I love working with small design labels as they are often very personal and fun to work with, but even more than that, I love to learn about their story and how they got started in their industry. This little column I’ve been writing, ‘Style Files‘, features some of the talented people I come across as a blogger and stylist, where I go behind their product and get to know them as designers, sharing their story with you all. Today I am thrilled to feature the sister team behind a fresh and young Rotterdam based design label called LileSADI, with images I recently styled and photographed for their new collection. The design duo team up with co-designers Siebring & Zoetmulder and chat about collaboration and what it means to join forces in the creative industries.
// When did you start taking an interest in graphic and textile design, and what is your background?
Already as kids we loved to weave tiny carpets for our dollhouse and make our own silk scarves using aquarel paints. We have always loved to create textile! They are powerful in a way to completely change the look and mood of an interior, and can serve as mirrors of different cultures and times.
Dinah studied Textile Design in Florence. After gaining a wide ranch of experiences at various studios across Europe, she joined Sarah in Rotterdam to launch their own label LileSADi in 2012. Sarah has a background in communication and marketing, and possesses a strong affinity for design, interiors and styling. She is in charge of press, organisation and collaborations, but is also involved in the design process of new collections and the styling of the product photography. Together, the twin sisters complement each others’ own skill set and make a wonderful team.
// How would you describe your aesthetic and how did you develop your own unique style?
LileSADi stands for minimalistic design with a poetic touch. We love to combine soft with hard, fine with bold. Our first collection ‘Fluor UP’ was graphic flower prints with an architectural influence in flashy neon orange and carbon-blue. We draw a lot of inspiration from the architecture in Rotterdam, where we live. We are still amazed by the mix of shades, materials and the play of shadows, lines and reflections of the clouds in the buildings.
// Your pieces are designed in Rotterdam, The Netherlands. Where are your products made and can you tell us a little bit about the people who make them?
We place a strong focus on the craftmanship and quality of our products and we want to keep production in Europe. We like to know the people who manufacture our products. Most of our textiles are screen printed by ourselves in our studio in Rotterdam. For some other designs, such as the monochrome pattern ‘Rainy Days’ we selected large format screen printing facilities in the UK. As the amount of orders grew larger we started outsourcing the sewing of our home textiles and the new kids fashion line to a Polish family business with a lot of experience and knowledge. We are in steady contact with the team to discuss the current orders and specifications.
In the future we dream about a small collaboration with handcrafters in Thailand to produce textiles inspired by ancient techniques translated with a modern ‘LileSADi’ twist. Our Mohair blanket 01 is produced in collaboration with the famous Textilelab in Tilburg. It was an exciting experience to follow and lead, from seeing the whole process from the design to the first test, selecting the final yarns, standing next to the machine, observing and hearing the machine weaving our final blanket.
// Was a joint career centered around graphic and textile design a long standing dream for the two of you? How did you come to work together and has it been a relatively easy process running a business together given that you are sisters?
The idea to open our own studio started taking form in our heads since 2010. At the time Sarah lived in Rotterdam and worked at an international internet marketing company and Dinah worked at a studio in Hamburg. After many visits and endless skype sessions in 2012 Dinah decided to join Sarah in Rotterdam and launch LileSADi. In the beginning it was challenging for us to be sisters and business partners at the same time. Talking too much about the studio work and not having enough distance where the main challenges for us. We are both a bit ‘in the clouds’, so we had to find our individual roles. Sarah took on the organisational part and Dinah the design part. At the same time, it is very beautiful to be able to create together and share the ups and downs together. We have the same style and ideas about how design should be and we complement each other with our varied talents.
// You work a lot with whites but also pastel tones and black. How would you describe your relationship with colour?
Our relationsship with colour has changed over time. In the last three years LileSADi evolved from flashy and a lot of pastels towards a more calm color palette with a lot of black and whites. We experiment with different textures such as stones and marble. We still use and absolutely love colour. We also like to play with soft shades and gradients. For us we do not follow trends or fashion, we decide about the final colours duringthe design process, it depends on the flow we are in.
// What or who inspires your creative process? How do you channel your inspiration? What designers of today inspire you?
We find inspiration in architecture, particularly in Rotterdam with its contrasts between graphic lines and rough textures and yet you stumble upon poetic little escapes with an industrial charm. We admire the work of Hella Jongerious, Lex Pott and Scholten and Baijings. At SaloneSatellite this year we met Ingrid Hulskamp we were amazed by her delicate poetic design.
// What does a typical day look like in the life of LileSADi? What do you love most about what you do?
We start the day with a coffee and discuss the tasks for the day. When the weather is nice it is a must to go outside for lunch in the sun.
A typical day looks like this: we pack the orders that need to go out that day, reply to blogger and wholesale requests and all other emails we received in the morning. After lunch we brainstorm about designs for a collaboration. At the end of the day we screen print new textiles and make some tests. No day is the same as the one before. We meet many interesting people and it is very exciting to create products that will be travelling to the homes of people around the globe and make them smile.
// Can you tell us a little bit about your latest cushion and blanket line? What will you be working on for Autumn/Winter 2015?
Our new Blanket 01 is woven in collaboration with the Textile lab in Tilburg. Since Dinah experimented a lot with weaving techniques during her textile design studies in Italy, she was inspired to create a high quality piece for the interior made of luxurious Mohair. The triangle pattern gives a very tactile effect and flows into a subtle gradient. It is very costly to produce so this design is for those who are interested in investing in a real eye catcher for their interior.
For our new cushion collection ‘Line and Gleam’ we drew inspiration from the lines and light effects in modern architecture. The textiles are hand screen printed and hand painted by us in our Rotterdam studio. Each cushion is unique and made of Gots certified organic cotton. They are designed to be mixed and matched and adding a minimialistic and fresh touch to any bedroom or living room.
For Autumn/Winter 2015 we are working on expanding the material compositions for the ‘Daily Gems’ wall cabinet with new exciting materials and patterns, and are working on an exciting collaboration with a Dutch design label.
// Can you share your 5 favourite places to eat and shop in Rotterdam?
Biergarten Rotterdam – a laid back atmosphere, fantastic burgers and in the heart of the creative scene of Rotterdam
& Designshop – Perfect place for interior decoration treasure hunters in the old North of the City
Dearhunter Vintage – The owner assists you in finding the hidden pieces
Nonna and Nena at Minimall – Great lunch inspired by the Turkish and Italian grandmothers of the two owners
Mevrouw Meijer – French food by a Dutch Francophil. The interior is beautifully decorated with vintage wallpapers and small details. The menu changes every two weeks
// How did you come to collaborate on your ‘Daily Gems’ collection with Siebring & Zoetmulder?
We got to know each other while working at Schieblock, the creative hub in Rotterdam. When Lianne Siebring from Studio Siebring & Zoetmulder approached us to do product styling and photography together with our products we were instantly inspired. Our minimalistic and poetic style with soft pastels and blacks and whites worked really well with the light wood and architectural compositions of the furniture designed by Studio Siebring & Zoetmulder. After receiving positive feedback on our styled photographs we decided to exhibit our work together at SaloneSatellite 2015 in Milan. The idea of a common product grew in our heads and that was the start of ‘Daily Gems’.
// Siebring & Zoetmulder, what is your background in product design and how would you define your aesthetic as designers?
Lianne and Elise both studied interior architecture at the Willem de Kooning Art academy in Rotterdam. After completion Lianne participated in a masterclass Driving Dutch Design and Elise graduated from a Master Design lab at the Manchester School of Art.
In the work of Lianne Siebring, the user is central. From the choices of material to form, her work is characterised by clear lines that are connected in a smart way.
Elise Zoetmulder takes her inspiration from everyday life. During the design process she is conceptually driven to create functional products. Simplicity is key, using a wide range of materials, she relies on her intuition to realise an artistic and poetic yet functional design.
Since 2013, Lianne Siebring and Elise Zoetmulder have worked together on a collection of design storage systems. As multidisciplinary designers they aim to create trendy interiors and add value to spaces. Their designs are characterised by the careful composition of geometric shapes, resulting in an organic whole.
// Siebring & Zoetmulder, tell us a little bit about your product ‘Daily Gems’ and how the two design labels worked together.
The two studios combined their aesthetics to create an atmosphere that represents a delicate universe with a minimalistic touch. The graphic patterns and soft colours of the collection of LileSadi works well with the raw and light aspect of the proportions and materialization of S&Z. We believe through collaborating and focusing on our individual skill sets we can create better a more in-depth design.
// LileSADi, what was the inspiration behind the various design elements you brought to the ‘Daily Gems’ concept? What materials were used?
The idea was not only to create a functional organiser, but also a platform for a beautiful material collage – or as we like to see it, a physical and material still life. It’s a playground for aesthetic compositions of materials, structures and shapes. Suddenly your daily artifacts become part of what looks like a classical Dutch still life painting, the concept that gives roots to the name ‘Daily gems’.
The inspiration for the materials comes from the city of Rotterdam: where exciting architecture and industrial materials shape the landscape.
The Daily Gems cabinet features two boxes cleverly juxtaposed and interconnected, creating interesting and functional spaces.
The boxes are designed with beautifully milled lines all around the cabinet. They create a subtle pattern and rhythm, serving as rails for several different materials.
The materials were carefully selected and hand-crafted. Each one tells its own narrative: a circular screen-printed mirror, a perforated recycled metal square, a brass triangle with rain drops from Rotterdam and a hand-made cobalt blue porcelain circle. Their function is not just an aesthetic one, they also add value on a functional level. For instance, they can be used to lean a book against, hang jewellery on, display a plant, or store away your gloves.
These geometric textured shapes are made to feel, experience and create a sensorial poetic cityscape on the cabinet.
// Siebring & Zoetmulder – Do you see yourselves developing more products together with Studio LileSADi? How did collaborating influence the quality and end look of the product?
Our collaboration with LileSADi was a natural, organic process. Currently we are still collaborating and will hopefully continue in the future.
// Collaboration is a growing trend in the creative sector and between designers and creatives. What do you love about collaborating and how does it benefit you as a design label?
Firstly, collaborating is more fun! But apart from that, we can all focus on your own skill sets and complete each other. It creates a more in-depth multidisciplinary but also timeless design. In this time, where information is so widely available online, we think it is a must to develop specific qualities of design skills. Through collaborating this is possible!
Thank you to Sarah, Dinah , Elise and Lianne for allowing us to peek into your world for a bit and learn more about what you do.
Have a lovely day,
Styling and Photography | Avenue Lifestyle for LileSADi and Siebring & Zoetmulder | Photographed in the Avenue Lifestyle Studio; with thanks to Nathalie Fransen for loaning your living room (first 2 images)