27/05/10 - 05/09/10

About the Exhibition

Materials play a crucial role in all design and creativity. Often designers find inspiration in the qualities of the material, while on the other hand the material itself may present obstacles to its development and use. So a material can give rise to inspiration , as designers acquire skills and knowledge in dealing with a new material.

The exhibition Deep Sea to High Fashion showcases a material which has been used increasingly in recent years  by designers, in Iceland and abroad. Fishskin, or fishleather as the tanned skin is now called. Is enormously strong, while being thin and flexible, and it can be dyed in countless shades, with a variety of textures.  The exhibition shows how fishleather is processed in the Atlantic Leather tannery in Sauðárkrókur, north Iceland, and displays a selection of design pieces  which reflect the diversity and potential of this material.
The oldest objects on display are shoes made from the skin of wolffish and spotted wolffish, which serve to remind us that fishskin was not only eaten in olden times, but also dried and made into (rather fragile) footwear. Wolffish skin was used for bookbinding, and furniture with wolffish upholstery is among the exhibits.
Craft objects, such as bowls and cushions, have been made with fishleather, while shoes by Icelandic and foreign designers demonstrate that fishleather is  strong and durable. The exhibition includes garments designed by Icelandic and other designers, ranging from classic concepts to the avant-garde. Perhaps the most extraordinary exhibit is a pink guitar case that holds six bottles of vintage Dom Pérignon Rosé champagne, designed by Karl Lagerfeld, covered in the finest of pink perch leather, hand-picked for this luxury object.
Icelandic nature provides valuable raw materials, which have been utilised by all the creative professions. And Iceland’s fish is no exception. The bulk of the raw material used by Atlantic Leather to produce its fishleather is Icelandic; and the production processes are green and sustainable, which is an important factor in comparison with production in other countries. Recycling and reuse have acquired great importance in all design, and priority is given to environmental issues. In this case, a by-product of the fishing industry, which would otherwise be discarded, is processed to make a high-quality design commodity. Iceland can take pride in its leading position in the utilisation of this raw material, and the expertise which has been developed in the tanning of fishleather, which has made possible all the fine design on display here.

The exhibition includes garments and objects from the following designers and companies:
Nikita, Farmers Market, STEiNUNN, Arndís Jóhannsdóttir, Anna Gunnarsdóttir, María K. Magnús, Dýrfinna Torfadóttir, Helga Mogensen, Sruli Recht, Donna Karan, Christian Dior, John Galliano, Salvatore Ferragamo, Kobenhagen Fur, Eggert Feldskeri, Helga Björnsson, Ecco, Nike, Judith Orlishausen, David Meyer, Jacques Le Corre, Karl Lagerfeld, True North, EB Design, Þórdís Zoëga, Erla Þórarinsdóttir, Anita Hirlekar, Sigrún Úlfarsdóttir, Dögg Guðmundsdóttir, Fanney Antonsdóttir.


 Atlantic Leather's Newspaper June 2010_on the exhibition