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Sruli Recht, A Little Controversial

Icelandic-Australian designer Sruli Recht has been arrested, fashioned a ring from his own skin and created a jacket from the skin of a stillborn lamb – but he doesn’t believe he’s intentionally controversial.


August 5th, 2016


Marc Haers (Portraits) Marino Thorlacius (Objects)

Icelandic-Australian designer Sruli Recht is no stranger to controversy. Take, for example, the time his Reykjavik studio was raided by police who seized his entire stock of The Umbuster – an umbrella with a brass knuckles handle – and charged the designer with importing, manufacturing and intending to sell prohibited weapons (Recht initially lost the case, but went on to win at the supreme court of Iceland).

Speaking with Recht, however, it’s clear that while he sees designers as entertainers, his work is driven more by a passion for material and functional experimentation than by a desire to titillate the tabloids. “When you are attracted to new things, often those new things will border on subversive themes or borderline materials, and technologies,” he says. “When society and technology evolve at different speeds, there will always be platforms to present combinations of ideas and materials that suggest behaviors some find a little too uncomfortably prescient. So, you make things that are new to you and surely new enough that people may just not be ready for them yet. It’s not as though you are walking around thinking ‘What is the next great way to upset people?’. These ideas combine in ways you can’t expect or control.”

See the full story in Indesign #66. Subscribe here. 

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