Designer Profile: Patryk Koca

Designer of Studio Pip’s Kaiya Bed

It’s no news that Patryk Koca, a well-known Australian product designer with a Masters in Industrial Design, is repeatedly impressing both the local and international furniture industry with his original designs and creative genius.

Patryk’s interdisciplinary skills and talent are sought after in various industries and Studio Pip were honoured to have collaborated with him on our latest product, Kaiya.

We’ve taken time out to explore the key elements of his design philosophy, what industry professionals inspire his work, as well as a behind the scenes look at conceptualising our Kaiya bed.

Studio Pip: The diversity of your work is so varied. Is there a common thread that ties your body of work together?
I believe that the diversity of work comes down to the diversity of briefs and clients. Design is never about ego, but about creating the best solution. Each brief is different and requires an empathetic and tailored approach to the brand and the end user. That’s where the adaptability and flexibility of a designer is important, as long as basic principles of function, sustainability and usability are not compromised.

Studio Pip: What influences your day to day work?
A good cup of coffee can make or ruin a productive day of work. In all seriousness though, research is paramount to any practice. Staying on top of the news in the creative space, sketching, the world, looking back at history and trends. Being curious is key.

Studio Pip: What is the philosophy behind your designs?
I strongly believe that functionality and usability of a product is vital, but creating products using ethical and sustainable methods with timeless value is becoming increasingly important. Being trained in the value of aesthetics, my role is to marry an often limited manufacturing process with a set of principles that will result in a beautiful object that will remain desirable for decades. Bridging together ethical design and manufacturing with timeless styling for a positive future is my driving philosophy.

Studio Pip: Who/what are some of your early creative influences?
My parents were very much ingrained in the creative scene in Poland. From theatre, set design and visual arts, my family immersed me in a world that was rarely constrained by reality. A similar sense of wonder fascinated me in the work of Oskar Zieta, who I worked for after graduating university. His approach and way of thinking are unlike anyone I have ever met – working with readily available materials he applies revolutionary thinking to manufacturing processes, to create truly unique products and sculptures. I have also had the pleasure to work alongside Adam Goodrum over many years – another leader in innovative thinking and eye opening possibilities in furniture design.

Studio Pip: Which designers, architects, interior designers and artists do you admire and why?
I am always inspired by Japanese architects and designers – Tokujin Yoshioka, Nendo, Ishinomaki Lab are just some examples of quirky but purist design principles in product and architecture. YSG Studio, Richards Stanisich, Bates Smart are current local practices that continue to create incredible award winning spaces in our Australian cities that elevate and enhance our daily experiences. Art for me is about multisensory experiences – like interior architecture, for me it has to stimulate more than just the eyes or mind. That’s why I’m drawn to experiential works of artists such as: James Turell, Olafur Eliasson and Anish Kapoor.

Studio Pip: Who are the creative people you look to?
I admire people that give back in terms of their creative endeavours – creatives that want to educate, invest, share designs and the arts, with the wider community, such as art patron Judith Neilson.

Neilson actively nurtures the arts by commissioning amazing pieces of furniture and engaging architects including: Smart Design Studio, John Wardle architects and Tzannes. On the other end of the spectrum I admire Sydney’s northern beaches locals Richard Leplastrier and Casey Brown Architecture for the honesty of their principles in residential architecture and the deep thought that goes into understanding their clients to create unique and beautiful living spaces that complement the environments in which we live.

Studio Pip: Is there a current element or approach that runs through your work?
Sustainability is always a consideration – from material choices to choosing manufacturers, there are many things that influence a product’s carbon footprint. I love working with Australian suppliers, visiting factories, learning from the best. Timber is the obvious material choice for any furniture made locally. Timber is sculpted, carved, made to order, and does not rely on high manufacturing volumes – Australia is an affluent but small market with expensive labour – it constrains the types of products and production methods available – I like to see this more as an opportunity and challenge!

Let’s talk about your latest design for Studio Pip.

Studio Pip: Recently you designed the Kaiya bed for Studio Pip. What was the inspiration and concept for the Kaiya?
I experimented with more of a graphic approach with this brief, looking at a two dimensional signature for the collection. Researching pared back joinery in Japanese architecture and lots of sketching was key to creating the aesthetic value of the rectangular planes which are joined by perfect intersecting circles. Translating this approach to 3D was achieved with tonal variation and contrast of long grain and short grain of timber creating beautiful negative space and adding lightness to an otherwise robust frame.

Studio Pip: How did you resolve your concept into the completed prototype?
I’ve had the opportunity to travel to Tasmania just before lockdown to work with Studio Pip’s maker. As it is a long distance relationship, I first developed concepts via sketches and technical drawings explaining the key design attributes. But it is always a collaborative problem solving process until we reach a successful compromise. You also learn so much from seeing your vision come to life in three dimensions.

Studio Pip: How did you come up with the name Kaiya?
We workshopped the name with Joe (Director of Studio Pip) and the Studio Pip team. A name is quite important as part of a broader collection, it needs to be cohesive with the brand. Kaiya is a Japanese girls name that evokes forgiveness. Forgiveness, peace of mind and clarity are key to a good night’s sleep which are all attributes our bed offers.

Studio Pip: What is your favourite part of the design?
The vast adaptability of the design to the clients’ needs – the possibilities to customise the bed head are near endless. From individual upholstered panels, breathable cane panels or even a slatted timber back, the bed changes character with its owner, without compromising the design.

Studio Pip: What makes Kaiya unique to other Australian designed and made beds?
The Kaiya bed is in my opinion a unique and versatile piece. Combining a classic robust timber frame with subtle details it does not follow trends, it sets its own agenda. The bed offers a range of customisation options and it is made locally to order.

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