Making Talents: Lappa Studio
Fresh young talent is the elixir of life, so to speak, for an industry to which attractive design is so essential. But how does one actually become an up-and-coming designer? And what drives young talent on? In this series, TOP FAIR presents up-and-coming designers from various product segments and asks them about their careers and projects. All the designers interviewed presented their designs and products at Ambiente 2020 in the context of the Talents special exhibition.
In the fourth interview in the series, we spoke with designers Lenka Preussova and Anna Leschinger who in 2018 founded Lappa studio in Prague. The studio focuses on textile design and its acoustic qualities in contemporary interiors. The mission of Lappa is clear: to soften the interior spaces in which we work and live. The studio explores how textiles, through their design and acoustic qualities, can help us better concentrate and relax as well as reawaken in us a spirit of playfulness. In their studio in the Holešovice suburb of Prague, the designers devote time not only to acoustic products but also other textile accessories for the interior. These include curtains and upholstery. Their work is based on a comprehensive approach to human needs, an examination of the space in which we live, and constant striving for innovation.
: Is there such a thing as an individual design philosophy? What makes for good design in your view?
Anna: We like things that have been designed and produced with love. We think you can see and feel that in the products themselves. In general, I like designs that make our lives easier and foster sound habits. A good design should make us feel more human and help us solve day-to-day problems more easily.
Lenka: That’s also the reason why we focus on spatial acoustic design. We love to explore how acoustic comfort in the interior can affect our mood as well as our capacity to concentrate.
: Do you have any design models, in the sense of people or individual designs that you regard as particularly successful?
Anna: I love the minimal designs of Victor Papanek who created the book Nomadic Furniture with James Hennessey. The book is a DIY manual packed with instructions and diagrams for making all kinds of items and has been instrumental in inspiring a great many people to become designers themselves. Although the book was written in the 70’s, the designs are still cool and up to date!
Lenka: Also, we admire all projects in which designers are working with sustainable materials and seeking to innovate. For example, I’m a big fan of the way Sophie Rowley uses upcycled materials, such using old denim to create new marble-like surfaces, and a project called Forest wool by Tamara Orjola, who uses pine needles from the forests to produce a new non-woven textile material.
: Do you have a favourite among your own designs – one, for instance, that turned out particularly well or that met some particularly challenging requirement?
Lenka: I personally like our designs that employ a three-dimensional element on the surface of the panel. The interplay of light and shadow is a never-ending source of inspiration. It is what transforms the visual appearance of the panel during the day. In the evenings, you can be the creator and change how the panel looks by setting up the artificial lights yourself.
Anna: I am still in love with our backlit panel called Hyperion. It’s a circular panel with a structural core and was inspired by one of Saturn’s very porous moons. When you combine the disk shape with lights, a very attractive design is created that brings a magical ambience to the interior.
: How do you get your ideas? What inspires you? Do you have any preferences in terms of the tools used (e.g. pencils or digital technology).
Anna: We always discuss with one another what to do next. Then we start drawing. We like the classic paper and pen approach. I think it’s still the best and fastest way of getting ideas out of your head. After that, we start to render our designs in digital form. This gives us the freedom to play with colours, and search for the right colour choices. We love textile and print design, so after the definition of the shape we always focus on the print design itself.
Lenka: The most inventive and exploratory moment comes, when we start to work the materials with our own hands. This is the moment, when we experience the most surprises and make the most mistakes and discoveries. We actually hit upon some of our successful designs actually by accident!
: What projects are you working on currently?
Anna: We are working on an acoustic solution for a meeting room in the heart of Prague, where will be levitating many colourful circles on the ceiling. This is actually the best moment in our work (in my opinion): when you can put your designs into practice and apply them in the place where it really helps to create a better environment.
: What plans do you have for the future?
Lenka: We want to focus mostly on innovation and constantly improve our products. The acoustic demands of some spaces are high and we want to be able to meet them, while offering aesthetically pleasing solutions. We are also looking for sustainable production methods and to manufacture the entire product exclusively locally.