In 2017, dentist Dorka and business economist Daniel went on a journey. Their mission was to find out who made their interior. On their travels, the couple repeatedly came across artisans and small family businesses who lacked the opportunity to offer their products to an international audience. To close this gap and combine timeless and high-quality interior design in one brand, in 2019, atisan was founded. The Düsseldorf-based brand offers minimalist and natural home accessories made of sustainable materials with the focus on the personal relationship and the creative exchange with the manufacturers in the countries of origin. Atisan works directly with their manufacturers and craftsmen without intermediaries and wholesalers; this eliminates costs that instead make it possible to pay a higher price to the manufacturer and, at the same time, offer the product at a fair price. In times of mass production and rapidly growing trends, the brand gives an alternative and pays attention to the value and origin of handmade products as well as to modern interior design.
Atisan pursues a co-creative approach, in which they develop new ideas and designs together with their partners. The brand collaborates with certified fair-trade initiatives and small family businesses around the world who share atisan’s ideas on sustainable production and fair trade, think about alternatives to conventional materials and are consciously committed to the environment and minorities in their society. In addition to ecological aspects in the manufacture of the products, they attach particular importance to safe working conditions and fair pay for the artisans. The manufacturers come from Indonesia, Vietnam, Nepal and Ethiopia with each partnership focusing on various facets of a social and ecologically sustainable cooperation – from the protection of natural raw materials and the promotion of a sustainable lifestyle to the financial independence of craftspeople and equal opportunities for discriminated and non-educated population groups. It is important to the founders to understand whose hands crafted their products and also to share this knowledge with their customers.
Since atisan’s products are handcrafted in the countries where their raw materials occur naturally, many people, even in remote regions, can generate an income independently. Traditional craftsmanship is endangered in many places, as modern materials such as plastic are increasingly being used. This type of manufacturing takes years of practice, a lot of patience and time. The manual work turns each product into a unique piece with its very own special features. For atisan, the natural irregularities in the texture of each product are a valuable characteristic of these unique handicrafts. With the principle of slow interior, atisan is closely aligned with the values of the global slow movements, because everything that atisan stands for has little to do with speed: From the careful manufacturing process of a handcrafted product, the long tradition behind it, the development of a close and honest relationship with their partners to the conscious consumption of interior and the deceleration at home. The products are made vegan and without animal materials, raw materials grow without fertilizer and are harvested and processed by hand. Then, the materials are woven, braided, knitted, knotted, and made into individual pieces; a sustainable, ecologically sensible type of production that protects living beings as well as the environment while taking moral and ethical aspects into account.
Atisan’s product selection ranges from dishes, baskets, carpets, lamps to home textiles. The natural materials come exclusively from countries where they have a long tradition and where their raw materials originally occur, some of which are by-products and remains of the harvest. Crops and wickerwork such as plant and laundry baskets are made from fast-growing, robust seagrass, carpets are made from water hyacinth, which is considered a weed, and blankets and pillowcases are made from wool-like banana fiber. The designs are rounded off with harvest residues or materials that are considered waste on site, especially when creating the patterns for their fabrics. These include corn husks as well as banana or palm leaves. This not only means an additional income for the farmers, but also offers the possibility of dispensing plastic and chemical paints – a particularly sustainable way to create natural colors and patterns.
The minimalistic designs blend in naturally with any style of living and are characterized by traditional processing techniques, organic shapes, and natural colors.
At Atisan, they believe that the appreciation of things that beautify and simplify life are an important part of consumer behavior. They aim to show consumer-conscious people that sustainability and handmade, modern interior design are not mutually exclusive. Therefore, they want to inspire their customers to create a place with their homes that tells stories and expresses their individuality.
by Marie Klimczak