1001Tunisie : What do you love about Ceramic and design ?
Hend Krichen : My love for creativity has always been apparent. I love drawing and conceptualising things as far back as I remember. I am completely obsessed with interiors and decor and that passion is what started my journey of creating objects that can give a space meaning simply by being present.
In particular regards to ceramics, I had the opportunity to explore the material as a discipline during my BA course at Loughborough University. The course was very experimental and spanned over three main disciplines. Ceramics, Silversmithing and Jewellery, and furniture. I only discovered that I had fallen in love with ceramics when I embarked on the journey of the project Tunisia Made.
Aside from design I am very interested in history, culture and heritage. Ceramic is a centuries old material and the craft of ceramics has fundamentally changed in aesthetic over decades. This change in different civilisations and times in history can be seen in the diffferent aesthetics of the ceramic work : a true visual tapestry. I’m a true beliver that the objects we use today, (if they are designed well and with longevity) have the opportunity to tell our story for centuries to come. That’s what I find so beautiful and fascinating about the material.
What messages are you trying to translate through your work ?
My main message is to make sure that people know that the collections I design are a representation of myself, an Arab and a Tunisian, with strong western undertones and influences, and that is exactly what my pieces represent. When products carry an essence of different cultures they have the power to connect and speak to a larger demographic. I have lived as an expat almost my entire life, immersed in different cultures, whilst parallel to this my parents instilled a strong Tunisian identity in me throughout my upbringing which I am forever greatfull for. Regardless of all this, identity can still become dissolved through too much exposure of various cultures and it’s all about finding a balance. The process of running my own creative business has aided my self-exploration. It gave me the empowerment to understand the importance of my roots, bring me closer to them, as well as also appreciating my other influences.
I also think in a time of cultural and religious separation with the most recent political events, it’s important that creatives try to break down those barriers and bring west and East together in a positive light.
The second important message is that with the all the new technology out there, there is a fear that craft can become extint and I feel a responsibility as a designer to ensure that this doesnt occur. There are enough people out there utilising technology in design and various other fields, which is a great thing. However I also think it’s just as important to preserve craft as it’s part of our idetntiy. Craft has a powerful ability to tell a story. This is something that we should cherish and assist in evolving so it always stays current and fresh in order for it to survive.
What inspire your work ?
As designers we should be able to draw connections to almost everything, what’s important is how we draw those connections. My sources of inspiration always come from moments in history or present day. I want to be relateable. I try to focus on interesting, authentic processes and materials that represent a bygone era, with an ultimate ambition of being able to utilize them in a modern way. Due to my upbringing I’ve been encouraged to have an open way of thinking and to use my surroundings as a tool to encourage and embrace the concept of free thought.
What is Hend Krichen Style ? How you define it ?
My influences come from Western sources such as Scandinavian design and Bauhaus architecture. As such, I embrace the mantra that ‘less is more’. Tunisian influence, which I developed as an adult, has also been apparent in some of my collections through the use of patterns from Ottoman period in Tunisia’s history.
What are your coming projects ?
There is an exciting new collection on the horizon which continues to use the identifiable aesthetic of the Hend krichen brand. However, the new collection will embrace an entirely new material which we have not explored before. The upcoming project is fresh and current whilst staying true to our brand and company ethos.
Hend Krichen : 36, Regents Studios, 8 Andrews Rd, London E8 4QN, Royaume-Uni