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Living ecologically and aesthetically with Studio Oink

Today we are visiting the home of Lea Korzeczek and Matthias Hiller, the designers behind Studio Oink.  The studio is specialized in object and product design, creating customized concepts for high-quality interior design for residential and commercial projects. On their website, they describe their work with the following quote – “The philosophy of STUDIO OINK is the balance between poetry and function, of simplicity and playfulness.” After visiting their home in Leipzig, I can definitely say, the sense of poetry, simplicity and playfulness is also reflected in their own home in Leipzig, Germany.

My focus as an interior stylist is to research different ways to live in a sustainable and aesthetic matter, to answer the question how can we create beauty and comfort in a sustainable way. This Home Story showed me on one hand the example of interior designers from Studio Oink for a way of living ecologically using interior design and decor. On the other side, this Home Story was also possible through the collaboration with Alva – a Swedish company whose heartfelt goal is to design beautiful ecological fair trade home fabrics. Alva and Studio Oink gave me a beautiful opportunity to style bed linen from Alva and to give my take on creating comfort at home with ecological materials.

So let’s step in and see some beautiful elements and corners of this natural beautiful home in Leipzig, Germany. 

Beautifully aged elements such as small antique fireplaces and ovens that are typical to the old historical buildings in three of the rooms – living room, dining room and the nursery are combined with modern Nordic design elements and recycled furniture that Matthias have built himself give a warm atmosphere to this home. I asked Lea to tell us more about these details:

Valerie (Designsetter): Lea, please tell more about the recycled furniture such as the bench in the entry that was built form the wooden fence of your vacation home and the vitrine closet (showcase) in the living room.

studio oink home tour

Lea (Studio Oink):  Matthias built the bench in the hall from the old facade wood of our garden shed. We had used an old, large window there and wood was left on the facade. From this we built two of these benches (the color of the wood of the old facade was so beautiful that we left everything as it is)

We have owned the showcase in the living room for many years. We got old windows from a ceramic courtyard where we both worked for some time. Matthias took these windows as the basis and built the bodies around them. Finally, we painted everything uniformly with natural paint.

studio oink home story

Valerie (Designsetter): Please tell us more about your way of living ecologically using interior design and decor. What ideas do you have for those who are not able to build furniture by themselves and recycle materials but desire to live and decorate ecologically their home?

Lea (Studio Oink): We choose our building materials, furniture, textiles, everyday objects and our food very carefully. It is important to us not to have synthetic materials in our living environment. From a professional point of view, we deal a lot with old and alternative construction methods and, unfortunately, partially forgotten building materials. There is an incredible amount that we can learn from the architecture of our ancestors. Construction has never been as bad and cheap as it has been since the 1950s. Rethinking is slowly beginning, but the willingness to do so and the lobby are unfortunately not very big – we experience this very often in our everyday work. We are not “eco” and we do not want to set dogmatic rules – but we think a lot about our future and the future of our children. Everything starts with the food, what do I take in? We try to take care of ourselves with our two gardens (a leased garden in the city and a garden at our country house) as far as possible. In addition, we cook fresh every day and prepare everything ourselves. We dislike large supermarket chains. There is too much of everything here – an incredible amount of products that are disposed of at the end of the day. We either go to regional farmers or to organic shops. Not only the quality and the quantity are right here – but also the atmosphere and the “human”. We support regional dealers and, for example, do without fruit or other things that have traveled far. It is important to us to eat seasonally and also to eat what is regional here. That is the most natural source of our livelihood.

In addition to what we take in, there is also what we surround ourselves with. You can’t avoid a lot of things these days, but you can try to reduce them a lot. Cheap products from China do not come to us – even if they are sold by well-known manufacturers ( we hate MADE IN CHINA ). Basically, we usually buy everything used. Household items, furniture and clothing. Or we build it ourselves or support other designers and artists.

When it comes to clothing, too, it is important to us, especially for our son, what it consists of. Wool and silk are natural materials that protect children and ensure a good body climate. Putting children in polyester clothing should be forbidden! The same applies to mattresses and bed textiles. It is important to us what we sleep on and what we cover ourselves with. Precisely because we get very close to these textiles during sleep and are in direct contact with the materials through possible perspiration. That is why mattresses made from natural fibers are just as important to us as bed linen made from natural fibers.

The same applies to the upholstery of furniture and the materials used for the furniture.

The topic of building, living and living in a natural and “human” way is such a wide and complex field. It is more about living “human” and “ecological” than a green painted wall and wooden furniture or a “vertical garden”. Many architects make it easy for themselves, simply for their own profit, and in the end the users are the victims. In particular, this annoys us in public facilities, such as kindergartens, hospitals etc. The architects’ concepts are often poorly thought out and “flat” – they mostly do not reflect a “human” basic need in any way, but are sold through banal slogans. There is still a lot to do here. Natural paints and natural plasters, as well as natural building materials such as wood and clay are simply not used enough and are always pushed in an “eco” direction. In addition, there are unfortunately many furniture manufacturers who offer furniture at low prices and thus suggest that the property has no value. Even if wood is processed, it is usually “treated to death” in such a way that in the end you no longer recognize it as wood, but rather it looks like a plastic surface. But everything has to be easy to care for. We know our customers’ wishes too well. Nothing may age, nothing may change naturally and through use. Why not? Why this perfectionism?

studio oink home tour studio oink home storyDo we not usually feel particularly comfortable where it is not perfect? For example, in the vastness of Tuscany, with all its old houses from which the plaster is peeling off (or which have no plaster at all, but old beautiful stones), which shine in the evening sun in the most beautiful colors … or in Scandinavia with its from the sea drawn wooden houses, the old furniture that has wandered through many hands within the family and all of the nature around us in the form of forest and infinite natural gardens.

There is no one-size-fits-all recipe for “natural living” – even if many specialist magazines and colleagues suggest this. Rather, the desire to do so has something to do with our inner attitude and conviction. I have to want this too. Natural living does not only depend on where I buy my furniture and whether it is made of wood – this also includes the whole way I live, eat and how I behave towards my environment. Do I have a keen eye for the beautiful things that surround me and that nature has in store for me? Do I see all the red apples on the side of the path that I can collect and the beautiful flowering branches in spring? Do I have to go in search of special stones by the sea and do I feel obliged to nature? It all matters. Everyone can “restore” old furniture – a lot only needs a new coat of paint. If you rely on natural colors, a lot has been done. Inspirations and ideas to make your own home “human” can be found everywhere in nature. We just have to notice them.

Valerie (Designsetter): Tell us more about the design of your bedroom. What role do ecological fabrics such as beddings play in your life? Please tell us about your experience with bed linen from Alva. How are your ecological living goals aligned with the philosophy of Alva. Please tell us about the small bed of your son in your bedroom and the going to bed rituals you have with your son. Also here, what role ecological fabrics play in this ritual with a referral to Alva bedding.

Lea (Studio Oink): In addition to all these “external” factors, rituals and our own family play a major role. In the evening, for example, we take turns taking our son to bed and accompanying him to sleep. He also enjoys this and needs this calm and letting go of the hectic everyday life. We have tied a wreath of thin branches – depending on the season, we decorate it with flowers or dried flowers. Three candles are attached to this wreath – one for each of us. We take beeswax candles. We only swap the beeswax candles for red candles at Christmas time. We light the candles every night and sing a song. Then reads aloud and I say a prayer for our son. Prayer is a prayer from my childhood that my mother has said with me and my sister every evening. Joseph also knows it by heart.

When our second son is born in October, we will attach a fourth candle to our wreath and light it.

After reading and praying, we still stay together in the “big” bed for a little while and briefly talk about the day. Then our son usually wants to go to his “cuddly bed” on his own. Sometimes he falls asleep in our bed, then I put him to bed in peace. We bought the cot for him at birth. At that time it was still a bit big, but we reduced it to a nest with spelled cushions and fabrics. In the meantime, it is almost too small and it will soon be passed on to the little brother. I bought the bed second-hand in France. A soft bed surround and a canopy make it a cozy cave for him. We have chosen an eco mattress made of coconut and virgin wool as the mattress and the bed linen is always made of linen or fairly processed cotton – without any additives or bleach. With all these small, perhaps seemingly unimportant things, we finally lay the foundations for the (later) health and well-being of our children.

We often find it a shame that many parents and also non-parents do not worry about this. Of course, it is a bit more difficult and time-consuming to deal with all of these things – but in the end, we will be rewarded. For many years we have seen that the way of our evolution so far does not work that way and that in the end, we will destroy ourselves with this way of life. That is a sad resume. For this reason, we try to talk to our customers a lot and to sensitize them to the beauty and naturalness of our world. We hope that we can still reach many people here.

And here is my creative endeavor that Lea and Mathias allowed me to create in their home: a comfortable reading corner in the living room with Alva Vidd bedding Set in misty green

Alva ecological bed linenalva ecological bed linen