Based in East London, Moko is a Design Studio with a passion for form. Set up by Moko Sellars in 2012, Moko burst onto the design scene with the launch of Ceramiko, a slip-cast ceramic stool produced in Stoke-on-Trent. This was closely followed by a range of bone china rings (to give your fingers a bit of pizzazz). Looking through her portfolio, you can see a strong focus on space and a passion for design. The simplicity of her pieces reminds me that it’s simple, well executed ideas that have the most impact. This is shown by her chopstick drumsticks and prototype book-shaped book light.
Moko’s pieces are always unique, and nourished by a fanatical passion for product design and antiques, she creates ‘simple, contemporary products with a nod towards the familiar’. Made to be cherished, her work puts an individual slant onto traditional homeware and accessories; resulting in neat little ‘inventions’ that you will treasure forever. More than just products, her work represents a study of how people interact with the world around them, and this influences their design. Simple but beautiful, these minimalist products are all handmade, which only adds to their appeal. I spoke to founder Moko Sellars about notebooks, furniture and unexpected paperwork.
You set up Moko in 2012, is there anything you wish you’d known when you started out?
There’s more admin to do than you’d think!
Where do you get your inspiration?
It can come from the past, maybe an object from the past or how they used to do things ‘back in the day’. I love looking around antique markets and I tend to buy vintage clothes and old furniture. Also by watching people! I find that the best ideas come to you when you’re not trying. You see someone doing something and it just clicks and you’re like “bingo”, I’ve got a product!
Have you always had a strong interest in design?
I always liked making things: cards, clothes, bags etc. I remember when I was young, when something broke, I would take it apart and try and work out what happened to it and how to fix it. Sometimes successfully, sometimes I’d break it even more.
How did you develop such as strong knowledge of materials?
I studied Furniture and Product Design then worked as a Packaging/ Product Designer for few years, so I had the chance to work with different materials. My favourite materials to work with are ceramics and paper.
Books appear a lot in your work, are you a big reader?
I do love books, but I think more their form rather than the contents! I love notebooks, I have about twenty on the go at the moment! I actually have a notebook design coming out next month which I designed for a company called Suck UK.
You’re also an illustrator, do you feel your drawing is a vital part of developing your ideas?
My illustrations are just for fun really, I find mocking things up in three dimensions (usually in paper) more important and enjoyable than sketching.
You design both packaging and products; do you feel the two are inextricably linked?
I think so. I’m really passionate about packaging design and how it can make or break a product. I sometimes spend double the amount of money on things just because they have nicer packaging!
Your work is very conceptual, is it important to you that your products are more than just functional objects?
Definitely! Function is very important, but I think concept is as important, if not more.
Do you have any favourites among your pieces?
I love all my designs equally. BUT the new Bone China ‘Diamond’ Ring Collection is the first design that people can wear on them for others to see, which is very exciting.
What’s your own most cherished piece of furniture?
It would have to be my ceramic stool. It took a while to get it made but I’m very happy with the result and I think it’s very cute.
What are your plans for the future?
I would like to design some more jewellery pieces, whether it will be a whole new collection or just a few select pieces; you’ll have to wait and see! I also love food so it would be fun to do some food related projects!
You can see more of Moko‘s work at www.mokosellars.com
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