MY DOJO
Hannah Kuhlmann
Cologne
Artist, Designer
Dojo Portrait

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Hannah Kuhlmann
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HOW ARE YOU ABLE TO CREATE YOUR MOST AUTHENTIC QUALITY WORK? Furniture are objects which have a direct contact to our bodies in everyday life, unlike art on walls or objects in shelves. They usually get less attention and are reduced to their function, but like everything else they carry messages – they are political and emotional carriers, they are bearers of history and mirrors of the society we live in. This has become very true during the last year for almost everyone, the appreciation of one’s own four walls has increased dramatically. For me it is important to realize to be always in a process, it’s not about creating the next design classic, but objects that carry a certain meaning and importance for an indefinite time.To create an object that can carry not only functions but also emotions. When I create an object, it’s important to me to work both sustainably and to see the object with its spirit. For example, welding generates a lot of heat. So if you push an object at a 90degree angle, it starts to warp because of the heat, in the end the angle ends up being 94° - why would you question that? That’s perfectly fine and gives the object honesty.

DO YOU WORK AND LIVE IN THE SAME PLACE, IF SO HOW DOES THIS WORK FOR YOU? Actually I do live and work in the same place, it is built like a tube. Following this order: bedroom – living room – bathroom – kitchen – showroom – workshop. I work in the same way, it’s like a cycle. Always repeating. In the morning I wake up slowly, one rarely jump from the bed directly to the workshop and the other way around. The steps in between are equally essential as the first and last stages. Living and working in one place, it’s super important to make sure everything doesn’t blur together, which it usually does... Sometimes it’s good, sometimes it’s exhausting. By the fact that I make objects that are integrated into everyday life there are only a few objects that are not made by myself. For me it’s completely unnatural to transform a home from an empty space into a furnished one, it must grow with time. Since I founded my studio in 2017, no furniture was bought, but every object I wanted was developed for the purpose. Some things stay for years, others are replaced even after months, depending on whether I feel it was a good or bad decision. Interior design has to be geared towards life, it makes no sense to furnish an office if you spend most of your time working on the couch/bed. Like in my case, I prefer to do it in bed or squatting, the office corner will be dissolved soon. When I want to forget everything around me, I prefer to play board games.

How do you keep your energy levels up during long work days? Take a break – When you work independently, there is no one to tell you to take a pause but yourself and no break days signed. It’s easy to get caught up in the madness of working non-stop, never taking a work-free weekend, and getting stuck into concepts without taking a moment to get a bird’s eye view. But in the long run, the solution (you've been looking for) comes through rest.


WHAT IS YOUR ESSENTIAL ARTIST’S TOOL? My heart, my brain and my welding machine.


WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE UNREALIZED PROJECT? In the last few years, I initiated several group exhibitions which showed different positions and approaches in design - great in itself, but what made it really special, was the emerged exchange among the designers during each exhibition. The groups ways of working with and learning from each other. Especially in the times after graduation as a self-employed designer, there is a need of intensive exchange with like-minded people. Therefore I would like to create a kind of vacation-workshop: a balanced mix of relaxation and education where people get the opportunity to not only share their skills but also to discuss relevant social issues.

WHAT ARE YOU THE MOST PROUD OF IN YOUR SPACE? Here I want to define space not as a physical room but more as a social sphere. By that I mean the people I surround myself with. I am incredibly grateful to be part of a circle of friends who are not afraid of drawing attention to political issues and moral values, not only sharing creativity, but also teaching, discussing and debating. Exchanging thoughts and making each other aware of social, political and economic issues we are surrounded with. That‘s what I‘m most proud of – my friends!

WHAT’S THE ONE PRACTICE THAT HAS CHANGED YOUR LIFE THAT YOU WANT TO SHARE WITH US? Being willing to ask for help and to hand overtasks in stressful times. Don’t be afraid to relinquish control.

Photography
Marina Hoppmann

DOJO, DOJO, DOJO