Ika Kuenzel was born in Munich in 1978 and currently lives and works in Berlin. She studied at the Design Academy Eindhoven in the Netherlands, completing internships at JongeriousLab in Rotterdam, at EKWC (European Ceramic Workcenter) in s’Hertogenbosch, and at KGID (Konstantin Grcic Industrial Design) in Munich.
Her designs are deliberately tongue-in-cheek, intentionally provocative as well as humorous. Her pieces function as three-dimensional stories, created using found objects which she refashions into subversive symbols that question traditional narratives.
CAUTION, THIS IS RODEO!, her most well-known series, features saddles converted into rocking stools. Removed from their original context, the saddles appear strange and out-of-place. There is no horse, no rider, no farm. Whether in a gallery or the home, the saddles acquire an alien identity, indicated by the absurdity of their placement.
At the same time, these pieces demand to be interacted with. It is impossible to sit on a saddle passively, the seated person must straddle it, using their thighs to balance. Indeed, it is easy to fall off one of these saddles hence the CAUTION in the title. The very act of sitting is imbued with sexual undertones.
Her work has been exhibited in London, Dubai, Eindhoven, and New York to great acclaim and in 2016 her work featured at Design Miami.
Selection of Worksor view all works
- Zona Maco, Carpenters Workshop Gallery, Mexico City, Mexique.
- ’10 Years of Collectible Design’, Carpenters Workshop Gallery, London, UK.
- Design Miami / Miami, Carpenters Workshop Gallery, Miami, USA.
- ‘Progressland’, Chamber, New-York, USA.
- ‘Human / Nature’, Chamber, New-York, USA.
- Masterpiece London, London, UK.
- Design Days Dubai, Carpenters Workshop Gallery, Dubai, UAE.
- Artefiera, Bologna, Italy.
- Studio Lambl/Homburger, Berlin, Germany.
- Galerie IM Regierungsviertel, Berlin, Germany.
- Fashionweek, Berlin, Germany.
- Deichtorhallen, Lead Award, Hamburg, Germany.
- Dinamismi Museali, “Super Dutch”, Catanzaro, Italy.
- Young Blood, Carpenters Workshop Gallery, London, UK.
- Dutch Design Week, Eindhoven, the Netherlands.
- Dutch Design Centre, Utrect, the Netherlands.
- Fashion Factory, Amsterdam, the Netherlands.
- ‘Graduation 2005’, Design Academy Eindhoven, the Netherlands.
- Teaching at Haute École D’art et de Design, Geneve, Switzerland.
- Teaching at the Willem de Kooning art academy, Rotterdam, the Netherlands.
- Pearl Lam Galleries, Shanghai, China.
- Hosting the Summer workshop ‘ Apocalypse Now’, Domaine de Boisbuchet, France.
- Lecture at TEDxAmsterdam – ‘Science and Fiction’ – “Fragile Future: Design for dreamers”,
- Teaching product design at Academy of Arts, Maastricht, the Netherlands.
- Design Unlimited, rapid prototyping project together with TNO.
- Studio Tord Boontje, Christmas collection design for Target, Bourg Argental.