sruli recht studio visit sruli recht studio visit
apr 04, 2011

sruli recht studio visit

sruli recht’s sewing workshop image © designboom

while in reykjavík, iceland for designmarch 2011, designboom visited the studio of designer sruli recht who landed in the nordic country via jerusalem – johannesburg, south africa – melbourne, australia. located in the armoury or vopnabúriđ ehf (as it’s known in icelandic) in the city’s fish packing district, the industrial studio / showroom space is where recht works on his designs which are strongly rooted in process and materials.

working between product design, tailoring and shoe making, his newest collection ‘when gravity fails’ – is recht’s first complete menswear line. ranging in pieces from coats, cardigans, jackets, trousers, shorts and leggings, these main articles are accompanied by bags, boots, gloves, shoes and silver jewellery which total 55 styles, approximately 130 with the material variations made.

work table image © designboom

‘this collection happened in my hands instead of on paper…  I just listened to the fabric and the forms and they told me what to do. to do this I came up with a technique to develop the collection; in thestudio we made a half-scale mannequin and 3D sketched with fabrics straight onto the form. making garments in half scale really reduced the amount of detail that you would otherwise put in because you have only so much space to work with. while doing this, we set up a technique I call a macroscope, which is a camera trained on the form, connected to a projector, that throws the image of the half-scale mannequin and garment in progress up on the wall full-scale. the shaped fabric was then transferred to paper, scanned with a large format scanner, digitized to vector, scaled up, and then cut directly in fabric by the laser cutter. we re-draped in full size, corrected, rescanned, re-edited, re-cut, etc. this process dramatically reduced the amount of work time, while increasing the accuracy and detail of the whole process. every aspect of the collection is laser cut, from the patterns to the materials and final garments.

what you have as an end result is very little wastage of raw materials, much less time spent tracing and cutting, and much more time to work and think with your hands on the actual garment. the whole thing is completely intuitive and free, but very dimensional and formed. the collection is entirely draped mostly from single pieces, and there was absolutely no design sketching. the result is a collection with a balance between construction and freedom.’ – sruli recht

Sruli Recht – Interview from For-Tomorrow-TV on Vimeo.

work in progress on one of the bags from the collection image © designboom

‘when gravity failes’ has a strong emphasis on the local with 98% of the collection made from icelandic materials. recht worked very closely with atlantic leather, a tannery in the north of iceland that deals with raw skins to make new materials. much of the leathers within this series comes from horse, hunted wild reindeer, birds, fish and lamb. over the course of the last year, the studio has spent time tanning the natural icelandic materials to achieve the right tones and hues for the garments.

image © designboom

working on cardboard models image © designboom

image © designboom

a pile of leather bags waiting to be finished image © designboom

tear drop shaped leather bag from the ‘when gravity fails’ collection model emil Þór guðmundsson styled by arash arfazadeh photo by marinó thorlacius image courtesy of sruli recht

model emil Þór guðmundsson styled by arash arfazadeh photo by marinó thorlacius image courtesy of sruli recht

model emil Þór guðmundsson styled by arash arfazadeh photo by marinó thorlacius image courtesy of sruli recht

model emil Þór guðmundsson styled by arash arfazadeh photo by marinó thorlacius image courtesy of sruli recht

model emil Þór guðmundsson styled by arash arfazadeh photo by marinó thorlacius image courtesy of sruli recht

alongside the leatherworks, many of recht’s garments also utilize icelandic wool, in which case he again works with a local knit producer to create his own constructions.

model emil Þór guðmundsson styled by arash arfazadeh photo by marinó thorlacius image courtesy of sruli recht

model emil Þór guðmundsson styled by arash arfazadeh photo by marinó thorlacius image courtesy of sruli recht

‘born out of this’ show piece two from ‘when gravity fails’ model emil Þór guðmundsson styled by arash arfazadeh photo by marinó thorlacius image courtesy of sruli recht

‘born out of this’ ‘27 still born lambs, 3 regular lambs, military dead-stock lining. and it was said, during a conversation in the cold, cavernous walls of the tannery, chromium sulphate hanging low in the air, and not a piece of natural light leaking in, what is that heap over there? looking vaguely at the iridescent white pile to his left, said he ‘that…? they were not meant to be.’ and so it was agreed, I would take those lost souls, and from him to me they came.

shaken, preferred, and pieced together, these almost once vessels, together now one, and draped as a single square, and a sleeve, and a pleated set/raglan hybrid, with darted shaping. a coat to end all, and begin again .’ – sruli recht

‘born out of this’ show piece two from ‘when gravity fails’ model emil Þór guðmundsson styled by arash arfazadeh photo by marinó thorlacius image courtesy of sruli recht

‘born out of this’ show piece two from ‘when gravity fails’ model emil Þór guðmundsson styled by arash arfazadeh photo by marinó thorlacius image courtesy of sruli recht

‘icarus, post-crash’ show piece one model emil Þór guðmundsson styled by arash arfazadeh photo by marinó thorlacius image courtesy of sruli recht

‘icarus, post-crash’ ‘21 svartfugl [blackbirds] on a hunted wild reindeer base. after meeting a group of hunters, hunting birds and beasts, we struck up a deal: all the birds they could bring me, in exchange for a pound of breath. and birds they brought, bags and bags of them. hands soaked in feathers and flesh, they were sorted through, sent on ice to my tanner (a craftsman so brilliant I heard he once tanned air). what returned to our studio was not a pile of feathers and feet but rather the full-bodied, beaked husks of those once soft flying blackbirds. and out of their box they were pulled, put onto the stand, and the garment quite literally designed itself. all we had to do was sew it together… by hand and heart, on a reindeer base, body to body to back to wing, to have our icarus, post crash, sombre and in between.’ – sruli recht

‘icarus, post-crash’ show piece one model emil Þór guðmundsson styled by arash arfazadeh photo by marinó thorlacius image courtesy of sruli recht

fabric image © designboom

fabric image © designboom

image © designboom

image © designboom

paper patterns hanging on a clothes rack image © designboom

paper patterns hanging on a clothes rack image © designboom

image © designboom

view of the back workroom and storage space image © designboom

a shelf of packaging for recht’s various designs image © designboom

garments being stored overhead image © designboom

the showroom which is located at the front of the studio with items displayed on recht’s ‘cardboard cutting table no.1’ image © designboom

‘cutting table no. 1’ 1500 x 1200 x 930 mm image courtesy of sruli recht

recht’s ‘cutting table no. 1’ is a result of his constant travel in which he is continuously setting-up guerilla studios wherever he is, however always lacking a good clean surface in which to work. constructed from corrugated cardboard, the biodegradable furniture piece is lightweight and can be disassembled at the end of the day to make room for other activities.

image courtesy of sruli recht image courtesy of sruli recht ‘cutting table no. 1’ all packed-up image courtesy of sruli recht

concrete buckles for sale image © designboom see designboom’s article on sruli recht’s concrete buckle

shoes and boots on display in the showroom image © designboom

the shoe and boot samples of sruli recht’s cllection are produced by local shoe maker guðrún edda einarsdóttir.

image © designboom

pieces from the ‘when gravity fails collection on show at the reykjavík art museum image © designboom

as part of the designmarch events, sruli recht exhibited a selection of pieces from ‘when gravity fails’ at the reykjavík art museum.

  • I really appreciate his approach to technology and process improvement and development as part of the design process. I have done this many times out of necessity involving economic, material or other constraints, most often with excellent results.
    I also really like his use of natural and local materials that give a very personal signature to his work in time and place.

    KWarren says:

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