Skipholt 33 is a former warehouse is populated by a variety of creative groups and individuals. There are designers, interior architects, marketing experts, photographers and fashion designers, all sharing a big space with separate studios, a well equipped film/photography-studio and a cozy community area.

Our intern Florian Lohse payed Skipholt 33 a visit and had a chat with one of the residents, Steinunn Vala Sigfúsdóttir of Hring eftir Hring.

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What is the story behind Skipholt 33?

Skipholt 33 used to be a warehouse and stood empty for some time. In 2010, an interior architect had the idea of renovating the building and then to rent it out to people working independently within the creative fields. Unlike the previously existing artist studio projects in Reykjavik, Skipholt 33 is designed for people wanting to work rather during “normal” working hours.

We have a big community space with a coffee bar, where actual communication between the tenants can happen, because everybody is here during the same time mostly.

As a side effect, this offer attracted more “serious” projects. To work here during daytime means you can’t have another daytime job elsewhere and work on your creative stuff during the night. This has pushed the level of quality.

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Has there been a project where you all worked together?

Not yet. But we actually have been talking about it. Maybe we will do that one day, but it’s just an idea so far. It would be quite easy, as we have so many different people around here!

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Who is working here right now?

The project has been growing ever since it was started. At the moment, we are quite full actually. There are three photographers working here, they have a studio and a working area. Then there is a team of two girls designing websites and doing PR work. Actually just one of them has studied web design, the other one is an actress. There is a team of four marketing experts. They are doing a lot of nice projects. At the moment they work a lot with the city, promoting Iceland abroad. Then there are four interior architects, working both individually and as a group. And Ígló, the children’s clothing label has their studio here as well.

And then there is my own little team, Hring after Hring.

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Tell me more about Hring eftir Hring?

Hring eftir hring is an Icelandic jewellery brand, founded by me in 2009. All our items are handmade and produced by professionals here in Reykjavik. I started the label in 2009, shortly after the crisis. I studied civil engineering and I used to work for Batteríið Architects until I started my own label. The crisis heavily affected working in the field of architecture in Iceland. Many of us really lost almost everything they had built up before.

At that time, I started knitting again and I realized: I just really like working with my hands!

Why build up something huge and crazy, that you could loose right away? There should be a balance between big visions and staying down-to-earth.

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What does “Hring eftir hring” mean?

“Hring eftir hring” is an icelandic proverb with two different meanings. The first targets the general tendency of things to repeat themselves. The other one is used to express that somebody is moving in circles with his decisions and actions. When I started this label it seemed like the perfect name for my project.

There was this post-crash sentiment of going back to the roots.

Although, when we started to go abroad with our products, we decided to shorten the labels name to “Hring”, as the proverb and it’s local meaning would not translate well.web-Skipholt33-13

What next?

At the moment, we think a lot about the bigger context of our production. The label is growing, we are starting to sell more and more abroad. So we also need to expand our production, which makes us think about who is benefiting and who is affected by the products we develop.

I do not want to create a monster of a company producing in nasty circumstances.

But on the other hand, with a growing business you really feel that Iceland is not that big and that our possibilities here are quite limited. So we are now considering different options on expanding our production.

We are definitely hiring more people here for our place in Skipholt 33, but we also think about other ways. For example, we were in contact with some women shelters in Africa and Asia, providing high quality hand work on fair working conditions.

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Images by Florian Lohse