Kukka Design House
Kukka Design House does far more than simply designing products and furnishings, they are curating an entire aesthetic lifestyle where functionality, sustainability and form combine to answer the needs of our ever–and rapidly–changing. In a time of information overload and consumerism gone amuck, Kukka takes a sobering, tranquil, and just-minimal-enough approach to curating the spaces in which we live and work.
Daily objects like clocks, lamps and desk accessories are stripped down into their geometric origins and built back up with the right restraint. Material holds an pivotal place in the design process with pieces of furniture that are even realised under the direction of its material before anything else. Kukka is infused with a sophisticated simplicity that takes us back the building blocks of design. In an industry where designers are fighting with flamboyancy to stand out, Kukka takes a different approach, and it's working.
Their clients including Paul Smith, Caesarstone™, The Conran, La Rinascente and Aviv Group would certainly agree.
Kukka design house was founded by Israeli - British designer Rona Meyuchas Koblenz, and has since then grown into a thriving international brand. Rona graduated with a Masters in Industrial Design, from SPD in Milan, after which she moved to London and worked as a senior product designer and manager at Isometrix Lighting and Design where she received commissions from brands like Morimoto, Nobu, and The Ritz; all before going on to found Kukka™ in 2010 and her own design studio Kukkastudio, which specialises in bespoke products for special commissions and projects.
We caught up with Rona to find out more about the British design house and the multi-talented designer who dreamt it all up and made it happen.
Rona of Kukka
CM: How would you define your style?
My style is a reflection of how I perceive things and it is inspired by day to day processes, common behaviour and even a routine.
I am motivated by technology, manufacturing techniques and materials.
Someone told me couple of months ago my style is “democratic” - not sure what it means I can't define my style for different reasons: 1. It sounds pretentious 2. Style is the reflection and the end result and with time, it changes as long as we are active.
CM: Tell us more about the kukka design team and your collaborations within it.
Kukka is a british design brand. It is a small and relatively new company which I founded in 2010. Normally we are 3 - 4 people in-house, and when we work on a project or a commission, we take extra designers to help us. It all depends on the size and type of project.
The branding, graphics and manufacturing are external, and we try to establish a long lasting relationship with those we work with so its pretty much feels as if they are part of our in-house team.
We sell our products through about 80 retailers worldwide, and we also sell directly through our online store.
Kukkastudio is the design practice and we take commissions, work on special projects and design custom made products.
CM: Tell us more about the materials you use and the ethos behind them.
Materials inspire me. I will always choose to work with a material that serves the purpose and at the same time, it can work vice versa: I will find myself inspired by a material and its manufacturing techniques and I will see the potential of using it.
I work with different materials such as wood, fabric, metal.
Lately, I worked with Caesarstone Quartz surfaces. It started from Kukka’s Balata ruler and M22, M14 mirrors which are made from reclaimed quartz surfaces, and then I was asked by the British consulate in Milan to design a table and thats how 1141 table (made of re- claimed 1141 Caesarstone surface) came out at Salone del Mobile this year.
Following Milan, Caesrstone asked me to design an installation inspired by 1141 table for Tent during London design festival. I named the project “thirtyfour” and we ended up pro- ducing about 400 different size shapes made our of 34 different surfaces.
CM: Describe your studio.
My studio feels like home. Music is always playing on the background. Without music, I cant think properly. We sit in a long open space studio, and we are always discussing and sharing. I consider my team opinions, and I think they are always feeling part of something bigger.
CM: What's your view of the design world today versus when you started out.I started to work as an industrial designer in the late 90's in Milan and I think at the time, the atmosphere was really different for designers. Graduates could find work–not easily–but the balance between graduates and vacancies was porportionate and a designer could learn from established companies and take it step by step.Design was always depending on economy–and when the economic crisis started in 2000 and then followed by the credit crunch–there was not much work for designers and designers started to experiment and produce themselves. Today there is a strong movement and organisations of independent designers and young companies like Kukka that are not doing only design but also manufacturing and marketing. Designers are more present in the art scene. What was supposed to be a product became an object; self made, one-offs and even invention of materials are seen in every magazine and design fair, adding to social media and the internet (which we didn't have when I started), it became much more complicated, intense and difficult to manage to work only as a designer.
CM: Where do you see Kukka going in the coming years.
Currently we are working on a new range, bigger scale products.
together with kukkastudio work, I think we could find a good combination to express our- selves and to meet with the market demand. I am also looking forward to work on bigger projects like 22Rothschild and project thirty four.
Photo © Creative Kukka | All Rights Reserved © Creative Mapping