This Mother-Daughter Team Designed the Ultimate Cool-Girl Furniture
Konekt's new Manhattan showroom is a must-visit.
Published Nov 30, 2017 5:00 AM
Mother and daughter team Helena and Natasha Sultan of Konekt furniture weren’t always in the design industry. Helena was an award-winning documentary filmmaker, while Natasha worked in vintage and contemporary jewelry—so it seems strange the two would band together to form Konekt, a furniture design studio, in 2015. But their varied backgrounds are exactly what makes the company so different.
“Konekt was inspired by the belief that home is a sanctuary, and the desire to create tactile furniture that engages the senses,” Helena tells Domino. “Our lives have become so overwhelming, especially with our attachment to digital devices, and sometimes we really do need a break.”
One prime example of this aesthetic is the Pause Chaise Lounge, which perfectly hugs every curve in the human body, just begging one to lay in it. The sculptural accents clearly stem from Natasha’s experience as a jewelry designer, and Konekt, represented by the cool-girl agency NES, isn’t afraid to play with unique shapes and materials in order to capture exactly the feeling they’re looking for… and they’re also not drawn to pure perfection.
“Our intent is to make tactile furniture that is meant to be touched and experienced, so we focus on using materials that have interesting textures and markings,” explain Helena and Natasha. “We’re working on a new piece that incorporates spalted beech, which has incredible dark patterns that are actually caused by fungi growing on the wood. All of our materials are natural, and their beauty lies in their imperfections.”
A few examples? “We use goatskin parchment on our Pyramid Sideboard, and prefer to use it in its natural state—the markings are amazing and completely unique,” elaborate the duo. “On our Thing Stools, we use horse hair, and on our Rib Bench, we use Gotland sheepskin. Both materials—one super soft and the other coarse—have textures that you can’t help but touch. We also incorporate a lot of brass, bronze, and steel in our pieces, and are constantly fascinated by the patinas that can be achieved, or that naturally develop over time with a live finish.”
Another standout piece is the Dionis Side Table from their Stone collection, which the pair also considers one of their favorite pieces. Inspired by the shape and curves of ocean stones, the base has an artistic finish, while the black steel top gives it a functional edge.
“An obsession with these kind of stones was passed down from our respective mother and grandmother, who creates stone sculptures and uses their textures and markings as inspiration for her oil paintings,” they say. “We have both grown up spending our summers with her in Nantucket, scouring the beaches for stones and lugging them back with us. Like those stones, the tables are different from every angle. They are free-form and hand-sculpted, and require immense labor to create that variation—essentially, they are functional pieces of art.”
And of course, Konekt’s new brick-and-mortar showroom in NYC emulates the same feeling of being in a stylish art gallery. The rich blue walls pair perfectly complement the strong metallic materials in the furniture, and the natural light casts just the right amount of sparkle, while carefully places carpets soften the look.
“We were going for a maximalist approach not only with the color scheme, but with the textures as well,” says the mother-daughter team. “We love rich, saturated colors, and we tried to create a feeling of being enveloped in the space by painting both the walls and ceiling a deep, dark color. Vintage Art Deco Chinese rugs were a big inspiration for our color palette.”
However, the most stunning detail of Konekt’s style and aesthetic? How they manage to appeal to both younger and older generations alike. Helena explains, “I think where we differ slightly in our individual styles is in part due to a generational gap. My style can be a bit more refined, while Natasha’s can be more unconventional—but these differences complement our design process and the brand itself. They allow us to fill in the missing pieces of each other’s ideas.”
Konekt’s showroom is now open at 41 Elizabeth Street, Suite 302, Monday to Friday from 10am to 6pm, and appointments are strongly suggested.
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