"‘What is Luxury?’ interrogates general ideas about luxury, its production and future. It will include objects which demonstrate extraordinary investment in time and skill on the part of their makers as well as projects which investigate social, material and economic networks in order to stimulate alternative thinking about luxury’s future. The relationship of luxury to change, context and conventions is scrutinised through historic objects and contemporary art and design."

For the "What is Luxury?" exhibition at the V&A museum in London, Studio Ruuger offers another play on their signature piece. The archetypal square and serious hard staple accessory of the traditional businessman is shown decorated with a detailed pattern of flowers and leaves. What initially appears as a romantic arrangement of flora, on closer inspection turns into a death scene: the flowers appear torn, broken and carelessly scattered, as a small bird lies amongst them with a broken wing, in a slew of lost feathers. “A Funeral of a Swallow”.

The intricate pattern consists of 1046 unique individually cut pieces of goat leather, across 12 colour shades, developed in collaboration with a renowned French tannery Alran S.A.S. Combined to form a single smooth surface, the painstaking inlaying process took the London based studio over 300 hours to complete. The resulting leather pattern was then carefully stretched over a 3D printed framework and fitted with custom produced solid brass locks and hinges, resulting in a unique product which combines time-honoured traditional leather-working techniques with the use of state-of-the-art technology.

The exhibition runs until 27th of September 2015.
Funeral of a Swallow
2015

Victoria and Albert Museum
London

In the den somebody started singing in a sickly sweet goat-like voice.
I couldn’t tell if it was or was not coming from inside my head and
spreading out through the space.


It was the day-dream of a fox in an aristocrat’s suit, sleeping face-down
in his scriptorium. The sign on the heavy oak table read Fellow of the
Royal Ornithologists’ Society, Sir V… Ni-hil... In his dreams, stars and
planets and wind and surface, rivers and forests and cities and time,
car accidents and newspapers and status and slaves, wind and fishnets and
world finance. And birds, an imagination full of birds—colourful birds,
dull birds, singing birds, water birds, hunting birds… birds
sitting and flying about in a network of directions… birds… tasty birds…
tasty birds… Nihil… Sir? … Nihil.


…I can hear approaching steps. It’s Nero. He tilts his head towards
me, and smiles quietly, while lifting his hands above the tiger. The room
remains still, but the tiger, gracefully guided by Nero’s hands, begins
to suck the life out his prey in a very animated manner, while the
pig man squeals at the top of its lungs. Its noises sound like rough German:
«Ze firsht Abschnitt off ze Zerman Konstitution! Zignity kann mann
nicht degradieren!»
Nero’s face becomes focused, his fingers cramped: the tiger breaks the
spine of the pig.


Adam is laughing behind the bar with his head thrown back and his jaws
shaking as if he was continuously biting an apple suspended over his
head. The tiger is eating the pig. A man is laying beside the piano,
horrifically drunk, but still pouring more moonshine into his cup, unending
liquid dribbling thick like oil from the bottle. Beside him, there is the
old bird-man, covered in remnants of feathers, as if he had been plucked,
impassive on the tiny shiny piano stool.

Night at the house of Epicurus
2013

Illustrations by Stuart Patience
Words by Mihkel Kaevats
Photography by Alejandro Cavallo
Bright Young Things
2012

Window installation, commissioned by Selfridges, London.

Photography by Andrew Meredith
Moondogs
2012

Photography by Nicol Vizioli
Acts of Faith
2011

Photography by Michiel Meewis
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