When it opens on May 4, 2011, Iceland's newest meeting facility, a waterfront concert hall and conference center known as "Harpa," will be a hub for international meetings and events, capable of appealing to meeting planners in both Europe and the United States, its owner and operator, Portus and Ago, announced last month.
Located just four hours from the East Coast of the United States in Reykjavík, Iceland, Harpa — named both for the string instrument and the ancient Icelandic name of a month in the old Nordic calendar, which marks the beginning of summer — will offer 301,000 square feet of space encompassing an 1,800-seat auditorium, several conference rooms and an exhibition hall for up to 2,000 people. Designed by Danish-Icelandic artist Olafur Eliasson, its glass facade — which features glass cubes that change color with the light of the day — will showcase views on three sides of Reykjavík's harbor.
"It is with great anticipation that we have seen the building and its magnificent façade emerge on the skyline," Portus Chairman Pétur J. Eiríksson said in a statement. "Now that it is nearing completion, we can feel the energy it will bring to the city and how it will strengthen Reykjavík as one of the most attractive capitals in Europe."
Under development since 2006, Harpa is intended to host everything from large conventions, concerts and exhibitions to smaller banquets and meetings.
Hailing the new facility as an "architectural masterpiece," the Icelandic Convention & Incentive Bureau — which gave a group of association and corporate meeting planners a tour of the facility in March — has said that Harpa will provide Iceland with a "good boost" in the international meetings marketplace. "The guests we have invited to Harpa have influence and connections in the association and business worlds," said Anna R. Valdimarsdóttir, the Bureau's manager. "We encourage them to help us raise awareness abroad of Iceland and of Harpa, a very attractive conference venue. We want to establish good lines of communication with our ambassadors, and to let them know what Reykjavík has to offer in the conference arena."
Added Eiríksson, "Harpa will be open in May 2011. It will offer the best possible facilities for conferences, and it will certainly put Iceland on the map as a location for events of this type."
For more information about Harpa, including images of the facility, visit www.harpa.is.