The design career of Erla Oskarsdottir began with work in interior design before her interests turned to industrial design. She studied at the prestigious Denmark Design School in Copenhagen and completed her course work in 1993, earning a degree in furniture and industrial design. During her studies, Erla developed a particular interest in seating design. Her diploma work at DDS was an original chair design called Dreki for which she received the German Red Prize for great achievement in industrial design. Both the Dreki chair and a second chair design, Daki, are currently in production and sold throughout the world.
After completing her studies, Erla set up her own design studio, Oskars Design, in her native Iceland. She has worked for several well-known furniture manufacturing companies throughout Europe mainly devoting her time to chair design for the contract market. It was this shared passion for innovative seating that first caught the attention of Bernhardt Design. Etro, Erla’s first chair design for Bernhardt Design, was introduced at NeoCon in 1999. Honors awarded Erla for the Etro chair include the DV Cultural Award in 1988, Reykjavik; Silver Award, Best of NeoCon 1999, Chicago; and Design of the Year 1999, Reykjavik. Lido, a second design with Bernhardt Design, received Silver Award, Best of NeoCon 2002.
Her work is part of the permanent collections of Stedjelik Museum in Amsterdam and The Icelandic Design Museum, Reykjavik.
Erla was born in Reykjavik, Iceland, in June 1957. She currently lives in Iceland with her husband, film director Thorsteinn Jonsson, and their two daughters.