The Empty Windows of Laugavegur

mbl.is/Kristinn Magnússon

Vala Hafstað

Numerous buildings or spaces that used to house stores on Laugavegur, the main shopping street in Reykjavík, are deserted as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. In recent years, businesses on Laugavegur have increasingly been geared toward tourists and tourist-related services.

mbl.is/Kristinn Magnússon

Since the pandemic hit in the spring, resulting in travel restrictions worldwide and a major drop in tourist numbers, numerous stores have closed their doors – some temporarily, others for good.

mbl.is/Kristinn Magnússon

When Morgunblaðið photographer Kristinn Magnússon walked down Laugavegur the other day, from Hlemmur square to Lækjargata, he counted 50 closed businesses, located on the ground floor. Thirty of those were completely empty. This does not include the restaurants and cafés which have closed temporarily.

mbl.is/Kristinn Magnússon

In 2005, there were as many as 191 stores and services on Laugavegur. In the summer, when they were last counted by Reykjavík City, they were 172. A new official count is planned soon.

mbl.is/Kristinn Magnússon


While several stores, such as souvenir stores, that appeal to tourists have closed, some have changed their focus by adding selections that appeal to Icelanders as well.

Some stores carrying Icelandic design have changed their location downtown, in some cases by moving into a larger space.

mbl.is/Kristinn Magnússon

Owners of the café Prikið, Geoffrey Þ. Huntingdon-Williams og Guðfinnur Sölvi Karlsson, launched an initiative late in October called Sköpum líf í lokun , or Creating life during closure, where they do their best to assist artists in getting access to deserted spaces, which they can then use for their creative activity.

mbl.is/Kristinn Magnússon


This way, they attempt to bring cultural activities to the downtown area and, at the same time, provide use for the empty spaces.

mbl.is/Kristinn Magnússon

mbl.is/Kristinn Magnússon

"For Sale or Rent."

"For Sale or Rent." mbl.is/Kristinn Magnússon

mbl.is/Kristinn Magnússon

mbl.is/Kristinn Magnússon

mbl.is/Kristinn Magnússon

mbl.is/Kristinn Magnússon












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