Designer Crush: Tryggvi Thorsteinsson and Erla Dögg Ingjaldsdóttir of MINARC

1. How did you two meet and what prompted you to launch MINARC?

We met through our work here in Los Angeles, even though we are both from Iceland. Both young and passionate, with strong opinions about sustainability and the function of spaces. 20 years and 3 kids later, we still wouldn’t have it any other way.

2. Blurring interior and exterior spaces is central to your projects — what are some ways you achieve this and why is it important to your aesthetic?

I think in our time we never have time, people are on their phones and computers all the time and the world constantly expects more of us. When we are home it is important to be able to see out. To know what time and what season it is. Aesthetically speaking, it gives us visual square footage by removing barriers for overall healthier indoor/outdoor living.

3. What’s your process for getting to know a client?

We first ask, what are the wants and needs are- how big or small is the family, and what is the family or client like. Where is the home site and how is it situated geographically speaking — is it towards sun, north, south, on a hill, near the ocean, etc.

4. You abide by an energy-conscious approach that relies on environmentally-friendly materials. What are some innovative ways you’ve found to maintain this eco-consciousness?

We developed a system of building panels called mnmMOD. They are an alternative to wood and are durable, energy efficient and produced with zero waste. mnmMOD panels don’t support fire and termites are not attracted to it, giving them a longer life span of the home.

5. Describe one particularly memorable project.

Every project is unique and memorable in one way or another. Many of our clients become lifelong friends and get to spend time in their home and/or hotels that we have designed. All of our projects are close to our hearts.

6. How do you define “California style”?

To us, “California Style” is not the California Bungalow (or shouldn’t be). The weather here is the same as where we put the thermostat, 68-72 degrees F, so California style to us is an open floorplan with inside and outside spaces merging. It is having the ability to enjoy nature, the backyard and sky filled with stars. Enjoying seeing the difference between night and day winter and summer. Enjoy hearing and seeing the birds, cats, and squirrels.

7. Who is your dream celebrity client and what would you create for them?

Every client that trusts us and believes in us is our dream client. Our favorite client is a happy client.

8. Which musical album has been most influential in your life and why?

Björk, Human Behavior is a single that has been very influential.

Lightning round!

9. Coffee or tea?


10. Crunchy or smooth?


11. Early bird or night owl?

Night owl.

12. Movie theater or live theater?

Live theater.

13. Beach or mountains?