Alejandra Horsley – Materials

Joined Kinzo in 2020

What is your role at Kinzo and how do you support the project teams?

After studying interior architecture in Vancouver and starting my design career there, I came to Berlin and began working with Kinzo, where I have now happily been part of the team for almost three years. My roles at Kinzo are designer and material librarian and researcher. I support the team by helping them navigate Kinzo’s own extensive library and by introducing them to new and innovative materials.

Which material is your current favorite?

I’m working with ClearPerf on my current project, a clear acoustic panel. It’s beautiful structure and translucent quality have inspired us to develop acoustic elements and lighting objects with it. I enjoy working with materials whose basic composition already stands on its own as beautiful and functional.

Which material you have discovered recently has impressed you the most?

An innovative material we’ve been excited to use recently is recycled plastic panels from Smile Plastics, a UK-based material design studio. In addition to their classic collection, I love that they are always looking to experiment and innovate with creating bespoke panels, for example by using customer-supplied recycled content.

How do you stay up to date?

The great thing about Berlin is there are always a multitude of great material-related lectures to stay inspired and educated. A very memorable one was by Studio Quei at the Why Materials Matter (Seetal Solanki) book launch. Also, the lecture series at Floating University at Raumlabor. Instagram is a great source of material inspiration, featuring the work of various material innovators. Key in searching for inspiration, whether it’s through social media or exhibitions, is to look beyond the design field into art, science, history, etc.

What is special about working at Kinzo?

It’s great having such a large material library at Kinzo. It exposes the team to a wide array of material samples to get inspired and to make informed selections, and the integration of the library into the office landscape, through the material mountain for example, helps to feature material selection as a key component of the design process.

So you are some kind of material mountain guide for Kinzo’s clients?

I have never actually climbed the material mountain together with a client, but I like this idea!