Italian furniture design of today is often associated with clean lines or at least modern flourishes. However, Katrin Arens has gone down a different path. For the past 20 years she has been working on her own business, designing and getting craftsmen to make products that use reclaimed timber from places such as derelict country houses and abandoned cellars. In a similar vein, she produces children's clothes using adult hand-me-downs. This idea of sustainability and continuity informs all her work. German-born Katrin lives in a farmhouse in Lombardy, Italy.
Which five words best describe you? Simple, elegant, natural.
How did you get your career start and what path have you taken since? After school (a long time ago), I studied economics and afterwards graphic design. After I finished my studies, I won a scholarship for the academy of arts in Bergamo, Italy. While I was in Italy, I built up my first "atelier" where I built the first prototypes of some furniture. (They were nice but not really functional...) I realised that I had to find someone who knew how to realise them. Slowly we got bigger and moved to another place (an old spinning mill) where the production still is. At the beginning I focussed only single pieces such as beds and tables. But in the past few years I have be doing more interior design, especially kitchens.
What’s the best lesson you’ve learnt along the way? Be yourself.
What’s your proudest career achievement? That I had an idea for a business 20 years ago and it still exists, growing slowly.
What’s been your best decision? Believing in my idea.
Who inspires you? Travelling to other cuontries, other cultures, seeing different ways of "life".... and, of course, my two daughters!!!
What are you passionate about?
Which person, living or dead, would you most like to meet? My grandmother Lieselotte.
What dream do you still want to fulfil? To build a house.
What are you reading? Jonas Jonasson die Analphabetin, die rechnen konnte
images courtesy of katrin arens