For a residential project in Iceland with nature, materials and sustainability at its core, architect Palmar Kristmundsson found a kindred spirit in iconic Danish brand VOLA.

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Iceland puts you in touch with nature at its most raw and powerful

We all now have a deeper understanding that we need time in green space, whether that’s an urban park or somewhere more wild and remote. That need is fundamental, hard-wired, flowing along neural pathways. We also know that our ache for blue space is just as powerful and water's capacity to restore and invigorate is just as profound. And few places offer raw green and blue space, nature not managed or manicured, like Iceland.

‘Water is everything for Iceland,’ says local architect Palmar Kristmundsson, founder of PK Arkitektar. ‘It's in our culture and it underlines the landscape. It's surrounded by water. It's filled with ice, rivers, waterfalls and glaciers and thermally heated water is carried from the centre of the Earth to the surface for us to make sensible use of it.’

Building in Iceland means respecting the environment in the most fundamental way

Speaking to nature: VOLA | News

Building in Iceland means respecting the environment in the most fundamental way

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Responsible building

Building in that environment carries a deep responsibility, a duty of care and attention not lost on Kristmundsson. One of his latest projects is Arborg House, set on the banks of the river Hvita, two hours east of Reykjavik, with its spirit-lifting views of the river and the mountains beyond.


VOLA's commitment to sustainability is deep and long-standing. It is built on the fundamentals of environmentally responsible design and manufacturing; longevity, durability, timeless aesthetics and enduring functionality


Arborg House's connections to the water and the surrounding landscape run deep – functionally and aesthetically. Geothermal springs have been tapped as a source of natural, renewable energy while the use of local materials, rock and pebbles taken from the riverbed and moss from the surrounding hills, embed the house in that landscape. ‘It was crucial to build the house into the land,’ Kristmundsson says. ‘Material-wise, it had to belong to that place and really sit and rest in the landscape and for the landscape to come into the building.’

Kristmundsson understands the value of materials and forms that speak to and of nature, that have a relationship with nature. Understandably then, he specified VOLA taps throughout Arborg House.

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The material choices in Arborg House connect it to the surrounding landscape

Speaking to nature: VOLA | News

The material choices in Arborg House connect it to the surrounding landscape

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Enduring sustainability

VOLA's commitment to sustainability is deep and long-standing. It is built on the fundamentals of environmentally responsible design and manufacturing; longevity, durability, timeless aesthetics and enduring functionality.


Kristmundsson understands the value of materials and forms that speak to and of nature, that have a relationship with nature. Understandably then, he specified VOLA taps throughout Arborg House


Since it was founded in Denmark in 1968, VOLA has employed materials that last but also mechanics that are easy to repair and update. No innovation or new technology will render an existing VOLA product obsolete. VOLA has always understood that true sustainability lies in creating products that keep working and keep working beautifully, and that, at every step, avoid fad, fancy and failure.

VOLA has always been committed to the fundamentals of environmentally responsible design

Speaking to nature: VOLA | News

VOLA has always been committed to the fundamentals of environmentally responsible design

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VOLA's defining form is Arne Jacobson's iconic HV1 tap design and its defining material is stainless steel, incredibly durable and corrosion resistant. It is a material the company understands and treasures. During its manufacture, VOLA ensures that all waste material goes back into production. It is also a material that feels intimately connected with water and our relationship with water, the way we use it and our reliance on it.

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VOLA’s defining material is tough and timeless stainless steel

Speaking to nature: VOLA | News

VOLA’s defining material is tough and timeless stainless steel

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A new relationship with nature

For Kristmundsson, Arborg House speaks of that relationship and reliance on water and the natural world. And he insists that relationship is not unique to Iceland. ‘I just see nature and the environment and these natural contradictions, in the contrast of light and materials and weather, as a giving element,’ he says.

Kristmundsson argues that architecture, the way that we build and what we build with, will play an increasingly important role in redefining and rebalancing that relationship with nature.

The design of Arborg House celebrates our relationship with and reliance on water

Speaking to nature: VOLA | News

The design of Arborg House celebrates our relationship with and reliance on water

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‘I believe that architecture will play a bigger part than ever in structuring our society and restructuring our life,’ he says. ‘I think it is crucial that we embrace the role of leaders in responding to the responsibility of taking care of the environment. And that it builds a respect for nature, a deeper belief in nature.’

© Architonic

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