IDS 360° Virtual Series: Studio Flore

IDS 360° is a new virtual series created by IDS in solidarity with the industry and designers we champion. Launched across all our platforms, it highlights handpicked, diverse brands with video Q+As, product launches, studio tours, and more. Not taking our voice and reach for granted, the national IDS platform is accessing individual designers, architects and brands of all sizes to hear their visions, challenges, triumphs and potential for a more thoughtful, more beautiful design practice, post-pandemic.

We are thrilled to continue the IDS 360° series with Portland-based Studio Flore, a multi-disciplinary studio led by Irina Flore.

We recently sat down with Irina to chat about the inspirations behind her designs, her creative process and how it has changed during this turbulent time.

Q: Hi Irina, thank you for (virtually) sitting down with us today. Can you tell us how COVID-19 has affected the way you work and design?

A: The projects I work on are with clients, manufacturers and craftsman that are all in different parts of the world; For the last couple of years I have been having zoom conferences and I work in teams that I never meet with in person. But this is not a problem at all, I believe it’s a great way of working nowadays.

Due to this current extraordinary situation, many projects that I was working on were canceled. Most of the paused projects are already designed and were in the manufacturing process. The interesting part is that this situation is changing and it’s different from one place to another.

Even though the collaborations from Asia were paused in January, I was still working for clients who were in the USA or Europe. Now those projects are ongoing but the ones from the USA are paused. I have clients from Australia at this moment who seem to have things moving forward as usual.

Another interesting aspect during this time is with the clients who reach out to me to design products that are problem-solving for certain situations. Particularly designing products that help people who are working from home, in small spaces, is high on demand.

On the other hand, I am having personal projects and collaborations with craftsmen from Istanbul, Turkey and until recently our work was still ongoing. Now I cannot bring the prototypes into USA, but we can still collaborate through video calls and messages or sending pictures of the products or design sketches to each other.

Q: Have your plans for 2020 changed and what is your mindset during this time?

A: This year I was supposed to participate in many design fairs and travel pretty often, but now everything is canceled. I enjoy traveling to these design fairs and the exhibitions but honestly when everything was canceled I felt relief because of the enormous amount of work I was supposed to do in a very short time.

I believe the design world lives at a very fast pace and this doesn’t allow us to spend enough time on the creative process or reflect on our real needs. That’s why I believe taking a break and reflecting on our actions is always a good thing to do. 

I am happy that now I have enough time to prepare everything for the next year. Also to spend more time in the home studio doing things I normally don’t have time to do such as the “isolation chair” challenge by SightUnseen, “catch a beetle challenge” by Sancal, creating ceramics, sewing, or just reading more, is bringing me a lot of joy.

The day in my home studio starts as usual and I keep myself busy every day with the projects I have or the activities I enjoy. I am really happy the design community is closer now and more focused on the human side. I hope these times will also help us reflect on our actions and will make us do things differently in order to live in a more harmonious way.

About Studio Flore

Irina Flore is the founder of Studio Flore, a young design studio focusing on innovative products, furniture, lighting design, art installations, window display, and much more. Based in Portland, Oregon Studio Flore works for a diverse range of international clients.

Irina Flore is a multidisciplinary designer with a B.A. and M.A. in Design and Fine Arts from Haute École des Arts du Rhin in Strasbourg France. Before studying design she graduated from West University of Timișoara, obtaining a B.A. in Communication back from her home country, Romania.

While still studying, she started working as an independent designer. She was the assistant designer in the Studio Sebastian Herkner in Frankfurt, Germany where she worked for renowned companies such as: Pulpo productsDedonex-tKundalini lightningWallpaper Handmade 2017 ,Nya NordiskaVerreumLobmeyer, or Schönbuch. The designs she worked on were presented at design fairs such as Maison et Objet in Paris; IMM Cologne in Germany or Salone del Mobile in Milano, Italy.

She has experience in designing high-quality products, working with different technologies and technics, while collaborating with workshops, manufacturers and craftsmen.

Fascinated by her surroundings and inspired by nature, she works in a constant research on patterns, textures and shapes, focusing on the importance of designing objects that preserve the human connection with the environment. 

The passion and love that she puts into all her projects comes from the family examples that she had, growing up in a family of craftsman. Her father and grandfather were carpenters and she used to spend all her summers creating wood objects in their workshops to play with, so the hand work, craftsmanship and traditions are a valuable thing for her. 

Her education, diverse work experience but also her life experience as living and traveling in different cultures and countries are important aspects that define her everyday work.

With a deep interest in craftsmanship and technology she tries to understand how can design improve our daily life and still, to be part of this natural system without destroying it.

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