Designer and art directrice Laura Karasinski is one of the most prominent voices of the young contemporary generation in Vienna . In this interview she talks about her agency and the city.
How did your atelier start? Have you always been focused on design?
I was always surrounded by the arts, growing up with creative parents. During my studies at the University Of Applied Arts in Vienna I designed my first @housemaedchen stickers (that was my first pdeudonym), as I was always fond of street art. I didn’t want to vandalize public spaces, so I went for a more subtle technique, using stickers. Eventually my little project reached unimaginable recognition, as people really liked them and started to ask if I could send them out – even to places like China and Brazil. Back in 2009 I started to put my work on social media, in the very beginning of the social media hype, and people responded to it very positively! Big companies took an interest in my doing and started to work with me. That was the beginning of Atelier Karasinski.
Was it easy to start a business in Vienna?
When I started my company in 2012 I was still studying. Between two classes, I went to WKO (Wirtschaftskammer) and just out of interest asked what I needed to get a VAT number. After waiting fo 30 minutes, the lady I’d talked to came back with two pieces of paper and two VAT numbers, stating the beginning of my first own agency. Therefore I think it was pretty easy for me to start my business at that time in Vienna.
Do you have a big team?
We’re more than 13 people now, all working independently, like Sabine Reiter for example, who is our make-up and hair artist. Besides her, Atelier Karasinski consists of web developers, graphic designers, photographers and architects — like a big bunch of friends working together.
Awesome! What is contemporary Vienna for you?
Contemporary Vienna are all the beautiful people who do innovative stuff and produce nice things, not only to entertain people but also to make the city a better place.
Who are those people, who is forming contemporary Vienna?
I support what my friends from NENI are doing, from speakeasy events to fun daytime parties around the city. Also we’re working on a project together at the moment which I’m not allowed to talk about yet, but it will be a nice addition to our beautiful city. Looking at the art scene, contemporary Vienna is easy to find in galleries like Gallerie OstLicht or Bäckerstraße4. Besides that I am a supporter of the Secession Wien who do interesting exhibitions on contemporary art & design.
You’ve also designed restaurants. Could you name some exciting new places you’ve worked for or where you love to go?
There are some places I love to go to, they are not the newest ones though, like Mochi for example. I love what they do, but who doesn’t? (smiles) And of course I love late dinners at Motto, not only because I worked with them, but because of the whole welcoming attitude of the place and the people.
Motto is a place-to-be in Vienna. Why?
Their whole team is incredibly nice and welcoming. They embrace whoever you are or want to be. One feels very invited and loved there – I think that’s why it runs so well.
What are the places to go in Vienna for design stuff?
Considering interior: Glasfabrik, where I got loads of pretty things with history for my atelier. Another great adress is the Vitra Showroom in Vienna. For clothing I mostly like vintage stores, at Burggasse 24 you will find some old designer pieces if you’re lucky. When it comes to art I like to buy from friends, collegues or at fairs – like viennacontemporary.
What is your favorite museum in Vienna?
The museum of Natural History. It’s incredibly beautiful, even though their dead animals are macabre. I love to wander through their endless collections of sea creatures and tropical birds.
Where do you go for inspiration in Vienna?
A good stroll through this or another city is sometimes the most inspiring thing to do. A nice talk, dinner or drinks with friends also do the job – at If Dogs Run Free or Miranda bar for example.
What are your favorite parks?
The Palm house in Schönbrunn.
Let’s talk about inspiration coming from art. I see some prints around, some art works. Where are they from?
Most of them are gifts or pieces from friends of mine, who I love to support. A few things I made myself, others I collected around the world like vintage statues and prints.
When you consider buying an artwork, what is important for you?
I just buy whatever makes me happy, smile, or touches me in a deeper way… Recently I am into feminist art like paintings from the wonderful Marianne Vlaschits.
Did you ever buy something at viennacontemporary?
I saw something last year, didn’t buy it and regret it now. This year if I see something and it’s in my budget, I will definitely indulge.
Save the Date
21 – 24 September 2017
Marx Halle Vienna