The Kovac Family Story,
Camilla and Christopher Kovac is the force behind Sweden based multidisciplinary company Kovac Family, along with their daughters Klara and Filippa, that launched 2012, designing and providing products and services as environmentally friendly as possible. We put sustainability at the core of everything we do. The products are made in Sweden using sustainable materials. They are sold exclusively in our own showroom and our webshop to avoid traditional retail markups, we will however arrange shorter pop-up collaborations around the world. On our mission to support sustainable research and looking into the possibilites to develop a bioluminiscent light source we started to collaborate with IPBio in Brazil, funding research with profits from the design products.
Latest addition is Kovac Factory, a service for creative professionals.
Our sustainable approach.
Our choice is to make products with as small impact on the environment as possible, source material sustainably and produce responsibly and ethically. We build a strong personal relationship with suppliers and producers.
About: Camilla Kovac, CEO of Kovac Family drew international recognition for her bubbly textile lamp BPL produced by Italian Rotaliana 2000. Kovac has a MFA from University College of Arts, Crafts and Design 2000 and same year opened her own studio. 2012 she co-founded Kovac Family AB. Camilla Kovac has received several grants from The Swedish Arts Grants Committee, Special Mention Award XXI Compasso d'Oro 2008, UtmärktSvensk Form, "Light Idea of The Year" by the swedish design magazine Sköna Hem, where the comment of the jury were "extraordinary poetic brightness!" and D&AD 2012 among others. "Swedish designer may look like an anarchist, but she thinks like an architect" - Bradley Quinn.
Recent interview by Make it last:
Who are and what you do? You seem to have a very interesting business set up!
– Thank you! We are Christopher and Camilla Kovac, literally the Kovac family, founders and operators designing and developing products like the 25Lamp, and services like a web-based collaboration tool for image professionals (to be launched soon). We are extremely grateful for our daughters Filippa and Klara who also are co-owners and do a lot in our company. Klara Kovac, for instance, does all art direction—from our logotype to packaging and web design.
Where does your interest in sustainability and the sense of environmental responsibility come from, and how does this apply to your business?
– Realizing that designing for other companies was not fulfilling, we just decided that wasn’t something we could keep on doing. Our thoughts went: “if we are going to design a new product, it has to be sustainable when it comes to materials and production. And equally important: it has to have a purpose, not just be a good-looking object”.
How are you trying to make greener choices in your everyday life?
– We are vegans, and this is the number one step to take if you have the ambition to save our climate. As we are whole food vegans, this means no shortcuts. We clean our office with eco-friendly products; we gave away our car and joined a carpool, to mention a few things.
What are your biggest worries when it comes to the environment, and how do you think we can solve them (if at all possible)?
– Worries doesn’t change or solve anything, we try to stay positive and focus on what we can do that have a positive effect—like developing a light source with no need for electricity. In general we believe that every action, from your everyday grocery shopping to how you choose means of transportation, counts, and we can all contribute with our everyday actions. For example: check if your face lotion or cookies contains palm oil. If they do, don’t buy them. We need to preserve the rainforest.
How did you come up with the idea for the Numbers lamp collection, and how would you describe this invention?
– Our idea was to design a product that would fund our research project on sustainable light: “design funding” instead of crowd funding. We had received start-up funds from Vinnova—Sweden’s innovation agency—and came up with this idea to source more funding for the project independently, without external financiers. We wanted to create a product made of very few parts and materials. We literally kept count, hence the name Numbers.
The lamps are sustainably made in Sweden. What can you tell us about the design process and sourcing of materials?
– We are constantly eager to look for more eco-friendly materials. When we design and produce a new product we are always asking suppliers a lot of questions, like: “Do you have an eco-friendly alternative? What kind of materials are included in this cord? Do you have a textile for the cord that is eco friendly?” and so on. Surprisingly often we get the answer “oh, I don’t know”, or ”no, this is impossible, you would have to order so much in order to make it profitable for us to start producing with an eco friendly yarn in your cords”. We try hard to have great ongoing communication, even when our jaws drop by some of the answers we get, like: ”we haven’t heard these questions before”.