Introducing locals KURA_STUDIO co-founded by recent graduates Anika Kalotay and Serena Pangestu. Guided by a mindful attitude towards creating, the pair introduce us to their world of the “slow” and “traditional” process of constructing objects, drawings and ideas.
T: Hi @kura studio, thankyou for taking a virtual seat with me to discuss your creative body of work – I’m in awe at how you comfortably navigate the digital and professional landscape, can you tell us about your architecture background and how you came to design beautiful objects?
@k_S: “We found our love for design through studying architecture and chose to express what we’ve learnt through smaller/ tangible objects and then work our way up from there. We both have a strong desire to live simply and mindfully, therefore to us, acquiring practical skills is for the sake of growing our ability to think laterally. The practice of designing and creating at a small scale allows us to understand materiality and its capabilities, this is where we find joy in design and gain invaluable knowledge.”
T: Can you explain why you follow the “mindfulness” philosophy? What impact does this have on the work produced for your studio?
K_S:”We follow this type of philosophy because we want to stay curious about what surrounds us everyday. Experimenting in new territories and challenging existing ones maintains an active, creative mind. We feel as though staying curious is very important especially as a designer as it is the fundamental skill to be able to see opportunities and find solutions to problems. We hope this will lead us to continue to become more successful designers and allow us to consistently produce new and relevant work.”
T: I see you have a strong online identity that is reflected in your website and on Instagram, how important is having a social media presence in the profession of design?
K_S: “We think it’s pretty important and though it does both, we do like to treat it more like a journal rather than a platform for marketing…. it’s a really good way for us to keep a diary of what we’ve done and reflect on the direction we’re taking.”
“We found that social media allowed us to work with people at a much more personal and then casual level which helped us navigate the digital landscape. Instagram in particular gave us the opportunity to ‘stalk’ people through not only their craft/job/talent but also their humour/ personalities/ likes/ dislikes etc… we played it kind of like a dating app and had a good pre-informed idea what said person/profile was about – this gave us the confidence booster we needed to start conversations with strangers and make friends with people even outside our geographical restrictions…”
T: Do you think academia and social media can co-exist in the professional landscape?
K_S: “We think that social media has good grounds for authentic self expression and you need to let people into your world. Social media is a great tool to make academic content more accessible. If academia is exclusive then social media is a vessel to turn it into something inclusive through the way the content is represented. It is a good way to share your knowledge because it forces you to deliver content through bite size digestible pieces.”
T: My series of articles deals with the way in which architecture can enter popular discourse in an inclusive manner to open up what we do to a broader audience. How do you perceive architecture and designs role in youth or popular culture?
“We want architecture to become a more inclusive profession and see ourselves as architectural ambassadors or the like. We apply core architectural principles through things that will be more widely available to the general public – Architects have a brief which includes a client and a site, this drives the project to be completely unique to its contexts and this is what we bring forth through our work. The easiest way to do this was to change the scale of our work and therefore make it more accessible.
Objects designed for their context lends themselves to being objects that are investments rather than quick fixes. As fast consumerism becomes more apparent, the negative effects of buying disposable goods both financially and emotionally is now a seemingly popular realisation. This is our motivation, to create goods that withstand the test of trends by designing objects that are timelessly beautiful and functional.
Our ‘Caricatures of a House’ illustrations are directly targeted at making the dialogue of architecture and design more accessible to popular culture. This project is a response to a dissatisfaction to the direction of Perth’s project housing; especially in the outer suburbs. We wanted to use our social network and graphical skills to highlight the successes of Architecture.”
T: I’ve always considered having a degree as “soft-security”, what impact has studying architecture had on you?
K_S: “Soft-security is a really good way of putting it – we both genuinely enjoyed studying architecture and were taught by some amazing tutors during both thriving and difficult times at the institutions we studied at. We think there was a lot of serendipity at play but our way of thinking is probably owed to those few who struck us the most. These individuals along with other friends and professionals have become a crowd or niche that consistently inspires us, as we share similar holistic goals.”
T: Do you have any advice for those looking to follow a similar career path after studying?
“Happiness is having expectations lower than your ability… this may seem like some unmotivational bullshit, but it’s actually just telling you to be real with yourself… and that can be specific to that current point in time, in that certain circumstance you’re in, but if you just check in with yourself intermittently, you’ll set more realistic goals. Pyramids came before skyscrapers if you know what I mean…”
Find more at:
Interviewed by Tsyon Feleke, 2018.
All images used with the permission of Kura_Studio and collaged by Tsyon.