The back wall of the Pinkopalino Design store in the Village Market is covered with a vast array of colourful light fixtures of different designs. Jutta Gavidia Wilhelm, the German designer who owns the store, tells me: “When you light the lampshades, all these different colours… it gives us light also inside. I don’t want to become too spiritual or esoteric or something, but it really is like that.” Proof of this, she says, is people are often drawn into the store by the lights and as they come in they say: “I didn’t really want to come in but this is so beautiful.”
The cynic in me would never have believed this except that the reason I went in search of her store is that I saw light fixtures, pictured above, in another store in the Village Market and I had gone in to ask who designed them.
Jutta, a textile designer by profession, started off as a fashion designer in Europe before moving to Kenya in 1992. Her mediums are now primarily iron and steel. “Iron inspires me. I can manage almost anything…the curved, wavy and straight, ultra-modern or inspired by animals….it comes just on its own, sometimes it comes like a wave,” she says of her work with these elements. Through her design and in working with various workshops for many years to achieve high quality manufacturing, she has been able to bring evident warmth to these lifeless elements.
Photograph by Maridadi.co.