When Kay Litzinger travelled through Mexico, Peru, and Bolivia in 2018, he fell in love with the craft and artisanal traditions of the indigenous cultures there, particularly the work with textiles. The following year, he moved to Mexico City, Mexico, and his interest only deepened. Alongside exploring all the city had to offer, from food to architecture, Kay also explored traditional crafts and became familiar with the way local plants were used to make dyes.
When he met Esteban, a Colombian living in Mexico City, they spoke about their shared love of the crafts and discussed working together in some capacity. “It wasn’t anything concrete at first,” Kay explains, “but we both had this draw towards the artisanal work, so there was this kind of seed that was planted.”
During his time in Mexico, Kay designed a series of cushion covers. He had them made by an women-led local artisan group in Oaxaca and brought them back to Copenhagen when he moved back in 2020.
“I actually just designed them for my own home,” he explains, “which is why I chose the colors I did. I knew they would fit with my style. I also knew I wanted things in our apartment in Copenhagen to remind me of my time in Mexico. I’m a person who likes sentimental objects; I want the items I surround myself with to mean something, and I always bring something home from my travels. So the cushion covers felt very personal to me.”
Quickly, however, friends began asking for their own cushion covers. “People were coming over and were just instantly drawn to the cushions. I think it’s a mix of the colors and the texture. That’s when Esteban and I began discussing our plans again. Because he’s on the ground in Mexico, it felt like the right time to start producing the cushion covers to be sold,” says Kay.
Upon returning to Copenhagen, Kay began working for sustainable fashion brand Son of a Tailor.
“Working at Son of a Tailor has taught me so much about production and, specifically, how to produce less waste. That’s why I knew that whenever we decided to start Añil Studio between Mexico and Denmark, we had to do a pre-order system. It also meant that we knew we could pay the artisan up-front, which is essential.”
Añil número uno is inspired by Mexico’s Pacific coastline. It is hand-dyed with añil plant, resulting in the deep ultramarine. The plant is still harvested and utilized with traditional methods by a small number of artisans in Oaxaca, including the group that Añil Studio work with.
Añil número dos is inspired by the sandy beaches of Mexico’s Caribbean coast. The cushion cover is made from undyed wool.
Añil número tres is inspired by Mercado Jamaica, the massive flower market of Mexico City. The color is achieved through dyeing yarn with Cempasúchil flower.
The cushion covers are 50 x 50 cm and are made from locally-grown wool and cotton. They feature a flap opening in the back.
“We decided on the flap so that we didn’t have to include a button or zipper, but so that the cover is still removable,” Kay explains, “Ultimately, adding anything extra creates waste, so we’re trying to keep the design as waste-free as possible.”
Cushions add beautiful texture and color to the home. With the ethical and sustainable model of Añil Studio, as well as the story behind the designs, you’re not just adding something soft to your space, you’re adding art.
Pre-order your Añil Studio cushion cover between now and 31st July 2021. Orders will be shipped in September 2021. Stay up-to-date with your next chance to pre-order by following Añil Studio on Instagram.
Disclosure: Kay Litzinger is a Scandinavia Standard contributor.