Studio Visit: Anna Karlin

Name: Anna Karlin

Location: New York City

Bio: Anna is a London-born, New York–based multidisciplinary designer whose work spans lighting, table, interiors, fine jewelry, and beyond. Since launching her eponymous company, in 2006, the darling of the design world has become beloved for creating objects and spaces with an idiosyncratic beauty. Her Chinatown workspace, which doubles as a by-appointment showroom, is a visual representation of her practice, emulating an enjoyable tension between the natural and the manmade.

Latest project: Putting her spin on piece of luggage from Montblanc’s first full travel collection, the #MY4810 series. “Your suitcase is your little world that travels with you,” she says. “I designed this to essentially be my little traveling studio.”

Inspiration: “You open the suitcase up and it’s like a little cabinet of curiosities, with the bits that basically inform my practice,” she says. To some, it might feel impractical, but for Anna it’s entirely functional: “I did an artist residency in Tuscany over the summer and the things that I took with me were these bizarre objects. Someone who opened my suitcase might think, what is she doing? But they matter to me when I travel.”

What’s inside?: “Not finished products—it’s more like the messages that get me to the finished object, which for me is the most important part of the design process. I have shelves and boxes and stacks of these little objects that mean nothing to anyone else, but to me they represent a test of something or could finish a shape or texture. I play on that to create something much bigger later. It works for me, but to others it probably looks like a box of junk.”

The result: A trolley full of surprise and delight that offer a peek inside the unconventional whimsy behind Anna Karlin’s creations.

Surface Studios is the brand marketing unit of Surface Media.

All Stories