I have spent some time recently renovating a barn in the Surrey Hills with my own fair hands. Not that they were fair anymore; more scared, rough and battered! But if you want a job doing properly then its best to do it yourself as they say. Cheeky and I had thought and pondered very carefully about every detail and design feature of the interior, wanting to create our perfect dwelling in the countryside. We had opted for some of the classic Scandinavian interior design tricks to bring the best out in the barn; white-washing the many beams on the ceiling to push them up and create the feeling of more space, keeping most of the colours simple in muted greys or off whites, and mixing modern materials with natural in a careful balance. Now the interior was finished, it was time to hunt for items to put in this space that would echo the style and give it a heart.
After some searching for homewares that would follow the ethos of modern design with natural material we stumbled across Hend Krichen and her absolutely stunning handmade luxury ceramics. Through her artisanal skills and craftsmanship (or should I say craft-woman-ship) and by keeping the materials in their raw and natural state, Hend has created a unique range of homewares that are simply stunning. Drawing inspiration from various countries and cultures, Hend has produced a collection that is timeless and almost familiar without signing up to a certain cultural look . . . this is design as I like it, design that catches your attention, because the aesthetics are spot on. If I was a gambling man, I would say that her work probably follows the Golden ratio, the perfect rules set by nature and the basis of many great designs; often unknowingly.
A big box arrived; excitedly and carefully we opened up the beautifully wrapped package. Inside was the White Large Jar and two Ceramic Tea Light Holders, one in white earthenware and one in grey, both with Silver plated tops. The texture of the earthenware was gorgeous to look at; unlike most ceramics which have a shiny, reflective surfaces Hend’s products mostly have a matt finish, which I think defines and emphasises the form and structure of her products more than if they were shiny. The softness of the matt ceramics against the highly polished silver lids make for a very elegant juxtaposition, and once in place on our console table, that corner of the barn started to have a very different quality to it. As I mentioned earlier, we wanted to give the barn a heart with design pieces that said something about our style, and through these few pieces we have achieved that.
I was fascinated by the lady behind these simple yet beautiful designs, so I had to find out more about what drove and inspired her, so it was time for an interview.
- What made you pursue a career in interior accessory design?
I have always been creative in some way or another, I used to paint from a very early age, however the pivotal point was when I was completing my MA, the revolution took place in Tunisia, my country of birth. I lived as an expat my entire life and so when the revolution took place, it made me feel proud of Tunisia, and encouraged me to dig into my roots. So I decided to explore my roots through craftsmanship. As the project evolved I started to realise that designing by focusing on craftsmanship and learning about history through making was what I really was passionate about. So i decided to start it up as a business.
- Where do you get your design inspiration from and are there any other designers that influence your work?
My design inspiration comes from everything around me, architecture, materials, artists, design movements, there is no limit to where and how it develops. However I would say that scandinavian design and minimalism is at the forefront. Geometry and simplicity is a recurring theme in every collection and every product I have designed so far.
- How do you go about sourcing your materials?
I don’t produce all of my pieces in the United Kingdom, I produce them in multiple countries, including the UK. I did feel as though at one point, being a London based designer it’s important to produce in the United Kingdom a portion of my work as it’s contributing to the rich manufacturing platform that is available.
- How would you like to expand your brand or range in the future?
I have already launched a breakfast set and a natural progression would be to focus on the other two meals of the day. After all meal times are incredibly social and I would love for my pieces to be a part of those experiences. I also want to expand to other areas of the home; this will come with time and perhaps more travel and learning new crafts techniques.
- Do you think interior design will move into more sustainable and eco practices in the future?
Of course I think interior design will move into more sustainable and eco practices and so it should, we have already started to see a shift in this through the materials used, however I hope that this wouldn’t compromise style.
For more more information on Hend Krichen and her wonderful designs see online.