Azure looks at four designers making it big in the Big Apple by working their distinct aesthetic and formal signatures into brilliant furniture, lighting and interiors. Next up, Anna Karlin, a furniture and interior designer who brings an element of surprise to everything she does.
Anna Karlin sees no barriers between design disciplines, which is what makes her so prolific. In the four short years since she established her studio on Manhattan’s Lower East Side, she has conceptualized print materials for Thompson Hotels, installations at Maison Kitsuné New York, and crystalline display cabinets for the launch of Sorellina jewellery. “I just don’t understand not wanting to do it all,” says Karlin, 29. “It doesn’t matter what the outcome is – a website, a chair, a pot – it’s all the same process. It’s also what keeps me interested and excited.”
Born in London, she studied visual communication at the Glasgow School of Art, and has returned to Europe to complete a few key commissions. Most recently, she redesigned the women’s accessories floor at Moscow’s chic Tsvetnoy department store, along with a series of sculptural display pieces throughout the store, and photography sets that appeared in its marketing materials.
Her aesthetic shines through most brightly in her self-produced furniture and accessories, which reinvent traditional forms: a hearty ash wood dining table embellished with inlaid brass numbers, and chunky metal stools that resemble supersize chess pieces from a Bauhaus-esque set. She continues to play with these basic shapes – her latest additions to the line include parchment-covered versions of the Chess Stools and Armchair – but a whole new range is in the works.
She doesn’t feel the least bit pressured to introduce them during a design fair; she will release them whenever they’re truly ready. “I love designing events and spaces,” she says, “so I’ll just launch them in my own way.” She will, however, show a whole new textile line at NYCxDesign, in a collaborative project with Hosoo weavers of Kyoto, Japan. Presented by Atelier Courbet, the fabrics feature patterns with “slightly imperfect geometries,” she says.