Who we are
Karen Smith was born in Reading, England in 1971. She arrived in France in 1989 where she continued her studies.
After having studied interior architecture and fashion in Paris she took part in the preparation of the exhibition Première Vision and then went onto work for Christian Dior in 1996.
After 4 years of working as a designer for a household linen company in Paris, Karen decided to work for herself and to explore her true passion of interior decoration even further.
In 2000 she leaves Paris to go and live in Normandy, an authentic and most natural environment.
Deep in the countryside and living in an old mill on the edge of a river, Karen builds her nest representing an ideal place for her family and her work to flourish in.
Close to the most natural elements like earth, water and plants where she finds her innermost inspiration, her imagination runs wild and there are no limits to her creativity.
Naturally in 2004 she creates her own collection of Baked Clay tiles representing nature’s imprints at their best, using texture, relief, structures that her surrounding environment is able to give her.
Her authentic collection is a close up of beauty and innocence of nature where simplicity and tranquillity have become so hard to find.
Right from the very beginning of my studies, nature has always been a core of my work so it was quite natural to exploit my natural surroundings. One sunny spring afternoon, I was experimenting with leaves from my garden, pressing them onto clay. The initial idea was to make clay blocks to print onto fabric, thereby creating a household linen collection inspired by nature. After a solid experience of designing in a household linens company and after acquiring knowledge in textiles it was natural for me to originally imagine a bed linen collection with leaf and flower prints. While printing onto fabric I realized that the effect on clay was much more intricate. So I decided to use the clay to make a tile, a relief leaf tile, imagining and creating leaves in a 3D form. Following this very bespoke tile, the imprint collection was created. Using and drawing my inspiration from the plants in my garden.
Making tiles by hand was a priority so that each tile would be individual and unique and so no two tiles would be exactly the same. So each tile from Ks Design is uniquely crafted by hand so that this tile collection reflects passion, ingenuity and true handcraft.
I decided to send my collection to the International Trade Fair, Maison et Objet, in Paris. When I was selected to be one of the six talents, I thought it was an amazing opportunity for my collection to be known by the world of professionals. Those five days in the exhibition were a real revelation for me, where I discovered that my collection was a success. There have been 3 major turning points in the history of Ks Design, starting with the Maison et Objet Trade Fair in Paris, then the implementation of a distribution network in France and the UK and finally Ks Design who was commissioned to decorate Yves Rocher's concept store on the very symbolic Boulevard Haussmann in Paris.