Korpi & Gordon is husband and wife design duo Maria Korpi-Gordon and Adam Gordon who design and print textiles for the home since 2000. Based in Finland, they produce their kitchen items and samples in their studio and outsource all the other products (laminate trays, trivets, cups, metered fabric) in Sweden and Finland. They met through a mutual friend, textile designer Nigel Atkinson, and in addition to sharing a business, they have 3 children. I recently had a chance to interview Adam, one half of this creative team, and would like to share our chat with you along with some photos taken at their studio in Mariehamn, Finland.
decor8: Hi Adam. Thanks so much for taking the time to talk to me about Korpi & Gordon. I gave readers an overview of your company, so maybe we can start with a question I always like to ask, what is your background in textiles (Maria, too!)?
Adam: Having studied Fine Art and printmaking at Winchester School of Art (UK), I always kept drawing and looking, in addition to being employed in design-related companies; such as Zoffany UK (wallpapers & fabrics) as a colour mixer and at Environment (Italian furniture importer). Maria studied textiles in Finland and has worked for Nigel Atkinson Textiles as Production Manager and freelance; with designs in production for Ljungbergs/Svenskt Tenn, Perry Ellis, etc. Maria has over 20 years of experience in the business.
decor8: Wow, impressive backgrounds. This leads me to wonder with so much talent between the two of you, what are your individual roles?
Adam: Well, Maria is quick to realise a design into print and make a repeat work. I am strong on drawing by hand and developing products.
decor8: How did Korpi & Gordon get started, from idea to execution?
Adam: It was around the time of having our first child, Samuel, in London. At that time we both wanted to work creatively, concentrate on a family and get out of the big city. Maria still hired the studio in Mariehamn so we initially moved to Stockholm where we researched the market to locate shops we liked and to work on our sample range to present to them. Our business grew from there; with us naturally spending more time in the studio, to eventually setting-up home on ?land. Will still have the flat in Stockholm though and visit roughly once a month.
decor8: What are the main characteristics of your work and how does this reflect your personality?
Adam: We create designs that are not determined by season. Eclecticism: We like old and new things combined and are not afraid of going against the trend: Strong contrast in colour and line. Functionalism: We dislike purely decorative things: everyday kitchen utensils are often source material.
decor8: What was your first success?
Adam: Selling our first sample range of kitchen products to the Carl Malmsten shop in Stockholm.
decor8: What difficulties arise and how do you overcome these?
Adam: Balancing business and family, still learning! :) We always have breakfast and dinner together as a family, often sharing dinner parties with our friends and their kids on the weekends. We try to show our kids what inspires us by visiting museums, showing them buildings, cultural aspects to holidays like street markets and craft fairs.
decor8: Do you have any advice for new business owners?
Adam: Follow your instincts and never give up if you believe in what you have.
decor8: How do you market your work and what avenue has been the most successful?
Adam: We use a lot of tactical PR, trade shows, publicity via collaborations (such as “Gunnel” collection for IKEA in May ’07), in-store “mingle” events, and our website. The website has pulled-in a lot of high-end retailers.
decor8: What inspires you?
Adam: Creative people with great companies, products & ideas.
decor8: Can you tell us about future projects?
Adam: Yes, there’s the David design furniture collaboration (Feb’08), art card set with The Art Group UK (Autumn ’08), and Wallpaper with a Swedish company in ’08 (tbc).
decor8: I love knowing what designers listen to while they work. What’s coming out of your speakers?
Adam: Lots of Soul and Disco, 70’s rub-a-dub reggae from Studio 1 & Gilles Peterson show every Sunday from Radio 1 UK.
Thank you Adam, so nice to meet up with you here on the web and thanks for giving decor8 readers a glimpse of your world.
If you have additional questions for Adam, please ask in the comments section below. Thank you!
(images provided by korpi & gordon)