Guide / Reykjavik
”I’m proud that we have kept the integrity of a ’where everybody knows your name’ vibe”
On secret clubs and Bjork spotting
16 Apr 2021

Andrea Maack is a visual artist and scent designer based in Reykjavik. She got a nose for scent when she exhibited different interactive art installations in the late 2000s, and today her eponymous luxury fragrance brand is now sold worldwide.

Since relocating back to her native Iceland in 2017, Maack has been working on finding a perfect spot where she could set up a studio, showroom and residential villa all in one. The Geopark Villa in the Reykjanes Peninsula in South Iceland is her latest project.

My favourite thing that makes me proud of Reykjavik:

I grew up in Reykjavik and after having lived and worked abroad on and off since my early twenties, I still appreciate the small-town feel that Reykjavik has. You only have to drive a few minutes to feel like you are in the countryside, and I’m proud of how we have kept that integrity of a ”where everybody knows your name” vibe.

My favourite weekend routine:

After I had my baby boy Húgó, now 18 months old, weekends do revolve around entertaining him, like looking for fun playgrounds. We particularly like Laugardalur, the Hot Spring Valley, which has big outdoor space. We also take drives to pools and hot springs, one we really love is Fontana, a sleek lakefront spa featuring natural steam baths, outdoor mineral pools and a sauna. It’s a beautiful drive from Reykjavik — the perfect day trip!

My favourite cultural spot:

Kjarvalsstaðir, it’s a museum with modern paintings & sculptures by well-known Icelandic artists. They usually host quite progressive shows even if this is a more established museum, so I like the contrast of that. They also have a nice park where you can hang out and have picnics.

My favourite place for dining out:

I like Sumac for the atmosphere, it makes me feel like I’m back in London. For lunch, I like the food at The Marshall House, and you can check out the latest exhibitions at The Living Art Museum and Kling and Bang at the same time.

My favourite place for a creative or business meeting:

Kjarval’s Workshop is a new spot downtown in Jóhannes Sveinsson Kjarval old studio. You must have a membership to get in, which I’m sure most Icelandic creatives have. So just call a local artist and get the ”code” and have a super nice happy hour with amazing views over Reykjavik city, or take a meeting in one of their private meeting rooms, filled with amazing art.

My favourite breakfast place:

Unfortunately, there are not a lot of breakfast spots in Reykjavik. I always get up super early so I would love a bigger selection, but an oldie and a goldie with the best pancakes would have to be The Grey Cat.

Kjarval’s Workshop.

My favourite city escape:

The pools for sure, there are so many amazing ones, I usually go to the regions of Vesturbær or Seltjarnarnes. It’s a bit of a tradition to go have a hot dog after your dip, it’s very Icelandic and we are proud of our hot dogs.

My favourite local entrepreneur or creative:

There are so many… my friend Saga Sig is both an amazing photographer and painter.

My favourite hotel for a staycation:

Towers Suites are amazing, with super cool design details. The eight suites are on the 20th floor of one of the city’s more defining buildings, which adds flavour to the intriguing skyline. Each suite has its distinctive character, and with a full panoramic view in every direction. It also makes you feel like you are somewhere else and for a local, that’s amazing. But maybe for someone that wants to experience the Reykjavik party life, it would have to be 101 Hotel.

Views from Reykjavik seaside strolls. Photo: Giuseppe Milo / Creative Common

My favourite route for a run or walk:

I love running by the sea unless the weather is super crazy, so I would say Ægisíða (Bjork has a house there and has been spotted strolling that trail…).

My favourite place for fashion:

Kiosk on Grandi (an up and coming area by the harbour) is a super cool spot with local established designers. A few doors down you find KALDA, an amazing shoe brand sold worldwide. The store is more like a studio so you get a glimpse into their world. Stefánsbúð has the best selection of international designers, and Hildur Yeoman is the influencers’ pick for sure, they are pretty much door to door on the main street Laugavegur.

My favourite space for great design:

Norr11 just opened an amazing new space downtown, love their selection.

My favourite local media:

Trendnet, Viðskiptablaðið (Icelandic Financial Times) and RVK Ritual.

My favourite thing at home:

At the moment I’m living in boxes, currently building a Villa and showroom approximately 30 min from Reykjavik. We sold our house 10 years ago to living abroad and build up the business, so It’s pretty much like starting over again with all new things. Although, I guess I would have to say can’t go without a good coffee maker and good company.

Rendering of The Geopark Villa.