Emilia Borgthorsdottir opened her San Francisco-based studio, emiliaBorgthor, in 2010, where she works on diverse design projects ranging from CD covers to residential kitchens. A 2009 graduate of the Art Institute of California in Industrial Design, she made her design debut at NeoCon 2011 when Coalesse introduced her first product, Sebastopol™ — a set of occasional tables. Influenced by one of Borgthorsdottir’s favorite genres, 1950s Scandinavian design, and inspired by her own experiments with her living space, it won the gold “Best of NeoCon” award.
Two key elements in Emilia’s background influence and shape her design. Prior to her design studies, Emilia was a certified physical therapist and worked as a clinician; she naturally weaves ergonomic functionality in a practical design. Born in Reykjavik, Iceland’s capital city, and raised on a volcanic island, her work is also strongly influenced by the beauty and force of nature.
“Some people might ask why I spent four years of my life studying physical therapy. But I was a flight attendant also.”
Borgthorsdottir holds extreme pride in her heritage and past. “Some people might ask why I spent four years of my life studying physical therapy. But I was a flight attendant also. There are so many things that are irrelevant to design, but they’re always there in my mind to pull from.” Her greatest lesson is to “never discount any of your experiences in life.” She uses them all to create products that help people live better.
Emilia’s work has been exhibited at the International Contemporary Furniture Fair in New York, and displayed at the Museum of Design and Applied Art in Iceland.
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