Popular Flea Market Seeks New Home Skip to content

Popular Flea Market Seeks New Home

By Steindor Gretar Jonsson

Photo: Karl Gunnarsson.

Reykjavík authorities are looking for a new space to house long-time flea market Kolaportið. The popular weekend attraction has been located in the Tollhúsið building in downtown for 30 years, but will soon make way for the Iceland University of the Arts, according to a notice from Reykjavík authorities.

Kolaportið was first opened on April 8, 1989 in the parking garage under the Central Bank of Iceland on Arnarhóll hill in downtown Reykjavík. Its name, which roughly translates to The Coal Yard, is derived from that location and its history. Five years later, the market was moved to Tollhúsið on Tryggvagata, which previously served as the customs office for the downtown harbour.

Search for a new location

The City Executive Council decided Thursday to launch market research for a new location, with the goal of soliciting new ideas and information from interested parties. The city will advertise in the hopes that owners of fitting properties will be encouraged to reach out.

The design studio m / studio_ was tasked with analysing the requirements for a new flea market. The current location is 2,250 square feet, but 1,200 would be considered a small sized space. “We look at examples from abroad and put forward ideas of some Reykjavík locations that could be exciting to pursue and analyse them based on our requirements,” the analysis reads.

Importance of public markets

The analysis goes on to emphasise the importance of public markets for city life, as they are a meeting place for people with different social and cultural backgrounds. They will therefore need to represent the diversity of their society so everyone can have a reason to visit and feel welcome.

Other important factors are the experience of tourists, product diversity that can both be predictable and surprising, low-cost rent for stalls, organisation of various events, good location and an accessible space, which is suitable, memorable, attractive and has a good flow.

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