Lilli and Sascha Grewe are two of the biggest product designers in Germany. Through their two labels, and , they produce and sell home accessories and furniture with clear shapes and a huge amount of personality. The letter stools from artcanbreakyourheart – which are available in a variety of colours and materials – are particularly well known and have received several awards. In our interview, Lilli and Sascha give us an insight into their creative work and a sneak-peek at their magical loft in Bielefeld.
Lilli and Sascha, both of your labels feature very expressive, iconic products. How do kitschcanmakeyourich and artcanbreakyourheart differ?
kitschcanmakeyourich offers home accessories and artcanbreakyourheart offers furniture. However, both labels focus on interior design and decor.
How do you come up with your ideas?
This varies a lot. We let everything inspire us – nature, other designs we like, or even just simple needs that have to be met.
Oak. The texture, the smell, the durability ... we love this wood!
What does a product have to do to make it into one of your ranges?
First and foremost, a product needs to have a practical use.. We also don’t like designs that are too complex. After all, ease of manufacture and costs are often crucial.
Lilli studied German language and sport and became increasingly involved in product design through Sascha’s work. She founded kitschcanmakeyourich in 2014. Together with Sascha, she designs, produces and sells home accessories made from wood. More recently, she has also started offering social media consulting. “I find it really fun!” she says. Sascha followed a more traditional route into his trade. He first completed training as a carpenter before going on to study interior architecture. During his studies, he fell unintentionally into freelance work. Under the label artcanbreakyourheart, the Grewes mainly design and manufacture furniture. “I can’t imagine a better job,” states Sascha.
Do you have a favourite material that you particularly like to work with?
Definitely wood – and not just any wood: it has to be oak. The texture, the smell, the durability ... we love this wood! It’s also very important to us to use home-grown woods. We don’t work with imported or tropical woods for aesthetic reasons.
Where do you actually live?
We live in a historic business park from the 1890s. The old brick building and park are very green. We live in the former coal shed. The studio is downstairs and our living space is upstairs in the loft. Our personal dot on the I is a small stream that flows just in front of our door – we like to enjoy it in our canoes.
How would you describe your interior style?
It’s simple and tidy, a bit Bauhaus, a bit Scandinavian, with a touch of minimalism. Most of all, it features a lot of oak wood furniture and white walls. We’ve made the most of every cm2 with built-in furniture. Otherwise, we like to collect pieces by young designers.
Do you have any secret home-furnishing rules that you follow when buying or building new furniture?
Most importantly, less is more. We prefer to only use one type of wood where possible. This creates a sense of calm and coordination.
"A bit Bauhaus, a bit Scandinavian, with a touch of minimalism. Most of all, it features a lot of oak wood furniture and white walls."
How do you make the most of the room in your loft for a family of four?
Due to the sloping roof, we’ve lost a lot of space in our 100 m2 loft. We regained vital space using built-in cupboards and cupboards that double up as a room divider.
What furniture couldn’t you live without?
The dining table is essential, as that’s where everything happens: eating, playing, meetings, family discussions and projects.
And what item could you do without in your loft?
We can name at least one thing we don’t need right now: our sofa!
What DIY projects have you completed in your home over the last few years?
There have been a few. We’ve sanded the floorboards and painted them light grey (the thing people ask us the most about our home on Instagram), renovated a room for our oldest daughter, mounted a curtain as a room divider for our youngest daughter, and are currently doing some small-scale renovation work in the kitchen. We’re currently installing a new stove – and next we’ll start working on the staircase. We’ve designed and built lot of our furniture ourselves. And we love IKEA hacks.
As product designers and interior architects, what tips do you have for giving an apartment a new look?
Green plants and a new rug can help make a room look warmer and more homely.
So, last question: what new things can we expect from you in the future?
A few new dining tables are being introduced at artcanbreakyourheart, as well as a bed for adults. Meanwhile, kitschcanmakeyourich is releasing a couple of different animal versions of the new sausage-dog children’s bed.