Anatomy Of A Design: How MINDTHEGAP Cooked Up Their New Kitchen Linen Collection

Stefan Ormenisan, founder and creative director of MINDTHEGAP, joins us to discuss the design process in creating the brand’s new kitchen linen collection.

Raymond Paul Schneider: When did MINDTHEGAP first start to develop this new collection?
Stefan Ormenisan: This new collection is actually our first kitchen range ever. We were preparing to launch it earlier this year, connected to our 5th anniversary ‘Transylvanian Roots’ collection, but we had to postpone and change our plans with the ongoing pandemic. Since it is our first kitchen linen collection, we worked on it for almost one year, from the story and selecting the range of categories until we designed and produced the finished product and packaging.

Raymond: What was your initial inspiration, and where did the idea(s) originate?
Stefan: We intended to reproduce the same quality of our ancestors’ kitchen fabrics but with modern patterns and a contemporary vibe. When I was a child, I used to go to the countryside where part of my family was enjoying good quality comfort food alongside all those hemp and linen napkins and hand towels handwoven by the local elders. Those moments stay alive no matter what, and somehow your mind takes you back in time, influencing your desires. My goal was to reproduce that feeling of authentic home accessories but made with actual designs, of course, inspired by our Transylvanian spirit.

Raymond: Please describe your overall creative and design process.
Stefan: I usually start by imagining how everything should look from a conceptual perspective: the room set and the lifestyle that I am creating, the whole mood I would like to imagine living in. For “Transylvanian Roots,” I imagined myself living for the summer weekends in the countryside, surrounded by authentic furnishings and pieces that recreate the traditional cottages of Transylvania. Then I continue with the mood board and start putting together patterns and motifs created by our design team. We use primarily traditional techniques, building each pattern from scratch almost like a recipe. This creates strength and character in the designs and makes most of our patterns easily recognizable through authenticity and originality.

Raymond: Did you have a specific audience or theme that you had in mind?
Stefan: Our collections are made for those who appreciate authentic and original good-quality products. As you may know, 95% of our products are made in Europe using natural raw materials and traditional methods and these principles were applied for this new range too. At a particular moment, everyone aims for living surrounded by the best accessories and home goods made with love for comfort and eco-conscious of the environment.

Raymond: Please describe the methods, tools, and materials you used to develop and prototype this design?
Stefan: Initially, we have tried to source some of the vintage kitchen linens made in Transylvania to better understand the feeling and softness of each piece. We decided to go for a full-line collection, and we had to identify the right supplier that could do both printed and woven fabrics and the embellishments we were planning to have for this range. We found that most of the linens were beautifully embroidered and finished with handmade trimmings. So this is how we have created our collection mood board, inspired by the authentic kitchen fabrics of our ancestors. Our products are really well made, from the highest quality Belgian linen that has been stonewashed for more softness and then with different trimmings or embroideries inspired by our Transylvanian Roots collection.

Raymond: Please describe any challenges that affected the design and perhaps steered you to an entirely new final design?
Stefan: Most of the issues came from prototyping and producing the first samples, achieving the quality we were looking for. You may notice in our lifestyle images a range of ceramic pieces, plates, bowls, cups, saucers. Those are ours too, but we have not yet produced them with the same quality we love. But we are determined, and they will eventually make it to the market, but it’s taking longer to solidify that category. Also, it was a bit hard to decide to limit the range since it is the first one.

Raymond: Describe the overall brand DNA and Ethos of MINDTHEGAP.
Stefan: Surrounded by a cultural melting pot of crafts and traditions, our artistic identity is rooted in the beautiful homeland of Transylvania. Evocative and individual, our eclectic home decor collections inspire our region’s diverse ethnic heritage, rich cultural history, and authentic wanderer’s spirit.

Click here to see more of our “Anatomy of a Design” series.

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