Rooms, Tbilisi : Objects as Figures – as Guests of a Space
The Tbilisi-based Interior and Product Design studio Rooms is perceived as an on-growing practice at both local and international design stages. Founded by Keti Toloraia and Nata Janberidze, the studio’s aesthetic focus was influenced by the founders’ Soviet childhood, in a synthesis of the European and Asian cultures inhabiting their country.
“By always seeking something new and unfamiliar, we are rarely fully aware of what is around us at any given moment. That’s why we decided to capture the simple forms of our daily lives and freeze them in time - to “monumentalize” them. This collection is all about celebrating the Life on Earth.”
The curiosity and awareness of the permanence of the things that were created centuries ago, with a concentration on mixing simple organic and geometric forms, yet juxtaposed with composite materials, makes their archetypal collection Life On Earth an assembly of one-of-a-kind sculptural objects.
Keti and Nata have known each other since their interior design faculty days at the Tbilisi Academy of Arts. Having started working together right after their graduation in 2003, they decided to found their own design studio four years later. By holding onto the idea “think globally but act locally,” they helped ROOMS gain recognition far beyond the borders of their homeland in the Caucasus.
Their collection Wild Minimalism is at the intersection of archaic and modern, primitive and minimal. Nods to the Soviet era’s architectural forms, traditional folklore, and local ethnic furniture have led them to get back to their roots and express their feeling of being grounded using simple natural materials, which transformed into a series of gently handcrafted, yet primitively shaped wooden pieces out of over 100-year-old timber.
Everything they design has a blend of modern and archaic, with an ever unusual twist. Bravely playing with past and present, Keti and Nata’s throne-like pieces acquire both heavenly and human-made portrayal of inner and outer space, while contrasting brass against dark stained wood.
Rooms' collaborations include local artisans, among which is the Georgian stone company Kamara; as well as being exposed at the collectible design galleries like Mint Gallery (London), Spazio Rossana Orlandi (Milan) and The Future Perfect (New York); but are also not limited to the companies with shared ideology of respecting traditional crafts.
“A rug – in itself is a magical object, but for us, it is also a symbol of cultural heritage and a chance to explore both – history and magic.”
For their 10th Anniversary, celebrated during Milan Design Week 2018, they showcased pieces from the collaboration with cc-tapis, the Italian company producing contemporary hand-knotted rugs created by expert Tibetan artisans in Nepal. It turned into a capsule collection of rugs, entitled The Night of a Hunter, with reinterpreted authentic Georgian motifs, as another ageless craft deeply rooted in Georgian culture.
Nata and Keti do not only bring their souls into every piece they create but leave a nonvanishing impression of multi-faceted depth of both the intricate and refined, in the same humble and clear approach of their studio’s foundation.