Minka Inhouse are a boutique, independent design team making hand created home goods using textiles and ceramics. Located in downtown Santiago, Chile, Minka Inhouse seeks to make use of local domestic manufacturing. Inspired by tradition, the Minka Inhouse designs have that pared down look we so love. Our chat with Minka Inhouse reveals more. How did you get your start in this craft?
I studied graphic design and then straight after finishing I started working in different retail companies that specialized in home products. There I had the experience of travelling to international design and product fairs in Hong Kong, China, and Europe. On the last trip to China I realized that many of the things we sent to produce there could be made by local manufacturers. I wasn’t very happy with my lifestyle. I worked in a big company, had the opportunity to travel and meet new places and people, had economic stability but I wasn’t happy. I wanted to be able to be present in the process of a product, know the story behind the craftsman, learn how something is made. When I came back I started looking for suppliers and local techniques that could be developed in a modern and contemporary way. I also began a research of local raw materials that could be used for something new. Now I can happily say that everyday I learn something new about a craft or meet an interesting person.
I usually find inspiration while I am alone and in silence. I really enjoy a quiet environment. Inspiration also comes from many sources: a trip, a song, magazines or blogs, people, a raw material that hasn’t been used yet, a special color, a piece of paper, cloth or texture.
You are a multi skilled creative – do you style all of your own shoots too?
Some of the photos are styled by me and other by the photographers. Many of the photos you can find in our webpage, Instagram and Pinterest are creations of the photographers. I asked them to collaborate with Minka Inhouse, made them choose their favourite products and then take one or more photos. I think that the result it is very interesting and it responds to what we think Minka Inhouse is. Minka is a native word used to describe a collective work with a social purpose and benefit for the community.
What do you love about living in Chile and can you share any insiders secrets on what are the best kept secrets to your city?
I live in Santiago that it is the capital of Chile. In 1 hour you can be in the snow or in the beach. In winter you can look to the Cordillera de Los Andes and see a wide and high white body of mountain because of the snow. The city is getting small, caving in by people and cars (although many of us use bicycles and ride the metro). The city is varied. You can find splendid buildings built in the beginning of the 20th century, and in the next block a not so pretty, modern, mass produced construction. You can find nice neighbourhoods with interesting proposals towards design, food and art and some km away a very sad and poor lifestyle situation. We are the most unequal country in the world but we believe and act as we are on the threshold of development. I have two favorite places to eat. One is Cafe Clementina. It is a small spot in a plaza. They don’t have tables and they lend you a tablecloth so that you can eat in the grass. The food is amazing! The other place is Liguria, they offer Chilean typical food and the place is really nice. It is inspired in aesthetics of “La Lira Popular” (type of poetry used in the XIX century here in Chile), and it is a place with a lot of visual/graphic history. Another place I like is one of the last and small old cinemas in town. It is called Normandie.
How does living in Chile impact your aesthetic?
Mmmm..It is a difficult question. I believe that now at days references and inspiration is global. With internet and social media app I find myself more connected to what it is happening in Australia, Europe or USA.
What’s next on the agenda for Minka Inhouse?
We are planning to attend the designboom mart at the Tokyo Designers week 2014. Until then we will still be working in finishing the Kickstarter rewards we must sent to all of our lovely backers from around the world.