Prior to the founding of Kassa Studio, Korine Krüger gained valuable experience working with South African architects Jo Noero and Heinrich Wolff during her five-year tenure in Cape Town. After completing her studies in interior architecture, Sanet Stegmann worked for Interior and furniture design studio, Tonic Design, under the guidance of Greg Gamble and Philippe van der Merwe.
In 2015 she moved to Paris, France where she obtained her Master of Arts degree. During this time, she also gained experience working at the TextielLab in the Netherlands to learn more about the art of creative textile manufacturing. Before the founding of Kassa Studio, these extremely talented sisters were co-founders of Studium Design Office together with design friend Georgina Cox.
did you always want to be doing what you’re doing now?
Since we were young we have always been interested in expressing ourselves in creative ways. We spent hours together drawing and playing with Lego. We always hoped that we would one day be able to use our creativity as a profession but did not know that it would be in designing buildings and objects (together).
anything else you wanted to be when you were growing up?
Korine: I would have loved to be a graphic designer.
Sanet: I always wondered what you have to study to be able to name paint colours! So in a way you can say I [have ended up] doing what I hoped (in some capacity).
do you have particular favourites among the works you’ve created?
We are passionate about collaborations with other like-minded creatives with a similar approach and appreciation for design. For this reason, one of our favourite works up to now must be our Halau series, which was designed for a group show at Salone del Mobile in Milan this year. The design gave us the opportunity to work with local weavers (Karoo Looms in Prince Albert) who hand-dyed and wove a part of the design. When you collaborate with others it is interesting to see how the creative process is informed by everyone involved. We value the input of the people we work with, be they suppliers, craftsmen or collaborators. The team that make our ideas possible gives our work a ‘special’ status that we choose to celebrate and acknowledge.
what has been your defining career moment to date?
Having the courage to register our own business has been the most defining moment for us as individuals and as a duo. It took 20 years of combined experience working for design mentors to be able to reach this point.
who are the creatives on your radar at the moment?
Korine: Doherty Design Studio and Austin Maynard Architects.
Sanet: Formafantasma, Kwena Baloyi, Faye Toogood, Florence Lopez and Studiopepe.
and any artists you look up to?
Sanet: Nathalie du Pasquier, Gio Ponti, Ettore Sottsass, David Hockney, Zander Blom… etc.
Korine: Lebbeus Woods and Jo Noero.
where do you find your inspiration?
Korine: I draw a lot of inspiration from the design sessions that Sanet and I have where we challenge each other’s ideas until we find a workable solution. Establishing order in a design is one of the most valuable lessons that I have learnt as an architect.
Sanet: I am inspired by unlikely situations and unexpected combinations of elements leading to an interesting contradiction or composition awakening my imagination. For this reason I like to visit new places, explore on foot, taste new things and learn about other cultures and their ways.
what is your earliest visual memory?
Sanet: Our mother’s embroidery sewing box filled with colourful spindles of yarn.
Korine: I remember looking at the colours and patterns of outfits that ladies wore and creating new ensembles in my mind.
which single place would you recommend that people visit, and why?
Sanet: Giverny, France, to visit the atelier and garden of [French artist Claude] Monet. Seeing the surroundings, the light, reflections and colours that inspired Les Nympheas, his legendary waterlily series of paintings, is a humbling experience.
Korine: the Eastern Cape – it has a raw beauty that wins you over.
what’s the most memorable piece of design you’ve ever seen?
Sanet: La Sagrada Familia in Barcelona, Spain. Seeing the intricate built form and imagining how it was drafted to be constructed is baffling. The experience of seeing the decorative, intricate facade and then walking in to see the immense space allowing colourful kaleidoscope light in was truly memorable.
Korine: My first project as a young architect was for a neurophysicist in Cape Town who owned a tiny Tamboerskloof row house filled to the brim with South African art including John Muafangejo and Helen Sebidi. He owned so many pieces that there was even art stacked under his bed!
what is the next project that you are working on?
At the moment we are working on the refurbishment of the Whippet coffee shop in Linden, Johannesburg, as well as an addition and alteration for a Dutch family in Parktown North. We always have collaborations on the go and you can see them take shape on our website.
Learn all about the game changers who are taking things to the Next Level in our #HLNEXTLEVEL2018 issue.