Studio Flek is a small design studio based on the Gold Coast, and is the brainchild of Lisa Kajewski, a Graduate of Architecture and Industrial Designer, Chris Miller. This week I had the absolute pleasure of sitting down with the wonderful Studio Flek to hear all about their process, products and partnership.
Thank you so much Lisa and Chris for taking the time to chat with me. I love your name, Studio Flek and how you describe what ‘Flek’ means. How did you come up with this and did you find that it has influenced Studio Flek’s aesthetic?
"Our original studio name was our surnames, but found it didn’t depict us as a brand, so in effect it's the other way around, we had a clear style which is driven by the desire for things to last but also age. There’s something so beautiful about worn timber and aged brass, patinas on the surfaces of everything. It has an embedded story and that's something we’re very fond of. The word Flek has connotations that seem negative and in some way, that's how most people perceive old decaying buildings or furniture, so we wanted to flip the assumption and question this through not only our name but our work.
Can you talk me through how you met and what made you take the leap into being small business owners together?
"We both started a design degree together, Lisa moved into Architecture and Chris stayed with Product design. We started dating in the 2nd year of uni and have been together ever since. Being in a relationship makes it almost impossible to escape being involved with a small business, but we’re fortunate enough to have similar views and we’ve grown together in such a way that it didn't feel like a leap but more of a slow dip into the shallow end. We’re still at the early stages of our careers and have a long way to go, but are enjoying the process."
Every designer has their own individual process to create and concept, which I love because it makes the final product unique and has such a strong story. Could you explain to me your process and what goes into creating your collection?
"We’re never quite sure where each specific idea comes from, but our aesthetic is something we have developed over the years. So conceptually we start there, working with looking at the lifespan of a product, how we see it might evolve through use, or in fabrication. This seeding point allows us to start with good foundations and inherently develops a strong story. Then each piece explores something we want to learn, about a fabrication method or exploring how to make our own materials, patinas and so on. Also, it's important to mention we do everything locally, we want to support local businesses and Australian business as much as possible, we’ve never considered ourselves patriotic but we think it's important to be Australian made."
The Semper community is really passionate about investing in the future of our planet. It’s so great that you have highlighted in your mission statement about being focused on ‘materiality while being sensitive to the environment’–could you walk us through how you work that into your creative and manufacturing process?
"Maybe we answered some of that in the previous question, but to further this point we look to make everything a kit of parts, so it can be taken apart, refinished or reused somewhere else. We also offer a refinishing service, so you can send your piece back and we can refinish it, if your light has faded too much for your liking, this helps to avoid our pieces heading to landfill. Also, probably first and foremost we design our pieces to last and they're also not driven by trends, we want our pieces to look like they belong no matter what year it is."
I really love the idea of reflecting and embracing the ageing process as a part of your aesthetic and creative development. I’ve found that really evident your Copper Column table (which is really gorgeous and probably my favourite piece of yours) with the intent for the copper to patina over time. Could you explain to us further how the idea of reflecting on the ageing process influences your materiality?
"The process of ageing is so varied and freeform, and happens to everything, material or not, in one way or another. The intent then becomes not to fight this, but work with it. We expect things to age and embrace that, we start with the knowledge that things change, and in turn our work tends to explore that space. The materiality of a piece isn't always the driver but presents itself throughout the exploration of the idea. The concept of ageing is also quite broad which allows us to explore it in multiple ways both in furniture design and architecturally."
To continue on about your ethos of embracing the ageing process of the materials do you feel it also inspires your approach to form?
"Neither of us are overly driven by form, we’re very simplistic in that regard. That being said, the form is often expressed by showing contrast between the old and the new. For instance, our copper column has a highly polished internal face and a heavily aged external face with a glass top, this is quite visually engaging and serves to spark interest between what is new and what is not."
If you don’t mind me prying can you give us a sneak peek into what Studio Flek has in-store for your next chapter?
"We have a new series of lights which will be released in the coming months called Sibling Series. Each piece revolves around one cone form and applying it in a multitude of ways, both as lights and design objects. We have also recently finished a timber furniture collection which is driven by structural elements, posts, beams and joists. These are then translated into the legs and structural bracing of each furniture piece. Finally we have just received funding from Queensland Government and Gold Coast city council to further explore some prototypes of material composites made from Beer waste and mycelium, the root structure of mushrooms."
Thank you Chris and Lisa for giving us a little behind the scenes of Studio Flek. I personally can't wait to see where the next year takes you! For everyone reading go check them out at www.studioflek.com and give them a follow on their Instagram @studioflek.
About Amelia //
Hi there! My name is Amelia, I am the creative director and owner of Semper Interiors. I created Semper Interiors after working in hospitality studios for many years, during that time I found myself feeling increasingly guilty about the waste created throughout each project. I wanted to be able to design and create spaces that have a minimal impact on our beautiful earth. My approach to sustainability is based around ensuring my projects have longevity in both quality and aesthetic, supporting local trades, artisans and suppliers and using natural materials.
Semper Interiors a bespoke interior design studio based in New Farm Brisbane that focuses on sustainability and conscious construction practices. If you are interested in how we can help you make your home or business more environmentally conscious and beautifully designed please get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org.