Q&A

Icelandic Ýrúrarí dreams of inspiring you to use the things you already have - in a new and fun way

Transforming Iceland's leftover wool into pizzas may sound like a crazy idea. But it might just leave you inspired to think differently about scrap.

Photographer:
Aldís Pálsdóttir
Credits:
Aldís Pálsdóttir
Credits:
Aldís Pálsdóttir
Q&A

Icelandic Ýrúrarí dreams of inspiring you to use the things you already have - in a new and fun way

Transforming Iceland's leftover wool into pizzas may sound like a crazy idea. But it might just leave you inspired to think differently about scrap.

Icelandic Ýr Jóhannsdóttir operates under the artist name Ýrúrarí as a textile designer - with a strong artistic and perhaps even a bit activist touch.

During 3daysofdesign, you can experience Ýrúrarí in collaboration with the likewise Icelandic design duo Studio Flétta, when they together present the interactive design exhibition PizzaTime. Here, fabric and yarn scraps are beautifully transformed into pizzas - small artworks that you can take home in a pizza box and hang on the wall.

PizzaTime has previously been presented in Reykjavik during the Icelandic design festival Design March, where the exhibition won the award for Project of the Year.

What’s your dream?

My dream as the textile designer Ýrúrarí is that mending, upcycling, ethical production - and just every act needed for making a functional circular economy - will be something people, companies and governments do automatically, not as a token project or a second thought.  

How do you dream of contributing to the world?

I dream of inspiring a much more playful way of thinking about how we can use the waste material we as humans create in a constant stream.

First and foremost, we need to stop overconsuming and reduce our consumption of the Earth's precious resources. But we also need to become better at using what we have already created - making it last longer and treating it in a respectful manner. I hope that my work can be part of a movement that inspires the mindset that reuse, maintenance, and recycling can be fun, easy, and done with style.

Photographer: Aldís Pálsdóttir

What do you think the world needs more of? And less of?

In short, I believe that the world needs more empathy and less greed. With that shift, I believe there would be more space for enjoying the shared experience of simply existing. There would be more opportunities for play, communal experiences, nurturing the earth and life, and less comparison of possessions with others.

Share your thoughts on the theme "Dare to dream" 

As a designer and artist, you don't get far with your ideas if you don't allow yourself to dream and let ideas grow in ways that may not be particularly logical. The PizzaTime project with Studio Flétta is a good example of a shared dream where we all had the courage to follow the idea.

The project started when I collaborated with Birta and Hrefna from Studio Flétta on a research project to find uses for leftover material from the Icelandic wool industry. I am a textile designer and primarily work with waste textiles in my own work, where I give old sweaters a new personality so they're harder to throw away. Studio Flétta is a product design studio that works with various waste materials - my favorite projects of theirs are their trophy lamps built from discarded trophies and the airbag cushions made from airbags that would otherwise end up in a landfill (The Airbag are produced by FÓLK).

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Icelandic wool is a very precious material that partly goes to waste in knitting factories and with designers and companies tailoring the material. We quickly created new and unique pieces of sturdy fabric with the wool leftovers using a felt loom, and one late work evening, the patterns on the material, the shape, and our movements somehow reminded us of making pizzas. The experiments started to take the form of pizzas, and then the felt loom also began to look exactly like a pizza oven. We obviously had to open a pizzeria!

Photographer: Aldís Pálsdóttir

We decided to open our pizzeria PizzaTime at the next Design March in Reykjavík. The plan was to make it feel like a regular pizzeria with all the popular toppings, a set menu with specials, preparation area, and baking area for customers to see the process, prices like regular pizza prices, and specially branded uniforms that matched the pizza boxes and the entire scene of the pizzeria. There were many times in the process where we could have stopped because the idea was too strange and costly to pursue. But there was no one in the group who doubted it, so we kept going.

The wool pizzas were a big hit, we sold out every day, and worked after hours to prepare for the next day until we finally sold out completely before the festival was over.

Bags of leftover Icelandic wool were transformed into custom-made pizzas that now adorn people's homes instead of being thrown away.

Ýr Jóhannsdóttir, who goes by Ýrúrarí as a textile designer, breathes new life and personality into old sweaters with one of her projects, hoping it will inspire you not to throw them out. Photographer: Studio Fræ
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Exhibitors mentioned in this article

Embassy of Iceland
Strandgade 89, 1401 Copenhagen
The Icelandic Embassy in Denmark teams up with the Iceland Design and Architecture center, producer of the DesignMarch festival and Business Iceland to present two different exhibitions showcasing the diversity of Icelandic design. In the foyer of the Embassy Hae/Hi: Designing Friendship, a collaborative project featuring Icelandic and Seattle based design studios, will be addressing the acts that take place, and the objects associated with, arriving and departing, greetings and goodbyes. Hungry? Outside the embassy please have yourself award winning freshly made wool pizza´s from Flétta and Ýrúrarí made from leftovers from the Icelandic wool industry. The Embassy is located at the North Atlantic House, Bryggen, an old storage building.
Embassy of Iceland
I dream of inspiring a much more playful way of thinking
Ýrúrarí
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