Inside the Studio: NICOLE SCHELLER
Which city and particular neighborhood is your studio located in?
The studio is located in the district Gohlis, in the north-western part of Leipzig. Leipzig is in Saxony, in the east of Germany.
What made you choose this particular space and location?
A couple of years ago I made the decision to move to Leipzig. I’ve been drawn to this city for a while because of its vibrancy. It exudes creativity, which at times becomes almost tangible. There are a lot of small labels, artists and galleries. Many aspiring artists study at the academy of fines arts and there are many students from other programs overall.
Leipzig is considered a smaller version of Berlin, yet it has somewhat expanded over the past years. There’s always something new to discover. Due to my study I had to move out of Leipzig, but I knew I would come back some time after my graduation. To start my career, I thought working from home would be best, so I looked for a bright, open flat. Eventually, I found what I was looking for with an apartment on the top floor of an old building.
Most favorite and least favorite aspects of the neighborhood?
Gohlis may not be the most popular district of Leipzig, but there’ve been many modernizations over the last years. A lot of parks and open spaces are nearby, and the rent is lower than in most other parts of Leipzig. It is still very close to the city center.
What made you decide to create a fixed base with a physical studio space?
I was on the road a lot during my studies, so now I wanted a place I could always return to, a home base so to speak. A place, where I could rest but also work and be creative.
How do you think working in a studio plays a role in the design process?
I think every room that surrounds us influences us in some way, be that the place you live in or your office at work. Of course, that also influences the design process. The demand for how a studio should be structured varies from one person to the next. A big, open space allows you to move more freely and might offer more input. Or you could lose yourself in it. Smaller, well organized rooms possess a huge potential of simplifying your workflow. I think fundamentally, you need to enjoy being in your studio, as you spend a lot of time there.
Tell us a bit about your space. What are your favorite components?
The central element of my studio are the skylights in the sloping roof. Right underneath is where I placed my desk, to make the most of the daylight when working on drawings, doing computer work or pattern construction. Besides, I don’t need any other light sources until dawn. Last year, I bought a knitting machine, which integrates quite well into my workspace. This allows me to experiment with knitted fabric that I can incorporate into my designs.
Where do you feel the most inspired in your space?
When working on my knitting machine! I do like to investigate technical details like patterns to create something new. But sometimes it helps to just put some trust in trial and error.
Bring us through a day in the life while working in the studio.
Currently I’m working on some new prototypes, which are closer to product design, rather than fashion. They are meant to expand my IP/privacy collection. This creates new and versatile workflows going from idea through CAD, scale paper models all the way to the first prototypes. This also means I spend most of my time designing at the desk, which, as well as the rest of the studio, may occasionally look like a right mess. Depending on whether I do desk work or use the machines, the workspace will have to be reorganized.
Most unexpected part of the studio?
Since I work from home, I needed a sort of partitioning of the flat so that work and private activities don’t get mixed too much. Is wasn’t sure if such an open and spacious flat would allow for it, but so far, it’s worked out all right.
What’s your creative process like? Has it changed since working in your space?
After my last collection IP/privacy I shifted focus to technical aspects. IP/privacy was meant to offer means of protection against urban surveillance. I investigated and analyzed two surveillance technologies, which resulted in an innovative fashion/tech collection. The black and white pattern overloads algorithms which use automated facial recognition systems. Furthermore, I incorporated infrared LEDs into a jacket, that can blind FLIR-cameras. My design process is rather generous, I use a lot of paper models. I work problem-oriented and that then leads to an analytical and conceptual method. Organizing my workspace in such a way, that everything I need is within reach also helps a lot.
Are there other designers working in this neighborhood?
There are some old industrial brick buildings in the vicinity, which used to be barracks. They were turned into small offices and studios that accommodate creative people.
How did you find the space?
Rather traditionally, through a search platform on the internet. Got into contact, had a look, moved in.
What personal touches did you add to the studio?
Everything was bought second-hand!