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Discipline Talks: Karkula
October 18, 2013
Ciao John, tell us about Karkula, where it began and how you fit in?
After studying Product Design at Parsons in NYC, I decided to open a design object store in newly gentrifying Brooklyn (1996). The shop called Breukelen (17th Century Dutch spelling of Brooklyn) was focused on the designs of local Brooklyn artisans who created design objects from jewelry to ceramic objects to lighting. The focus was on modern well designed objects of contemporary design. Mid Century design was very popular at that point and in the US this aesthetic defined modern. Our focus was to present and focus on truly contemporary design. We have never shown vintage furniture even though great designs have been created in the past.

Is there a particular target you’re referring to?
Since opening the furniture store in Manhattan’s Meat Packing District in 1999, the focus has been on furniture, flooring and lighting that is made of natural materials when possible which are made to the highest standards of production so they will be loved and last for many years. Our client is discerning in terms of quality and design. Because we primarily show new designers, our clients are usually individuals who are able to decide on their own what is designed well and what will look fit into their personal environments. Our clients have done their homework before they come to us.

How would you describe your aesthetic?
The Karkula aesthetic is decidedly masculine. There is generous use of vegetable tanned leather; natural fibers in jute, wool,cork,hemp, paper, cotton and rubber often in their natural color; solid woods in darker tones such as walnut or natural oak with white oiled finish; unpainted authentic metals in stainless steel, polished aluminum or blackened steel. The forms are simple and reduced to straight and angular lines with the occasional sexy restrained curve. Overall the feeling is warm, non-plastic, subtle and natural. There is never any use of fur in the showroom and we do not work with companies who use fur in any part of their collections.
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