Inside Kontiki Studios
Kontiki Studios is a converted warehouse where I live with my partner. I also rent it out as a music video and film set. Kontiki Studios isn’t consciously chic bad taste but it juxtaposes a plethora of different and clashing styles, preoccupations and interests. It’s artfully inappropriate. It was a conscious decision to make the space look very theatrical so that it would lend itself well to being photographed, and was influenced by all my favourite interior design references. It had to be firstly a strongly visual space in order to be rented for creatives, and secondly a livable space, as it is also my home. I’d never knowingly have anything ugly on display in the house as I’m quite deeply retentive about the aesthetic and find visual discord somewhat distressing. Ugly but practical modern things such as kitchen or household appliances are hidden away within the confines of a cupboard.
I’ve always had a very strong interest in iconography and symbolism of a religious and spiritual nature, so it’s not only the Abrahamic religions which are represented here; folklore, secret societies, mystery schools and the occult all take their place. There are visual clues everywhere. I like putting the religious symbolism in the bathroom knowing it could be considered somewhat inappropriate or perplexing. It’s partly to challenge peoples’ perceptions of spiritual practice. It’s actually the taxidermy which elicits more reactions than the religious pieces, with combinations of bewilderment, delight, amusement, disgust and curiosity. Many visitors used to find the taxidermy creepy, but as it has increased in popularity within the mainstream I’ve witnessed a shift in the general perception. It has become very sought after now.
I love the pulpit because it’s such a wonderful piece of gothic wood carving and the very unexpected; I admire the pair of peacocks and the birds of paradise for the magnificence of their coloured plumage and also I have a bit of an obsession with vintage trays. I find whites and magnolias unbearably dreary. I love living amidst strong colours and lively patterns that make my soul sing. I take a great joy and delight in them and find them rich and energising. I spent a ludicrous amount of time attempting to find the right shade of pink for one of the walls. Becoming exasperated by the paucity of raspberry shades, in the end I started mixing them together which resulted in a luxuriously deep garnet.
Clutter implies a state of chaotic disorder. Whilst there’s a lot of stuff going on it has a very definite arrangement. There is a place for everything and everything has its place! Most pieces have been used in a photo-shoot at some stage, so everything is a potential prop.
Words and Interior Design by Anita Brulee
Photography by Joel Knight www.joelknightphotography.co.uk