What is this?
We are a design studio. We also publish a magazine.
What does DK do?
We create experiences. Real life. Online. For people to discover, and co-discover. In other words, for very small and highly curated, self-selecting groups to learn something. Together. In a relaxed environment designed and hosted by DK Director Dipika Kohli.
‘What are you talking about, Dipika? Sometimes you use really big words and it’s hard to follow and, generally, can I say it? Well, I don’t understand you.’
‘I know. Most people say that. I know, I’ve heard it often. But for me, I don’t have a thing to explain to you. I don’t want you to understand in your mind. I want to connect with you on a different level. Deeply, not superficially. This is how it works if you want to feel your feelings, isn’t it. Let me come to the point, now. In other words, it’s not about language.
‘It’s about… feeling your feelings. This. This is so… undervalued. And yet, so very important.’ .
The idea is for those who do not already know one another to meet, connect, and interconnect. It’s inspired by DK’s past experiences in: reporting and learning from this how to host a conversation so that people can relax and share (better) stories; brand identity design and gathering information from clients about what really matters to them and why they do their work; architecture and something called ‘the Charrette’; a hundred or so small parties and conversation salons that DK has hosted to explore various techniques to invite and encourage sharing. Honestly, and not in a weird way. No agenda. No endorsements. No BS. Just: S P A C E.
Why do you do it?
Because designing for the aesthetic moment to *happen* is a whole hell of a lot of fun to see actually work.
Is this religious?
No. Never. Not at all. In fact, the intention is to break down all kind of walls that divide us. That’s why when people ask, ‘Where are you from?’, DK usually goes, ‘I’m nationality neutral.’
Where are you based?
Design Kompany is a studio that moves around and pops up here and there around the world whenever we feel like making something. I know that sounds vague. But that is exactly what it is. Since 1994, kind of, it’s been doing this. Bases included West Cork Ireland, then Seattle for six years in the early 2000s, then Raleigh-Durham NC, occasionally Tokyo and outskirts, and now, Phnom Penh since 2014. More recently we’re in Saigon.
Do you have examples of your past design work ?
Yes. But the stuff is so old it’s embarrassing to put here. But here are a few examples: NUK, NW Asian Weekly, Matchbox Mobile. There are dozens and dozens, but our favorite sectors are: architects, software developers, and other process-oriented people. We have a pre-requisite: you have to have been in business for at least five years.
Who is it for?
People who want to think about new things, in new ways. DK’s expertise is in discovery and concepting. Sometimes this is called ‘innovation consulting,’ but for us, it’s always been the same as it was from the very beginning. Just making space for play.
What is your intention?
Learn new things.
Meet new people.
See the way we can discover our selves in the world right around us.
See others as part of us and not separate.
Break divides. Build bridges. 😉
And to do this again and again, so it’s natural. And easy. And light. And simple.
DK: ‘In my artist statement from 2008 in Seattle, I said, I want people to relax. To feel air, space, and comfort.
How many countries have you been to?
‘But it’s not like I’m really trying to hit everything. I just go where I feel some kind of draw towards. It usually starts with meeting someone from there and getting curious. That’s how I got to places like Rajasthan, Yorkshire… You can ask me about it in person, that’s more fun.’
How is this funded?
Who is your audience?
People who want to try new things. Are very curious. And have some ability to discern what’s ‘good’ from the slough.
What do you get out of this?
The feeling that comes with watching people dissolve their inhibitions and break out of bounds.
Who are you?
DK is Design Kompany is Dipika Kohli.
DK are also collaborating with great people, from time to time; team members are listed at our crowdfunding page for S P A C E.’
A. Spaice is our research and development director. Jas Plac handles outreach and communications.
Akira Morita is a cofounder and memoir of our advisory board.
What is S P A C E?
It is a weekly mini-magazine.
A digital publication.
But sometimes we makeone-of-a-kind once-off limited-editions, in real life, too.
This is a loose project which invites and includes and celebrates the differentnesses of all of us. Together, in S P A C E. It’s changing all the time. You can find out more at our crowdfunding page.
I’m confused. Can you explain this a different way ? What do I get out of this?
DK: ‘Okay, I can talk about it. I studied civil engineering and then worked for two architects, one in Tokyo, and one in Raleigh-Durham, before moving into journalism and telling stories. The concept ti s very important in all of these various things I’ve done. You can’t just wing it. you have to find an intriguing angle to make a thing that has, what shall we call it?… Gravitas. So, I got super interested in going out there and seeing what’s around and finding out by going places to see what I could see. This is why DK’s philosophy is to go and test and try and then make a thing, from the learning you collect as a result. So for work, we just help other people see how this is actually done. We make spaces for that. For discovery and co-discovery. I know, that’s weird, but that’s what this is.’
DK and S P A C E are about that. Making that *happpen*.
‘So if you’re stuck, if you’re in a box, if you can’t see the freshness of ‘over there’ or the reason why that even might be interesting, well… I’m not sure I can help you. But if you have the inkling that if there was another way and you could see it then you might go and take a look, then yes. I can. I can point you towards that direction, or set of directions. Nonlinear and anything-is-possible… that’s how we roll, around here. Emergent, too. Systems thinking (well, for me it was the second law of thermodynamics) has informed this project quite deeply. Along with: quantum physics and the gleanings from the study over very small things, as well as, yes, jazz jam sessions. All kinds of overlays you could make there, if you were interested. I don’t spell things out too clearly because I’m always open to the interpretations that arise when others view a thing. And decide for themselves what it means to them.’
What is Papers?
‘Yeahhh. I have a new project in 2020 called ‘Papers’. Let me talk about it a little and you’ll see kind of how I think. ‘Papers’ is happening in collaboration with Kismuth Books, which is another project of mine. Like Design Kompany, Kismuth has found its own way in the world and discovered itself through that meander.’
Both projects aim to create spaces for people to relax and discover. Whether it’s through reading or co-creating works of design or poetry or what have you, the motion towards being in a quiet and comfortable space that’s not too overwhelming or noise or overpopulated is the intention for us, here. Then, you just show up. Then, everything starts. It goes where it wants to. Nonlinear, no agenda. The rules of Open Space include: the people who come are the right people, it starts when it starts, it’s over when it’s over, and the things that happen therein are the only things that could’ve.
What is 16N?
Can I hire you for a commission?
Maybe. Ask. Here’s a form.