Materialising the Spirit of Bauhaus: Luthfi Kautsar on Studio Door

With our new-found love for tufted rugs, we've been wanting to procure such a brand into our curation, so we were delighted when we came across Studio Door. As a brand with strong design principles that is inspired by the historical significance and modern application of Bauhaus, their first collection ties multidisciplinary design closely with function, carrying a strong experimental spirit.

Today's conversation is with founder Luthfi Kautsar, a graphic designer and photographer, who happily shares his insight on Studio Door's development, sources of inspiration and vision with a slice of art history. Discover how they translate the ideologies and core essence of Bauhaus through a modernist lens and create their own interpretation of the movement in a tangible form.

 

1. How has your educational or career backgrounds help shape Studio Door?

Studio Door was first started as my initiative to explore new design territories, especially on the 3D spectrums of design; the idea of having much stronger design depth intrigued me. I often imagined what my design and crafts would look like if made tangible. Also, I am interested in the classic modernist architecture design pieces, especially Jean Prouve’s work, chairs, and bed design. Those are the real classical gems (though the functions are questionable, his design language is highly captivating). Long story short, those are the main reasons why I initiated Studio Door.

Answering the question asked, I went to LASALLE College of The Arts and majored in Design Communication. I was fortunate that my education at LASALLE really nurtured me to be contextually and culturally aware of the history of art and design (and I was a nerd). There was a class that was called CCS, which stands for Contextual and Cultural Studies. Basically, it was a history class, but it had such a profound impact on the way I perceived, contextualized, and saw design. I was lucky that I was exposed to the history of design early in my younger age as a designer. It helped me to be able to connect a lot of historical dots and enabled me to produce works that are often different but somehow ‘relevantly’ similar to the past.

Studio Door is shaped by our profound interest in the modernist idealistic and its design language and spirits. Our first collection is about Bauhaus, but if you look closer, it is not really a Bauhaus; there is a little bit of art deco and de Stijl touch to it.

 

2. We noticed that you incorporate a lot of lines and symmetry - what is the influence behind this?

Long story short, as a designer, I like to think and imagine with forms that include lines. And symmetry is a visual quality of which can be easily achieved with compositional forms and structures. I was a typography nerd back when I was in Uni. I even wrote a thesis and made a studio project discussing, exploring, and seeing typography as a language of forms. Typography gives language its ability to be understood and synthesized by humans. You take that out, and you leave out its visual language. You see, there are two languages embedded in one vehicle.

Having said that, thinking in forms is one of my forte and most of the designers that I looked up often thinking in similar fashions, designers like Na Kim, Paula Scher (she thinks in forms via typographic methods), Wolfgang Weingart & Emil Ruder (A typographer from the modernist Swiss era that thinks in forms via composition and seeing negative spaces).

To sum it up, I often think and work around the idea of implementing a good system. Let it be with Typography, Graphic Design & Pattern Making. Lines & symmetry are the results of the work methods that I often implement.

(1) Paula Scher, (2) Na Kim, (3) Emil Ruder, and (4) Wolfgang Weingart

 

3. What is a piece of philosophy from Bauhaus thinkers that you think more people should know?

Well, philosophy might be too tricky to be discussed and implemented on a consumer product level. Instead, we would like to celebrate the Bauhaus Spirit of experimentation, exploring how we can better express ourselves. As I can safely recall, the goal of Bauhaus is not a style, system, dogma, recipe, or fashion. Instead, it is about the spirit to continue to seek new ways and forms to express oneself and wonder about the fluidity of life itself.

 

4. Do you have a colour palette you always go back to?

I am on stage where I love punchy and bright colors. Truth be told, when I was in school, I despised colors. Most of my work is monochromatic. I believed that design should be systematic, pure, straightforward, and non-decorative. But, looking at my work now, I am clearly going against what I disliked back then.

I often start with the basic primary colors and change their hue and saturations to open up the color possibilities and continue mixing and matching them.

But, to answer your question more succinctly, I often look at Jean Prouve’s design work and see what colors he often utilized.

 

 

5. What do you think of the charm a mini rug holds, as opposed to larger ones?

I really think it is a matter of preference. From the business aspect, I would like to give the ability for my target audience to purchase our small rug without a strong purchase commitment. Buying small rugs means you do not really have to commit because there is a level of freedom embedded in it; you can try it out with different positions, different environments, and so forth.

On another note, perhaps the charm of our mini rugs is because it looks like a graphical element that floats above the ground!

 

6. Why do you think rugs have become a staple piece recently?

As a matter of fact, it has always been a decoration staple. But recently, the internet has helped it gain much more profound attention, with younger brands starting to introduce rugs. And not to mention people have been spending a lot of time at home and often think they could make their home looks / feel more comfortable.

 

Q + A

  • An architect you admire?

Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, Frank Lloyd Wright & Jean prouve

  • A topic you would like to explore in the future?

We are currently studying many design pieces from the Art Deco & Memphis Group; it is still in an early phase. Still, we wish to create design pieces inspired by these two different design spirits and characteristics.

  • Your favourite era?

Definitely postmodernism. But the classic modernism intrigue me as well (De Stijl, Dada & Futurism ). Postmodernism definitely has some Futurusim and De Stijl. So, what is an ‘Era’. A question for another day.

 

Click here to explore Studio Door's tufted rugs.