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Irina Flore x Aina Kari

Please tell us about yourself

I am a multidisciplinary designer working and living in Portland, Oregon. I work from my design studio, focusing on innovative products, art-objects and design research. I work on a diverse range of projects for international clients, on both commercial and Art projects. Before moving to Portland, I studied and graduated Design from Haute École des Arts du Rhin, in Strasbourg France. I grew up in a family of craftsmen, my father and my grandfathers were carpenter and wood artisan, while my grandmother was a knitter who created garments for most of her life. Growing up in their workshops I learned how valuable the craftsmanship is. The passion I have for design, comes from the family examples I had. I can say that craftsmanship is a very important aspect in my design practice approach. I like to design innovative projects while taking into consideration our surrounding and our real needs as humans. I continue to question my everyday work and my design process, because I believe it is important for me as a designer designer to be conscious about my actions and about how that product will improve or impact our life and our environment. Irina Flore Designer for High-End Candle

What inspired you in creating the design for this niche sustainable candles?

I believe the Italian Art and History inspired me the most, but also the glass
craftsmanship. The Venetian water wells suggested as reference in the first part of
the project were inspiring as well, and I was charmed by their beautiful details and
design. They were great references for the the candles concept.
While working on the designs, I tried to go beyond the function and to imagine the
candle jar as a sculptural glass object which will decorate our homes.
The story behind this project is very meaningful to me. Working with Murano glass
masters, while exploring the beautiful glass properties and working on the
sustainability of the material and the product itself, gives so much value to the
project.

Aina Kari Luxury Candle

How are the Aina-K candles different from other high-end candles?

What makes a difference is the design itself and the story behind it. Being able to have a handmade sculpture jar, designed with a sustainable approach, while having each piece unique thought its craftsmanship, makes the difference with most of the candles on the market. It is not just a candle jar, it is so much more than that, it is an art-object.  

What are your roots with the European/Italian design?

I was born, I grew up and lived in Europe most of my life. I was born in a small town in Romania in a family of craftsmen. I moved and studied design in France, where I got the opportunity to be in a great art school where I got so many opportunities to learn and develop myself as a designer and artist. I start working as an assistant designer in Studio Sebastian Herkner in Offenbach, Germany. This position meant very much for me; I got the opportunity to see what design means at the highest level. I was part of a great design team, working on projects for renowned companies, presented at the most important design shows around the world. I will always be grateful for being able to learn from Sebastian and the team I was part of, it helped me define what I want to do next and how I should approach each design I work on.
Even though I now live in Portland, I am still collaborating with European manufacturers and craftsmen, I am traveling often and I try to attend the European design shows and exhibitions as well.

What means for you a sustainable design? Is it about materials only? 

We might think of sustainable design as the concept about building objects that don’t harm our environment. As I mentioned earlier, in my design practice I like to
question what I do and why I do it; I take into consideration the human side and
our interaction with the objects and the impact they have on our environment. For
me sustainable means to respect the balance, and the nature’s harmony- When I
think about the balance, this meaning the human side of it and who and how the
product is manufactured. I like to imagine the objects I design as Art-objects,
which can be kept for a long time and which can become meaningful for us.
Murano design candle  

What are the latest trends in US?

When I moved to the Portland, I was pleasantly surprised about the interest for
handcrafted products or/and local products. So I believe the trends in terms of
design are for more meaningful products, but also sustainable without a negative
impact on our lives.
 

Give us 3 ideas how to decorate our house in a classy and conscious way?

Well when it comes to decoration, I believe we need to surround ourselves with objects that create a beautiful harmony for us. A house will have personality when there are objects which mean something for those who live inside it. Having an art work by an artist you like, or a display object which you got while traveling will bring a touch of originality.

 Secondly, plants! I believe they should be part of any house. We humans are part of this beautiful natural system, but little by little we are getting distant from it. Plants bring life to any room and they create a beautiful composition with the objects inside our house. And the third is the color and light perception. Creating a color composition with the objects we choose to decorate our homes, and having nature light and lamps which will enhance them, will make the house more vivid.

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