byAMT is a New York-based design studio founded and creative directed by Alissia Melka-Teichroew. She creates, jewelry, home goods, and furniture that tweak expectations and invite delight. Alissia Melka-Teichroew is a a New World-Old World mash-up. The daughter of a French mother and American father, she was born and raised in The Netherlands.
“I try to find the fine line between aesthetics and functional.” -Alissia Melka-Teichroew, designer and founder of byAMT.
What are some recent, upcoming or current projects you are working on? Although designed in 2011, the current Strap Collection has only been in production for a year. In the last months, we have slowly continued to build on the existing Strap Collection. This summer we are inspired by the nature and travel. We wanted to create objects that evoke a bit of nostalgia and can bring in nature inside our homes (Planters), but also new a new XL Tote bag to carry all for a long weekend trip, or beach trip. A new selection of nylon liners (for both the XL and regular Tote Bag) emphasizes the ease of switching the liners, and more of a casual look and feel with a wax cord to cinch the top.
Apart from the producing my own line of jewelry, fashion accessories & home goods, I work with other brands to get designs produced under their brands. In the past year, I have been working with Kikkerland Design on the art direction of their catalogues and photography, which is an great and ongoing project to be a part of.
What are you currently watching on Netflix/what’s on your Netflix queue? The Hunt (I was half way the movie when our plane landed so I still need to see the end). Luther (British TV show), Lilyhammer (TV show). After seeing the US version of The Killing on Netflix, I would like to see the original Danish series: Forbrydelsen, which is not available on Netflix alas. I wish I hadn’t seen The Wire yet, so I could watch it all over again as well.
What is one of the bigger challenges you and/or other designers are struggling with these days and how do you see it developing? There are many challenges and they are different for all designers, I think. We all have our talents, our issues, and our favorite parts of being a designer or running a design studio. But one of the things I have noticed lately is the speed at which pieces need to be designed and produced; it is so fast right now. I am not sure yet if it is such a good thing. We’re inundated with designs and I find it hard sometimes to really know what the essence is of all the products in the world. And often I struggle with the question of what good design really is.
What’s your favorite thing about your city? Hmm, I have always had a love/hate relationship with NYC. One of my favorite things is that we have such beautiful views, as well as the fact that you can walk around endlessly and discover new things about the city, other cultures, etc. and more importantly: the food! So much to try and to taste.
If you hadn’t become a designer what do you think you’d be doing? I started by studying Human Geography (or Social Geography as we say in Dutch) for a little while at the University (of Utrecht in The Netherlands, the town I grew up in), which is in short, the top layer of the earth, or why people live where they live. Think of economic, weather, soil and many more reasons. With this degree, you can specialize in a ton of different things and end up in many different positions. Even though I decided that this exact study was not something I wanted to do for the rest of my life, I do always think about other options and things I could do in life. Being a designer is also pretty versatile; it is not only about designing objects or graphics. It is also about coming up with creative solutions for things. In a way, it is about thinking about the things around us and how to look at it from a different perspective and sometimes creating something new. But honestly, I am not sure of one thing I would be if not a designer. I would like to be many things in a perfect world!
What was the last exhibition you saw that stuck out to you? I mostly love all the exhibits at the Fondation Cartier in Paris. They usually stick with me. Nevertheless, I have to say the shows in the galleries here in New York can be really impressive with beautiful work as well. But sadly I mostly do not remember the names of the artists.
What is your ideal studio situation/workspace? I would love a “white box” work space and work shop with ample rooms to put up inspiration imagery & colour & materials, and a materials library and shelves for all models and mock ups (And I am pretty close to having this, so I am not complaining).
What materials do you use in your work and what is your process like? For me, material is not really a starting point for a design. I need to have a story or concept in my head, which informs the decisions I make and the next steps within a design. The material choice is then the outcome of this design.
What are you listening to right now? I am all over the place with music. Currently, I am really into: Ornette, Klangkarrussell, Oh Land, Theophilus London and Parov Stellar. However, this can change any minute.
Can you share one of the best or worst reactions you have gotten as a result of your work? I am not sure “worst reactions” exist, really. When you design objects it is inherent, you will get comments, you hope they are positive, informative etc. But isn’t it more interesting when a design can actually evoke all kinds of responses? Isn’t that what you design for, so people can have conversations and opinions about it? Those discussions help me design new pieces.
Any current or upcoming shows we should know about?
1. Currently a selection of Jointed Jewels are on show at the J. Cotter Galleries in Vail and Beaver Creek, Colorado as part of the: DIAMONDS AND DIGITAL: ART JEWELRY IN THE TECHNOLOGY AGE. It will be on show until September 2014.
2. The Strap Collection will be on show at New York trade show, NYNOW (formerly known as NY International Gift Fair). The collection will be on view together with fourteen other design studios with design collective JOIN (booth #3871) from Aug 17-20, 2014.
3. The Quilt Collection will be on show at “West It Loud” from September 4- October 16, 2014. Curated by Platforma (a curatorial initiative founded by Bella Neyman and Ruta Reifen). At the new R/R Gallery in New York City.