I’m the curious type. Some might say I’m nosey, but that sounds rather negative, so I prefer curious. :) Anyway, curious Holly here keeps seeing these fabulous pillows in shops everywhere with tiny gray tags that I can’t read. The brand is somewhat of a scribble so I can’t decipher just who makes them. When I ask shop owners, they seem offended that I would want to know or they tell me and I can’t understand the name because well, they say things here in English with such a strong German accent and so quickly that I sometimes get lost. Yesterday, everything changed.
While visiting with a local product designer at her home, I noticed she had a delightful pillow and yes, it had the gray scribble tag, so nosey me asked what the brand was and come to find out, she worked with this company before — it’s owned by design duo Roger Wood and Christine Scherer) from Munich and the company is called Taj Wood & Scherer. Tah-dah! Isn’t this all so lovely? Aren’t you glad that I asked? Me too. Pillows, lamps, blankets, ottomans, and you can even find Taj in America, just check their store list on their site.
Have a look at their wonderful website, you’re sure to fall in love. And after googling them I found that my lovely fellow blog friend Imelda wrote about them in August on her Singapore-based blog, Imedagoze. Small world! She adores Taj, too. Can’t you see why?
(images from taj)
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)
If you’re a fan of John Robshaw and his sumptuous array of exotic prints and patterns, you’ll want to shop his brand new e-commerce website. I was thrilled when I heard about this from Allyson who works for John down in New York (thanks Allyson!).
Freddy & Ma are loved by the ladies for their fabulous custom handbags, but did you know that they’ve now launched custom pillows and melamine plates? Oh yes. It’s true. And I’m over the moon because seeing the talented Joy Deangdeelert Cho of Oh Joy! fame as part of the designers involved in this is super exciting. Her patterns look terrific as plates and pillows, don’t you think?
And there are other artists part of the Freddy & Ma crew with delicious patterns too, so browse the site and see what you can pull together. Here’s a selection of plates that I’d love to own along with some of Joy’s things, all would make the best gifts. I can’t resist the idea of owning a stack of melamine plates that coordinate, all in different patterns by various designers, and using them for lunch at home or on the patio in the warmer months. Hanging a collection on the wall is another idea, especially great for adding dimension and pattern to an otherwise boring wall – perhaps a long narrow hallway or as a border across the middle of the wall only.
For as little as $12 for a plate and $60 USD for a 17″ square pillow, you can’t go wrong with going custom!
(images from freddy & ma)