"Real aesthetics and schöngeist comes from the heart"
Ulrike Krages CEO & Founder of UK Urban Comfort © Werner Gritzbach
We met Ulrike Krages, the Hamburg luminary in terms of design, architecture and interior design, in her beautiful villa in Harvestehude and talked to her about design, living trends & Sustainability.
UK2 is the area of the business, where you concentrate on architecture. What challenges do you expect with regard to urbanization?
As living space is increasingly decreasing in metropolis, designers are faced with a real challenge. Right now, there is a trend towards green plants in order to encourage growth within a microcosm. Especially, to plants that can absorb toxins and convert them into good room air.
Cities are also getting greener; Gardens, chicken coops, beehives and even small farms are built on roofs. Take a look at Singapore, for example. It's like the city is built in a jungle. In China and Japan, there are micro apartments that consist of only one bunk. There is no separate kitchenette because the people are used to go out for food and eat on the streets or in a restaurant.
We will also have to learn to deal with electrosmog differently as our cellphone, for example, is always with us. In the future, radiation-decoupled sleeping areas will prevail. Creating good energies has become the focus of our work.
Parkalle © showroom Werner Gritzbach
What do you think are the megatrends of building, living and designing spaces?
A megatrend is anything that gives us peace, comfort and health. Design is no longer paramount. Today, sustainability stands for reuse. You don't have to throw everything away and replace it. Vintage fabrics and old pieces can be reinterpreted and carpets bleached.
There's so much you can make out of old furniture without disposing it. For example, we designed a new furniture collection, where every piece is covered with old fabrics.
You have launched a collection called "Anti-depressive Collection". What made you do it?
The name was chosen because of the cheerful colors I used. I myself had a difficult period in my life. At the same time, I noticed how - literally - "illuminating" cheerful colors, especially pink tones, positively affected me. As a consequence, that's how i decorated my place.
All my guests always ask me how i created such a cheerful and happy atmosphere. Some even believed that there were elves flying through the rooms. Then, I intensively dealt with the colors in our environment. Today, I know that a pot of color can change our lives.
Schowroom Parkalle © Werner Gritzbach
What is special about your interior design and where do you manufacture your products?
The special thing is the convenience. Our customers like to "chill"; For us, this means that they like to sit in an armchair for two or put their feet up. For example, we have a table you can put your feet on it. It is a mixture of an upholstered island and a table.
The products are manufactured in a small factory near Florence. Here, in Hamburg, we develop the concept, design and prototypes. The final piece is built in Italy. Then, an employee brings the products directly from Florence to Hamburg - without a large freight forwarder. Of course, this shortens delivery times greatly.
Which materials do you prefer to work with?
I prefer to work with cotton, viscose, linen. So with natural materials.
How would you describe your personal style?
My personal style is that of a little girl who still believes in fairy tales and Santa Claus. That means: as much imagination as possible.
What is aesthetics to you?
Schöngeist. Aesthetics is always the Schöngeist of the human being, the service of a warm heart. For me, everything that comes from the heart is aesthetics.
What is luxury for you?
Luxury is something you can completely do without. Luxury makes you independent, not happy.
Do you live sustainability?
For me, sustainability is primarily conscious action. No matter what I do, I always imagine that we don't even have electricity. I also try to avoid plastic waste whenever it is possible. I would like to realize my dream of a self-sufficient life in the countryside one day.
Much obliged for the interview, Mrs. Krages!