we have the opportunity to review work retrospectively, look at ideas that have come to fruition, ideas that have not been realized and consider those still in the research phase as well as the possibilities ahead.


Dance is composed in a similar way to music. Emotion and technique fuse. Playing with rhythm, speed, repetition, unison, canon, solos, duets and group phrases.

The methods of composing dance can also be utilised to design a multifarious fireworks display. You first draw up large pictures then smaller frames inside every image. The position of the explosive materials decides where the fire flowers will bloom. Just as a dancer who steps on a stage, the fireworks explode over the building Tollhúsið. A woman in a red dress glides onto the stage in a circular movement and red fireworks explode in the same circular movement over Faxagarður. A dancer stands still mid-stage, and suns explode over the audience, suspended momentarily in the sky before descending slowly to earth in a parachute.


As far as we know, the first firework in the form of a flower was designed in 1926. It was the Japanese artist Gisaku Aoki who built and designed it. This first fire-flower (hanabi) was made to resemble a double petaled Chrysanthemum with pistil. The trail of the rocket draws a stem in the sky and then a flower explodes. The most common fireworks produced today are inspired by flowers and trees with Asian origins, some of which are common in gardens in Iceland during summer. These flowers sparked the idea to grow a firework display with real flowers. This took a few years to develop. Eventually the piece “Eldblóm (fireflower or hanabi), a dance piece for fireworks and flora” was designed and planted in the Hallargarðurinn garden in Reykjavík. The piece is constructed with 850 flowers of many varieties which bloom outside in set sequence. Going forwards, an idea emerged to take bulbs and seeds in autumn, and place them in a box with the following caption: “Grow your own fireworks display.” From there emerged the design and innovation company called Íslenska Flugeldaræktunin, which later changed its name to Eldblóm ehf. which has sold fire-flower boxes. It resembles what is called a fire-work cake and contains dahlia tubers and lily bulbs.

In collaboration with Zuzana Vondra Krupkova, a horticulturalist, the team has achieved growing magnificent flowers which previously would have been thought impossible outdoors in Iceland. The boxes are presented in spring and in autumn and now little fireworks displays explode from the ground at various locations around Iceland.


The main flowers of Eldblóm have two things in common. They were the inspiration of the fireworks designers and they are all edible. This discovery led to the collaboration with Foss Distillery. They tried 20 different flowers from the flower installation to see which was the best for winemaking. It transpired that a variety called Chrysanthemum chispa (chispa translates to sparkle) had excellent potential. Subsequently the plant nursery Espiflot was engaged to grow the flower eliminating any potential toxins. Eldblóm is a pioneer in using this particular flower, which is a Spanish hybrid, to make wine and fragrance. The flower has a completely different taste quality compared to other types of Chrysanthemum flowers.

Natural ingredients encourage the flower’s flavour which is a unique earthy taste. Other ingredients in the drink are for example Arctic Thyme, hand picked by contemporary dancers and rhubarb from the southern part of the West Fjords. The drink is called Eldblóma Elexir- the Icelandic spritz.

The launch for the drink has acquired a life of its own in the form of a theatre production called Eldblóma Upplifun, which has been described as a choreographed dinner.

A version of the theatre production has been developed for kids with the emphasis on understanding and encouraging creative thinking. Sharing how one idea can lead to another and how playing with scale can be so magical.


Product development was initiated to extract the essence from the Chrysanthemum and develop a fragrance in collaboration with Fischersund perfumery. A first extraction was introduced in Listval at DesignMarch in 2022. A second extraction is now available at Fishersund and at There have been only 130 bottles

of the scent produced which bears the name Ilmur Náttúrulegra Flugelda (The Scent of Natural Fireworks). The Chrysanthemum chispa has to be grown from seed for both the drink and the scent; it takes five months to achieve a harvest.