I met Nikki Kreis at a small design fair in Clerkenwell over two years ago. I noticed her pegboards immediately as this clever storage solution spoke to me instantly. Nikki has developed her pegboard range over many years, perfecting its functionality and embellishing its design along the way. The result is practical and quirky. I invite you to find out more about this talented designer and maker through my Q&A below.
What is your background?
I trained as an interior architect at the EAAL School of Architecture in Switzerland and have lived in London, Berlin, New York and Sydney. I have worked in varied architectural practices. Over the years, I have designed and developed furniture and interiors for hotels, fashion showrooms and residential spaces throughout Europe, Asia and the US. Before moving to London I lived in Sydney for 6 years, were I set-up an architectural office together with my brother.
Why did you set up the business – was it a childhood dream, what was the defining moment, who inspired you?
Over the years I have accumulated a large ‘ideas book’ – in my head and on paper – of products and furniture, which I wanted to get out into the world. When the right time came, I decided to test those ideas and validate them by bringing them to life. I chose London – the design capital of the world in my eyes – and moved there to set up my design business. I am very excited that I found exactly what I want to do in life. I cannot imagine a better job than what I am doing now.
How many people work at your company?
At the moment it is just me and sometimes a student who helps me out with large wholesale orders. She studies at the Central Saint Martin art school, which happen to be very close to my flat. Currently, I am looking to get more help in manufacturing my products as I am slowly outgrowing my little workshop and I no longer have the time to do everything myself.
What’s the best thing about running your own business?
To make all your own decisions and steer the business in the direction you want. I love what I am doing and even though I work much harder than when I was employed I would not want to have it any other way.
What do you design?
I design and make contemporary home accessories, with a strong focus on one material: plywood, which forms the base of all my designs. My creations embody simple forms that have a Scandinavian, minimalistic feel.
How would you describe your design style?
Functional, simple and staying true to nature of the material involved
Tell me about your key collections ?
- Peg-it-all pegboard collection: The inspiration came from everyday life – as it so often does. I was looking for a slim and compact storage solution for shoes and came up with a system of holes and pegs to hang shoes from. From this first idea, I developed a plywood board with large holes to fit pegs, shelves and other accessories, thus making it a useful storage element for every area in the home, such as the kitchen, home office, hallway etc. It is an adaptable product that can be cut to size to fit the customers specific needs.
- Plywood home accessories: the first piece I made was meant to be an add-on shelf for a pegboard, but then I had the idea to cut a recess into the plywood shelf, and it becomes something else: a desk tidy. From then onwards I was inspired by the material and the manufacturing possibilities of CNC cutting, which is a cutting process controlled by digital drawings. It is an ideal marriage between the nature of the material and the manufacturing process which form the basis of my inspiration and from which I develop my collections.
Why do you use plywood?
I fell in love with the aesthetics of plywood: the layers of birch veneer that appear when cut and which I choose to celebrate. Another quality that draws me to this particular material is its sustainability. The ply-making process utilises all the wood leaving minimal waste. I also try to use all the off-cuts of my production process – for example a circular off-cut from a storage pot becomes the back plate for a wall hook.
Where do you draw your creative inspiration from?
Ideas comes to mind whilst observing the world around me – how people do things, how they handle objects. If things work or not – how to make them work better. A material could also trigger an ideas and I start from there. I always sketch ideas in my notebook and then develop them over time until they evolve and become real.