Boris Design Studio is a Hong Kong based product design studio. It was founded by the two swedes Katarina Ivarsson and Anna Karlsson who on the occasion of the launch of new products answered a few questions about inspiration and co-working. “One of the strongest driving forces at BORIS is curiosity. Curiosity leads to inspiration that leads to ideas – and ideas; can be made into products.”
1) Buymedesign.com: Could you describe yourselves briefly and tell us what are your respective backgrounds?
Katarina: I had my first encounter with Asia when I decided to pursue a Master of Design of Advanced Practices at School of Design, HK Poly U of which I graduated with distinction in 2006. My first job after graduation was as a designer for a Taiwanese company that took me on an amazing adventure to China where I worked and lived at the factory. I have a background in industrial design and fashion and a passion for sustainability. I met Anna when I joined a Swedish design firm here in Hong Kong and after a year or so we felt that it was time to set up our own company which we did!
Anna: I was born and raised in the far north in Sweden. I studied my Bachelor and Masters degree in Fine Arts and Industrial Design at Konstfack, in Stockholm, Sweden. I also did an exchange semester in Sustainable design at master level in Tokyo, Japan. When I graduated I moved to Hong Kong and worked as an employee at a design firm for about a year where I also met Katarina. After a year in Hong Kong me and Katarina decided to start Boris!
2) Buymedesign.com: How did you arrive in the field of product design and creativity?
Anna: Because of curiosity! All days/projects are unique. The constant challenges in tasks and fields of interests and the diversity that gives suits my personality well.
Katarina: Already in Kindergarten I used to sit and build sculptures of papers or sometimes even spaghetti if that was what was around. Then, to my mothers annoyance, I began to cut up her linen collection to make it into new creations… Creativity is in my DNA and design was the way to go.
3) Buymedesign.com: Where do you find your inspiration to create every day?
Anna: Just being observant when you go to the super market can be enough to get inspired when you are in Hong Kong. The street life of Hong Kong is truly inspiring. High and low in an interesting mix!
4) Buymedesign.com: You created Boris Design Studio together. How do you share the work between the two of you?
All Concept development we do together and when it is time for the execution Katarina is mainly managing the design project whilst Anna is managing the production line. Katarina has a background in fashion and Anna in hardware so we complement each other well in the creative process.
5) Buymedesign.com: What is the DNA of Boris Design Studio?
6) Buymedesign.com : What guides you to design a specific product?
Oh tricky one! Depends on the project of course. Usually we have a theme we are interested to explore. It can be a philosophical idea but it can also be a certain material or technique. Trend studies are a major part of our consultancy business which also feeds the projects we do under our own brand!
7) Buymedesign.com: Do you consider that a design product has to be functional first, as we can see with some of your products (ie Iphone case, MacBook sleeve)?
With a Scandinavian design heritage and education function is always a priority when we design products. However we think that a product also can be strictly decorational to have a functional purpose. A product has to have a purpose and a story – Why else bother making it?
8) Buymedesign.com : You manage at the same time your brand Boris and your consultancy activity. Are the two very complementary to you?
Very much so. We learn new things in both areas and they feed each other in a very good way. Under Boris the brand we can also emphasize the sustainability aspects which we later can use as good examples for our clients. Good, sustainable products can be made in China!
9) You recently won a price at Hong Kong Lighting Design Competition: What does it mean for you?
It is really great to get recognition “at home”! For us it means a lot to our consultancy business here in Asia. Winning awards here makes an impact!
10) How do you see Boris in 5-year time?
With offices in Europe as well as here in Asia. We are growing and the presence here is of equal importance as the presence back home where we have our roots.