October 31, 2023

During this year’s London Design Fair held at the Truman Brewery, London, darc’s editor Sarah Cullen hand-selected some of her favourite designs and new brands to explore a little further. She caught up with new-kids-on-the-block, Triqis to find out more about the studio’s inception.

Triqis is a newly established design studio based in London, with its manufacturing base in the West Midlands. Co-founded by Kwaku Boateng and Erwan Louis, the pair first met while studying industrial product design at university. darc first came across the new studio during London Design Fair and were impressed with the level of standards and finishes the duo were producing as young product designers.

“After being in London for some years we noticed that in the world of design there were many leaders producing high quality furniture and lighting from many other countries, however little to no British representation,” says Boateng.

“Another thing that we noticed was the lack of diversity in the space,” adds Louis.

“This is what drove us to found Triqis, as well as providing an outlet to express ourselves through design,” says Boateng.

The two designers come from very different walks of life. Boateng was born and raised in London before moving to Trinidad for 13 years of his childhood then returning to the UK. Louis on the other hand is originally from Brittany in France but emigrated to Iceland with his family during his teenage years before heading to the UK for university.

“Kwaku’s years of experience in contemporary design and leading growth for some of London’s most successful tech companies, has played a massive role in our design, processes and growth of the studio,” observes Louis.

Whereas Louis brings a wealth of experience with some of Italy’s top lighting brands, which Boateng believes gives them “the edge that shines through the execution of our designs”.

“Our solid education in industrial design for manufacture, mixed with our immersion into the contemporary design world is what really sets us apart,” he adds.

“Design for me has always been my happy place where I can create and express myself freely, so the vision was always to start my own studio.”

Something Louis agrees with: “Yes, I’ve also always wanted to start my own studio, however I also wanted to gather some industry experience to figure out what I wanted to focus on as well as get a taste of what the world of contemporary design was like as it differs from industrial.”

Boateng adds: “I guess you can say it was always in the plan, it was only a matter of time.”

Bringing products to the design industry that are proudly British made is key to the studio’s ethos. “Having spent years residing and working in the design industry, most of my experience being in Italian lighting, along with our different walks of life was something we believed should be part of the studio,” says Louis. “We also identified the pure need for high quality uncompromised British, and moreover local products, and this was one of the main driving points towards owning aspects of our manufacturing and operating here in the UK.

“Developing our own manufacturer was a logical step, first for the transparency in terms of product provenance and the benefit it has on our socio-economic surroundings. As well, it helps in developing local know-how and enhancing our clientele’s experience in dealing with us on projects.

“Our polar opposite backgrounds could also be considered a key characteristic of Triqis, which is something we want to express through our current and future designs. This is what design is about, storytelling.

“Quality of product and light specification is what we are proposing with no compromise. We aim at covering the entire interaction with light, whether it is the quality of the light itself, how it interacts with spaces and the way the user interacts with it. This can be as simple as the way it is switched on, such as on the Lorraine lamp.”

Boateng adds: “We want to provide the industry with something new in the 21st century, something fresh, high-quality and exciting yet sophisticated, considered and well-designed out of the United Kingdom.”

Despite the duo’s unwavering enthusiasm, starting a new business is never easy and they have faced a number of challenges along the way. This, however, is what has helped build the foundations of who the designers and the brand are today.

“What went wrong? In the beginning… so much!” reflects Boateng. “But that is a part of the journey you just can’t avoid, especially when developing a high-quality product and brand. It took us some time to figure out how our design styles and processes complimented each other as well as defining our processes. Logistical, supply and design problem solving, resulting in many sleepless nights in the studio that have all been crucial aspects towards the Triqis you see today.

“In the early days of running the studio from affordable artist spaces, we’ve had nightmares where the studios have been requested to be evacuated with little to no notice in the middle of projects and operations.”

“We laugh about them now, but at the time it was anything but funny,” adds Louis.

“Off the back of all that, our manufacturing capabilities are something that have come a long way and that I’m proud of, as it allows us to ensure the quality, sustainability, and ethical practices that we provide.”

What can we expect from the young studio over the next year? More lighting! “During the show, we unveiled our collection of decorative lighting pieces. Moreover, you can anticipate the addition of some innovative technical lighting options to our range in the upcoming year,” explains Louis.

Boateng concludes: “We’ve been thrilled by the industry’s positive response since launching our products at the London Design Fair. Currently, we’re working on some exciting interior projects too, so stay tuned.”