Doing Design: Coming home

After living in Milan and London, industrial designer Rona Meyuchas is back in Israel doing what she does best.

Rona Meyuchas 311 (photo credit: Toby Summerfield)
Rona Meyuchas 311
(photo credit: Toby Summerfield)
Einat Kayless Argaman founded DesignBreak in 2009 and since then has gained a large community of daily readers celebrating the design scene in Israel and beyond.
If the name “Kukka” doesn’t ring any bells it’s only because you haven’t been to England lately. Designer Rona Meyuchas, the energizer and very capable lady behind this modern industrial design company, is running an ever growing house of treasures. Going strong after living in Milan and London for over a decade, she returned to Israel but doesn’t show any signs of slowing down. From light fixtures to lamps, from office accessories to home accessories, the “Kukka” range is bigger and wider than ever.
Rona Meyuchas designRona Meyuchas design
Can you tell me a little bit about your background?
I have a master’s degree in industrial design from Scuola Politecnica di Design (SPD) in Milan. I gained my professional background in different design consultancies in Milan and London until setting up my own business in east London. Over a year ago I founded Kukka which is a British brand name for products I design.
When did you first decide that you wanted to become a designer?
I can't remember as a child what I wanted to be when I grow up. What I can remember is my strong passion to do things I like.
Where do you live? What stands out about living where you are, and how does it affect your work?
I lived in Milan and London for 12 years. Three years ago, I moved to Tel Aviv with my partner and my five-year-old son.
Living in Israel is different in all aspects in comparison to living in London or Milan. We try to keep the same lifestyle, in a way that my house, my studio, my kids’ school and nursery are in the same neighborhood of old Ramat Aviv, I cycle and walk a lot and hardly use my car. My studio used to be an old grocery shop and it’s just opposite of Golda Meir’s house. I travel a lot to Europe for business, to meet new people, taste new things, absorb different noises, smells and language, all of which stimulate me. My routine depends on how I paint it, all the rest is just decoration.
Rona Meyuchas designRona Meyuchas design
Do you remember your very first commission?
Yes. Not too positively though, I was young and inexperienced.
I know it’s probably hard to pick, but do you have a favorite piece? I don't have a favorite piece, I have a favorite process.
What are some of your methods of staying motivated, focused, and expressive?
Long talks with my partner, playing with my kids. I also write a lot. For me, motivation comes from being happy in life.
What are your sources of inspiration?
Music, sports, my family, traveling, tradition, discovering new things.
Could you share with us your progression as an artist, compared to when you first started out, how have you changed since then?
Now that's a question that requires a long answer.
I began my journey as an industrial designer, later I did my master’s degree at SPD Milan and then focused on baby products. During that time my professor encouraged me to take the product I developed right to the store shelves. I found a company to sponsor it and after five years the product received a granted patent.
I designed so many products from different disciplines; baby products, amusement park cars, kettles, air conditioners, lamps, furniture, among other things. Later I moved to Italy to work as an in-house designer for a newly established company that designs and manufactures lamps. During that time I realized I was interested in the larger scale of things rather than just designing. I wanted to be able to take full responsibility for my creations, be involved in production, budget restrictions, technologies and materials as well as liaising with clients and manufacturers, regulations, logistics, marketing and sales and eventually, product cost, who buys it, and why. I believe this process gives you a wider point of view and better puts things in perspective.
Today, after establishing “Kukka”, I basically design, make and sell products and enjoy all aspects of business as opposed to years ago when I was solely involved in the design.
Rona Meyuchas lampRona Meyuchas lamp
What advice do you have for young designers who want to follow your path?
Don't follow anybody's path. Trust your intuition and head confidently towards your goal.
What was one of your biggest lessons learned since starting out?
Everything you do is all part of a long learning curve.
Where do you see yourself within the next few years?
I can see Kukka growing and starting to influence with its design language.
Do you listen to music whilst you work? What’s playing in your studio right now?
Absolutely! Music is an essential part of my life and in the studio. We have a great music library with all sorts of music, from Romanian folk, classic, electronic, alternative, rhythm and blues, Italian 70's and jazz, heavy Metal and rock.At the moment I listen a lot to Fleet Foxes and Tom Waits but the list goes on and on.
If you weren't a designer, what would you be?
That’s an easy one, a writer.
What are you working on at the moment?
I am currently working on a project for Audi and working on a new range of products for Kukka.
Finally, tell us something no one knows about you.
I can't make a decent cup of coffee, which frustrates me a lot! When I wake up and throughout the day, when I need my dose of caffeine, I simply rely on other people to make it for me.
I'm lucky that Avner, my partner, makes great coffee.
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