Renée Kemps: Spilling The Tea On Balancing An Astir Life
Balance. Hard to catch and hold onto in this day and age. Renée Kemps, a Dutch interior and design photographer, serves as a fair instance of an artist who has paved a path of evolving in the name of balanced growth. Her taste has been inspired mostly by the serenity of Japanese culture. Its authenticity and alignment with nature drew Renée’s attention to such an extent, she decided to dedicate a new brand to Japanese most prolific tradition – tea.
Maiasa is headquartered in Delft, Netherlands. The studio is designed in an austere manner, so that the main purpose of the space is not overwhelmed. Its centrepiece is our kitchenette from the Norwegian Wood collection which supports every step of the tea preparation process. Not only does Renée back up the importance of slowing down and implementing small rituals amid everyday hecticness, but she also provides tools to do so.
Maiasa Studio puts focus on daily rituals around tea accompanied by objects as pleasing as the drink prepared with them.
What inspires you the most?
Light, lines, and textures. These fundamental aspects of visual aesthetics never fail to amaze me. I can find myself completely distracted by the beauty of small compositions and the fleeting moments of light and shadow play in day-to-day life.
What is your relation to Japanese architecture, design and crafts?
Roughly nine years ago I made a decision to move to Tokyo for work. I’ve returned to Japan many times after that, with each visit reinforcing the feeling of infatuation – the country’s commitment to quality, tradition, craftsmanship and attention to detail has been beyond inspiring to me. That influence has significantly shaped my work.
What are the places you cherish the most in Japan?
The places in Japan that hold the most profound place in my heart are the temples – mostly because of the tea ceremonies they host. The atmosphere has a unique sense of tranquillity and history, while the rituals are carried out with impeccable care and attention to detail. It’s also an atmosphere where strictness still prevails, demanding silence, receptiveness and unhurried presence.
What role does tea play in your daily rituals?
Exploring the rich history and centuries-old traditions of tea has been very inspirational. I have come to appreciate tea not just as a drink but as a ritual as well. I learnt to enjoy creating small, intentional ceremonies around tea, savouring both its flavours and the serene act of preparation.
Your newest project is about the beauty of daily rituals, tell us please something more about Maiasa Studio.
Maiasa emerged as a brand born from my experiences and appreciation for Japan, its world of tea, and the significance of daily rituals. The traditions I practiced, mostly during my work travels, brought some long-awaited balance and made me realise how much I had abandoned my well-being. I also recognised that many of my colleagues faced similar struggles. It was then that the idea of creating a brand dedicated to these small daily rituals that promote well-being within the modern world, began to take shape.
What was the process of creating this space like, and what was the idea behind it?
Creating this space was driven by my desire to capture the essence of Maiasa in a visual nook – a place where people can get inspired and tangibly experience how my vision can be integrated into their lives. It was crucial for that space to authentically mirror the brand’s ethos.
You chose our fronts in the shade of Smoked Oak for the studio space. What guided you in your decision to choose the colour and form of the cabinets?
I chose fronts in a shade of Smoked Oak, as they seemed to align perfectly with the ambience and aesthetic I had envisioned for the space. In Japan, the use of natural wood is an integral part of their architectural tradition. I sought to replicate this in my studio and, for that purpose, I selected a natural and raw-looking wood that could both stand on its own and harmonise seamlessly with my handmade shoji screens. It had to resonate with the essence of nature and evoke the raw beauty of organic materials
What do you appreciate FRØPT the most for?
I like the level of versatility and customisation FRØPT offers. You can curate your ideal setup, giving you the freedom to select and build according to your specific preferences. From choosing the style or finish to selecting your preferred colour palette. It provides an array of options that allow you to personalise every detail to align with your unique taste.
What is your definition of a curated space?
It’s a space where I can translate my vision into aesthetics that resonate with my sensibilities. This curated space becomes a visual expression of how I perceive the world through my own eyes and it serves as a means to communicate this perspective to others.
Photos by Renée Kemps