Category Archives: Interviews

Posted on by Amenity

Design with a Sense of Soul

We love the blog Artisans + Architects. Mike has a thoughtful viewpoint on architecture, artisanship and sustainability that definitely bears following. We very much enjoyed talking with him! Check out what he wrote about Amenity on his recent post, Designs with a Sense of Soul.

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Kristina de Corpo and Nicole Chiala share an art school background, a vision for sustainability and a relatively new and successful design business.

The two mid-‘90s graduates of the Art Academy of San Francisco decided in 2004 that they wanted to join forces and create products for the home. “We spend a lot of time outdoors,” said Kristina. “We’re big on the natural way of living.” The result is a strong emphasis on sustainability in every product that their firm, Amenity, designs and produces.

Nicole’s Muir collection of furniture is named for well-known Northern California conservationist John Muir. Her designs are inspired by Aalto, Eames and McCobb for a timeless and minimal look. Their warmth is derived from recycled Douglas fir salvaged from Los Angeles buildings slated for demolition.

Some of the reclaimed beams and two-by-fours are more than 100 years old. “The woodworkers we use have a contract to harvest the hardwood, bring it back to their shop, strip the outside, re-plane it and refinish it. Then it’s sealed with low VOC stains,” Nicole said. “It’s so interesting to see the texture and the grain – and then there’s the beauty of reusing things like that.”

Kristina’s designs for bedding and table linens reflect her desire to bring the outdoors in. Patterns suggest the look and feel of aspen leaves, pine needles and bamboo stalks. “It’s about the idea of living with nature, and the emotion that nature gives you – the feeling of tranquility,” she said.

Her materials are 300 thread-count percale cottons, some the quality of yarn, imported from India and produced to GOTS standards. She utilizes traditional printmaking methods to achieve boldness in her art. “Each piece is silk-screened and printed individually,” she said. “It takes four people to print each one – and not on a digital of a rotary press. These are artisan products, and they’re all made in the United States.”

Their creations, she says, are made to be beautiful, not mass-produced. Their customers are attuned to the forces of nature and the peace that it can bring. And their designs, she said, are meant to deliver a sense of soul.

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