MEET HELENA SULTAN

My first interaction with Konekt Design happened at this year’s ICFF NYC Design Fair.  Strolling through each isle for hours can be dizzying, booth after booth the visuals start to blur and everything starts to look the same (which is why I suggest taking ample coffee breaks). Amongst the blur was Konekt Design, a break from the monotony with beautiful color-saturated fabrics, Ottomans with real horsehair, and a Dining Table with a polished bronze base that will give you life! Below are a few questions I had for Helena…

Life unfolds at a dizzying pace. KONEKT is a boutique furniture company built on the belief that home is a sanctuary, a place for comfort and beauty; a means to reconnect with family, friends and one’s core being.  Our ARTISANAL furniture invites harmony into the home, engaging the senses through expressive natural materials, hand- craftsmanship, organic shapes, textures and patinas.  The tactile experience is emphasized as much as form and function.- From Helena's about page

1.  What was your first major interaction with art and design, what affect did that have on you, and is that what drove you to choose design as your profession?

My mother is an artist, so I grew up surrounded by art.  Her paintings are powerful, full of saturated color, intriguing shapes, and alluring textures. She also collected antique and vintage furniture and objects and I developed a passion for their exquisite patinas, time worn beauty, imperfections, and the human connection you felt with the maker. The heightened sense of beauty that I grew up with is what leads me to design. I want to create tactile and sensual pieces that people connect to.

2.  You describe your design as artisanal (traditional) way, would you like you Furniture brand to grow into a brand that requires a more mechanized production.

The artisanal aspect of Konekt is something, which I always want to be part of my furniture brand.  I collaborate with highly skilled artisans and I think that is what gives soul to my pieces. I do though see a value for employing some aspects of mechanized production and I welcome that as well.

3.  What is your design process? 

My design process starts off with doing quick sketches with different variations, although, my drawing skills are quite basic. Usually one design stands out for me and allow it to sit and saturate with me, giving it space to develop over time.  I also often will use clay to make models. The one constant in my design process is relying on my intuition and gut.

 

4.  How do you balance the creativity vs. the business aspect of design? 

That is the most difficult part. I wish I could spend all my time working on the creative aspect, however, it is a business and I need to find a balance.

5.  Where do you find inspiration for a product/ design? 

I find inspiration by nature and everything around me.  Often I will be drawn to a simple shape or a certain material that I will hone in on and start from there. I also find inspiration from vintage and antique furniture and objects, often through visiting flea markets and auctions. My initial inspiration for my Pause Chaise Lounge was the desire to create a chair that would embrace the sitter and invite them to let go and disconnect from life’s pressures.

6.  How do you get “unstuck” creatively? 

I let go and create space for my creativity to express itself.  Mediation is part of my daily routine and I think that opens up the process.

7.  What would you say is an example of great design (digital/physical) Not including your own?

I often find the greatest examples of design in nature. For example, the rings of an onion when sliced in half or the organic curves found in sea-tumbled stones.

8.  As a designer, what is the most important aspect of you job (or your design)

To me, the most important aspect of my work is to create tactile and sensual pieces that people connect to, whether through natural materials, sculptural form or details that show the human touch.

9.  How does it feel to finally convey what’s going on in your mind, and turn it into art? 

It’s really satisfying to see a piece I envisioned in my mind come to life. Although, it can be a little nerve-wracking hoping that the final piece meets my vision and intentions.

10. Do you enjoy traveling, and what about traveling inspires your design(s)?

  I LOVE to travel. When I travel, I like to imbed myself in the particular place to experience the true culture.  I always find myself inspired by the landscape, architecture, design and natural materials found in my travels.