kreisdesign makes plywood home accessories

Kreisdesign makes plywood home accessories

Homegirl London pays homage to KreisdesignNikki Kreis is a trained interior architect who was constantly sketching ideas for products in her beloved note book.  She decided to take the plunge and move to London where she now designs and makes contemporary home accessories.  Her work is minimal with a Scandinavian flavour and the use of plywood as her material of choice.  Nikki makes peg boards which can be used as storage solutions and customised to suit the client’s needs with useful add-ons.  She also makes a collection of desk accessories which include a desk tidy, letter stand, pen holder and more.  The kitchenware objects are stunning which include storage jars, serving trays, egg trays and cake stands.  I caught up with Nikki Kreis to find out more about Kreisdesign.

kreisdesign peg board for hallway storage

Peg Board for Hallway

Meet the Kreisdesign Owner

Nikki Kreis is a one woman show, doing absolutely everything from designing, making, dealing with the customers and running the day to day operations of her business.  She tells me about her background – “I trained as an interior architect at the EAAL School of Architecture in Switzerland and have lived in London, Berlin, New York and Sydney.  I have worked in varied architectural practices in these locations.  I’ve also designed and developed furniture and interiors for hotels, fashion showrooms and residential spaces throughout Europe, Asia and the US.  Before moving to London I lived in Sydney for six years, where I set-up an architectural office together with my younger brother.  Our main projects involved renovations and additions to existing terrace houses.”

kreisdesign owner nikki kreis

Nikki Kreis

Nikki explains why she decided to set up her business venture – “Over the years of working in architecture and interior design I accumulated a large ideas book.  These ideas consisted of products and furniture, which I wanted to get out into the world!  So the moment came when I felt it was time to test those ideas and validated them by bringing them to life.  I also decided to move to London to begin this new venture, after all, in my eyes London is the design capital of the world.  I worked in architecture and property development in Sydney and saved enough money to get started in London.  Also, at the time I moved the Australian dollar was very strong, which helped tremendously.  Everything has turned out much better than I could have hoped for.  I’m very excited that I found exactly what I wanted to do in my life!”

kreisdesign desk accessories

Desk Tidy Accessories

Not only is Nikki doing something she loves but she’s also lucky enough to be located in the heart of London.  She reveals – “I am working from my flat near Kings Cross and love that I live so central and in walking distance to everything.  I ended up there by chance, as a very good friend moved back to Berlin just two weeks before I moved to London; I was able to take over his flat.”  However, if Nikki’s business continues being the success that it is, she might have to rent a workshop.  Nikki explains – “At the moment it is just me doing everything, although I sometimes have help from a student when I get large wholesale orders.  She studies at the Central Saint Martin art school, which happen to be very close to my flat.  With more orders coming in I’m looking to get some more help for manufacturing my products.  I’m slowly outgrowing my little workshop in the flat and don’t find the time to do everything myself anymore.”

Kreisdesign Collection

Nikki tells me about her work – “I design and make contemporary home accessories, with a strong focus on one material: plywood, which forms the base of all my designs.  I keep the materials in white coated plywood or natural birch.  My pieces involve a lot of wood and simple forms that have a Scandinavian, minimalistic feel.  I like to make products which are functional, simple and staying true to the nature of the material involved.  I use an innovative approach on forming my products from plywood, which I haven’t seen before.  One example is the carving out of the material to form desk and serving trays.”

kreisdesign serving trays

Serving Trays

Peg-it-all Peg Boards: “The inspiration for my Peg Boards came from everyday life – as so often!  I was looking for a slim and compact storage solution for shoes and came up with a system of holes and pegs.  From this first idea it developed into a plywood board with large holes to fit pegs, shelves and other accessories, thus making it a useful storage element for all kind of areas in your home.  Like the kitchen, home office, hallway etc.  Basically it’s a slim functional wall mounted storage element.  It’s an adaptable product that can be cut to size to fit the customer’s specific needs.  Half of the orders I get are custom size peg boards.”

kreisdesign peg board for kitchen

Peg Board for Kitchen

Plywood Home Accessories: This includes desk accessories – desk tidy, letter stand, letter tray, magazine file holder and pen holder.  Plus kitchen accessories like a fruit tray, storage pot, storage jar, serving trays, egg cups, napkin rings, kitchen towel holder, cake stand and more.  Nikki explains how these collection came about – “The first piece I made was meant to be an add-on shelf for a pegboard.  Then I had the idea to cut a recess into the plywood shelf, so it becomes something else: a desk tidy.  From then onwards I was getting excited about what else I could design with plywood and with the manufacturing possibilities of CNC cutting, which is a cutting process controlled by digital drawings.  It’s a marriage of the nature of the material and of the manufacturing process that is the base of my inspiration and from there I develop my collections.”

kreisdesign desk tidy trays and pen holder

Desk Tidy Tray and Pen Pot Holder

Nikki really does love plywood, she enthuses – “I fell in love with the aesthetics of the plywood: the layers of birch veneer that appear when you cut it and I don’t want to hide them, but celebrate this iconic pattern.  One more quality that draws me to this particular material is its sustainability.  The ply-making process utilises all the wood leaving minimal waste.  I also try to use all the off-cuts of my production process, so for example a circular off-cut from making a storage pot becomes the back plate for a wall hook, etc.  I can see myself exploring this material much further and developed a plywood brand, for which I already have a name: Ply-ware.”

kreisdesign cake stand

Cake Stand

Creative inspiration comes to mind whilst Nikki is observing the world around her – “How people do things, how they handle objects.  I question if objects work or not and how to make them work better.  On the other hand there can be a material that triggers ideas and I start from there.  I always sketch ideas in my notebook and then develop them over time and they evolve and become real.  I love to make prototypes and to go in my woodworking and welding studio to work on new ideas.”

kreisdesign egg stand and utensil holder

Egg Stand and Utensil Holder

Furniture and home accessory makers, Another Country, is an inspiration to Nikki, she tells me – “I love how they stay true to the nature of the material, the honesty in the form.  They achieve the perfect combination of utility and beauty in design.  For me their furniture has a touch-ability, one wants to touch the wood and to experience the material in this way.”  Bethan Gray is another designer admired by Nikki – “When I got to London Bethan was the first female designer that I could identify with and my goal was to become a designer like her.  Her choice of materials, combined with fresh and warm design shows an understanding of the contemporary design world.  I feel she is a designer, who also understands the business world.”

Buy Kreisdesign Products

If you fancy a peg board or one of Nikki’s plywood desk accessories or kitchenware items, you can buy from her website: Kreisdesign.   To give you an idea about prices, peg boards start at £124, the plywood home accessories start at £16.  Nikki offers bespoke plywood peg boards and accessories if you have something specific in mind send her an email.  The products can be shipped overseas.

Author: Homegirl London.  Photographs: By Yeshen Venema Photography.  Thanks: Nikki and Gina Channell.