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A conference exploring the concept of the Web as a material

9 a.m.-Nordic House, Sæmundargata 11, 101 Reykjavík, Iceland

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Price at the door will be 24.000 ISK + VSK

20+ years of the Web and we are still at the very beginning of understanding and implementing digitization. For the first time we are facing a generation that never got to know the offline world. By nature they are riding the wave without ever having touched the ground. We might have unlearned our ancestors' knowledge about materials and crafts, it's easy to overlook the intrinsic characteristics of the Web in favour of the newest framework or boilerplate.

Let's re-explore the material Web and evaluate what we have learned so far. Join us in Reykjavik, Iceland, for a trip through history, views and cultures.


The conference will be a day long mix of presentations and fun little side-shows from both international and local speakers.

Photo of Charlotte Dann
Charlotte Dann

Charlotte Dann — Integration of artistry to the web

Charlotte Dann is a designer/developer based in London, working across a wide spectrum of disciplines ranging from electronics to fine glasswork; she has not yet found a craft she does not wish to master.

While undertaking an MA in Computational Arts she created Hexatope, a combination of her two central vocations of jewellery design and web development. Hexatope allows anyone to design their own jewellery by intuitively interacting with a hexagonal grid entirely in the browser. Designs are then produced in precious metal using 3D-printing technology and traditional metalwork.

Charlotte's going to talk about the integration of artistry to the web and how practical design techniques can evolve with computational thinking.

Photo of Matt Jones — photo by Joi Ito,
Matt Jones (photo by Joi Ito)

Matt Jones

Former Principal at BERG, now working at Google in London on various top secret projects as Principal Designer in Google Research & Machine Intelligence. Matt Jones' talk will look at some of the ideas around raw computing. If the Web were a material, he'd brute force his way to the best answer, maybe without even understanding how he got there — and that's OK.

Photo of Nina Walia
Nina Walia

Nina Walia

Nina Walia is an Experience Designer for ubiquitous technology and emerging platforms. Currently, she is weaving technological experiences into interactive textiles and surfaces at Google. Her previous experience includes overseeing innovative, award winning designs intended to motivate, inspire, educate, and improve people’s lives for Nike, GE, PBS, and the Office of the First Lady, Michelle Obama. Most recently, Nina was working as Experience Design Lead on Jacquard, a collaboration of Google and Levi's.

She holds four design patents for her work and has spoken about her craft at many renowned conferences, such as the Interaction Design Association's (IXDA) annual conference, South By South West, Games for Change, the International Conference for Interaction Design and Children, and the Asia-Pacific Broadcasting Union's annual workshop.

She is passionate about community organizing, and co-founded Subcontinental Drift, a nationally syndicated group to encourage South Asian Americans in the arts. She sometimes reminisces about her days as musician, record label owner, and DJ.

Photo of Bjorn Steinar
Björn Steinar

Björn Steinar

Björn Steinar is an Icelandic designer who takes a closer look at all the waste we produce on a daily basis. From food waste to plastic, he explores ways we can do better. His most recent project, Catch of the day, is fighting food waste one vodka bottle at a time.

Food waste is a severe problem on a global scale with no solution in sight due to fluctuations in production and demand. Fermentation and distillation of leftover fruits prolong the “best before” date to infinity; since alcohol over 23% can never go bad. Each batch is carefully crafted using discarded fruits, picked up from local importers, farmers or dumpsters.

Björn will get us thinking about all the physical waste we are producing as part of the Web and what we can do about it!

Photo of Dr. Benjamin D. Hennig
Dr. Benjamin D. Hennig

Benjamin Hennig

Ben is a geographer who works on spatial data analysis and geovisualisation. His research interests include social and spatial inequalities, humanity's impact on Earth, global sustainability and new concepts for the visualisation of these issues. Ben works at the University of Iceland and is a research associate at the University of Oxford. He is also involved in the Worldmapper project which will be the main focus of his talk. The talk will make us rediscover maps with novel cartographic approaches. Be prepared to see the world as you’ve never seen it before!

Photo of Debbie Chachra
Debbie Chachra, PhD

Debbie Chachra

Deb Chachra is a Professor of Engineering and one of the early faculty at Olin College, which was founded to rethink engineering education at the undergraduate level. She has research and teaching interests in education, design, and infrastructure, with a background in materials science. She received her PhD from the University of Toronto and held a postdoctoral fellowship at MIT, and her research has primarily focused on biological materials, including heart valves, bone, and the fibre-reinforced polyester made by bees. At this conference, her goal is to help participants develop a deeper understanding of some of the central ideas of materials science, including how they manifest in emerging technologies like 3D printing and bionanotechnology.

WIRED magazine described her work as being plugged Oculus-style into her brain while she meditates on science and culture’.

Photo of Dewi Gwyn Uridge
Dewi Gwyn Uridge

Dewi Gwyn Uridge

Dewi is a designer who recently completed his BA in Design at Goldsmiths University, London. His approach to design is process driven, experimenting with people, location and material. Using his making abilities as a means to collect data, influencing the direction of his thoughts and practice.

His talk will be based on the theme of urban and rural, discussing the similarities, differences, and the ability to bridge both together as one. He will tell the story through objects he has designed, which has lead him to a new destination: living on a farm outside of London, a future farm for creativity.


8:30 Registration Opens

From 8:30 to 9:00, you can come down to the venue, Nordic House, and check-in.

9:00 Opening

We'll start the morning with an opening welcome, our first presentation will be from Charlotte Dann and then a maps mini-talk by Benjamin Hennig.

Coffee Break

Morning Talks

A mini-talk by Hjalli about his newest advenuture followed by a presentation by Nina Walia and another mini-talk.


Afternoon Talks

A mini-talk followed by Matt Jones, with another mini-talk by Björn Steinar, followed by a little surprise before the final break.

Coffee Break

Final Afternoon Talks & closing

We'll finish the afternoon with our final talk and closing by Debbie Chachra.

16:00 Finish

The day is done, but we can continue to chat with our new friends and find a place to get some food.

The Nordic House

Norræna húsið — the Nordic House
The Nordic House by acclaimed Finnish modernist architect Alvar Aalto

The conference will be held on November 16th at Norræna húsið, the Nordic House. Built in 1968 by acclaimed Finnish modernist architect Alvar Aalto, located in the center of Reykjavík, it is a short walking distance from various hotels and guesthouses.

The house maintains a library and focuses on Nordic Region information services. In addition, there is a shop for Nordic design and food products, exhibition space and auditoriums. The house also features an acclaimed restaurant serving New Nordic food — this is where we plan to have lunch together.

Rather than using a full-service hotel or conference center, we are trying a smaller, cozier and definitely more memorable location.

Get your ticket!

A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. We're getting organized and you should too. Start to book your travel plans now as flights and hotels may be at a premium closer to the event.

The Web as a material

For centuries we've worked with wood, metal, glass, ceramic, paper, textiles. More recently, new materials have emerged; plastics, fiberglass, silicon, and more. We understand their limitations, their affordances. We can fold, heat, manipulate and warp some of these materials. But the Internet and the Web are still very new to us. We don't fully understand them as a material.

What does this mean for the Web? What are the properties of the Web as a Material?

We have lost the apprentice / master relationship in the digital world. Spending years getting our hands dirty with an expert, learning slowly and really understanding the material rather than the framework. We need to be asking ourselves what sacrifices should we be making for the convenience of our customers rather than shortcuts for ourselves.

What properties of materialness exists in the Web is what this conference is meant to explore.

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Visiting Iceland Slack Team

To help you planning your stay in Iceland, we've set up the Visiting Iceland Slack Team where you can meet other attendees, exchange experiences and team up with others to find shared Airbnbs, hotel rooms and similar. To request an invite to this Slack team please enter your email address below: