The eco-conscious way of life, rethinking our consumption habits, and how we should surround ourselves with things with which we can take care of the world a bit are more and more becoming hot topics nowadays. Slowing down is not only important in the field of dining, clothing or transportation, but in furnishing our homes and living spaces, too. This is what Daken Studio aims to call our attention to, not only bringing the home decor items and furniture of the past century to new life, but making them true collector’s items, too. We interviewed the founders, Tímea Zsófia Koma and Dániel Koma about running a family business and working together. Interview!
Everyone in your family comes from an art background, including your grandparents, who were significant and celebrated artists: Júlia Gaubek was a Munkácsy award-winning Merited Artist and József Ilosvai was a sculptor. Your interest in one-of-a-kind design objects goes way back to your childhood. Exactly when and how did you decide that you wanted to manifest this in the form of launching your joint business, Daken Studio?
Tímea Zsófia Koma: We started looking up the pieces of furniture designed by my grandmother approximately two years ago. We found many exciting pieces made by other designers, too, and since we love this era very much, we piled up a relatively large stock of pieces that needed renovation. Seeing how these pieces came to new life in the hands of Dani and all the opportunities they offer, how valuable they are, it wasn’t a question any more that we wanted to show this fascinating world to others, too, while offering a new alternative on the furniture market. The name ‘Daken’ was quite self-evident for us, as this is one of the nicknames of my brother and I also love how the word sounds very much.
How are the work processes divided between the two of you, how does a Daken piece of furniture come to life?
T.ZS.K.: I think it is safe to say that getting to know the era, reading about it, searching and looking up furniture and nice objects became the passion of both of us. This makes up a great part of our lives. If we find a piece we consider promising, it is transferred to one of our warehouses. Before Dani starts renovation, we figure out the outlook it should get, whether we should keep the original looks of the piece or we should change its color or tiny details. When deciding this, we also take into consideration whether the piece will be made based on a preliminary order and consultation. We then photograph the completed piece and I upload the images to the online store, and depending on the room we have, it either goes to the shop or its new home immediately.
What do you guys lay the emphasis on when selecting a piece of furniture? To what extent do you focus on furniture designed by Hungarian designers? Does your repertoire offer foreign pieces as well?
Dániel Koma: When selecting the pieces, we mainly choose what we like. On a serious note, we try to look up the most special pieces of furniture possible. We are looking for pieces with captivating stories or shapes. Many talented Hungarian designers worked in the mid-20th century, whose pieces we are quite fond of, including László Heczendorfer or László Mózer, and we also offer some of their works in our store.
Usually we come across the objects we save in Hungary or the neighboring countries. We are the happiest when we find an object that had been abandoned for long, standing in a dusty cellar or a villa doomed to be demolished. In these cases we get to show how valuable they are with just a little care.
Daken Studio does not only offer furniture, but other home decor items and works of art, too.
T.ZS.K.: Works of fine art also influence us greatly, and we are quite happy that our store also offers the paintings of our uncle, Krisztián Ilosfai, thus allowing a broader audience to get to know his works. We hope that as we grow, we’ll be able to expand the number of artworks too, thus providing other artists an opportunity to show their art.
D.K.: Moreover, the store is full of lamps, vases, ceramics and other ornaments amongst which everyone can find the ones suiting them the most.
Are there any pieces of furniture or any objects that you’d like to get your hands on, but you haven’t managed to find yet?
D.K.: Our grandma designed a very special dinette set, which was placed at one of the offices of the Ministry of Cultural Affairs at the time. Unfortunately only one piece was made of it, and it got lost over the years. Even though it’s a long shot, but we would love for it to find its way home.
Today we are more and more reaching back to the objects of the past, and we pay more and more attention to them. What’s your take: are the furniture of the sixties evergreen pieces, do you think there will always be a demand for them?
T.ZS.K.: I think the beauty of a streamlined shape or finely worked wood rises above trends. The outstanding pieces of the era have already proved their timelessness over these 60-70 years.
What peculiarities can we expect from Daken Studio, what are your plans for the future?
D.K.: We have plenty of ideas and plans, on which we work continuously. We would like to grow, of course, and expand our services in the near future. Our long-term plans include creating a showroom and a community space that would allow the audience to get to know the artworks of our grandparents and contemporary artists and perhaps would even allow us to organize workshops and meetups.
Daken Studio does not only inspire us with their furniture. They have recently launched their campaign „Me and My Slow Furniture”, in which Hungarian artists and creative experts call our attention to the importance of sustainable home furnishing through their personal experiences.