During this lockdown people all around this world are reigniting their passion for craft, from learning to embroider to knitting their nan a scarf for next Christmas. However, what does the future of craftsmanship look like? And, is there a digital space it can thrive in?

In an age where craftsmanship is constantly evolving, The Royal Exchange decided to explore what the future of art looks like through their brand new installation, centring around the theme of Future/Craft. With the UK in lockdown and every individual practising social distancing, The Royal Exchange’s new installation took to the web, enlisting help from London based design and motion practice studio, XK Studio, to create a piece that’s truly unique.

With the virtual artwork in full swing, we met up with one half of the design duo, Lukas Vojir, to chat all things craftsmanship and where they as designers see the future of the artistry heading.

How did you first start working together and why did you decide to set up XK studio?

We met at another design studio in London and after working together for a few years we left and set up our own practice which eventually became XK studio. The main motivation was to create a platform for us to design daring projects, both commercial and self-initiated.

How would you describe the style that XK creates to somebody who has never seen your work before? 

We often combine organic forms and motion in a designed way to a create futuristic and considered look.

A lot of your work is framed around bold, statement colours, what inspires you to create in this style? 

We treat colours as a design element in itself and it always holds a very important place in the composition. Celebrating bold, full colours and contrasting them against less saturated environments draws attention to what we want to accentuate.

When you were given the Future/Craft brief, how did you react?

We got really excited because these themes are in some shape or form present in most of our work. Imagining how the future will look like and presenting it in a crafted way – or crafting a set of beautiful objects and presenting them in a futuristic way? Or both?

How did you manage to transpose the theme into your designs?

We explored this theme by abstracting the forms of crafted, luxury items. Thinking about an isolated piece of jewellery or a detail from a handbag and abstracting it to a point where it becomes an object of beauty by itself.

What drew you to the materials you were emulating in the artwork? 

We wanted to stay away from textural / patterned surfaces – imagine materials which are almost perfectly smooth or garments that have no stitching or seams. Something which might be tricky to do today, but would be achievable in the future.

How do you manage to stay motivated and inspired creatively, especially since the government lockdown? 

We are lucky to have stocked up on magazines, books and Pinterest boards for our inspiration. Plus we didn’t have to adjust too much to carry on our work since the lockdown. To create digital art, we only need our computers, electricity and ideas.

What impact do you hope your work has on others?

We hope to spark a little moment of joy or curiosity and inspire others.

Lastly, what do you think the future holds for craftsmanship?

The way we think of craft has already changed with the advances in 3D printing and manufacturing and AI. Algorithms can already design the most optimal layouts, efficient products or beautiful jewellery. The future lies the collaboration between human creativity and the ingenuity of AI.

Catch the future/craft virtual artwork and learn more at www.theroyalexchange.co.uk


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