F5: Kickie Chudikova Loves the Art of Scent, Issey Miyake + More

06.07.24 | By
F5: Kickie Chudikova Loves the Art of Scent, Issey Miyake + More

Some people are born knowing they want to be makers, creatives interested in contributing to a better designed world. “I have a strong visual perception, am very observant, and see when things can be improved,” says Kickie Chudikova, an industrial designer creating products, objects, furniture, and lighting in Brooklyn. “It fascinates me to create objects for people to use, as this interaction shapes the way we live,” she adds. “Design can have a huge impact on how we go about our days and influences how we feel and what we do. So, in a way, designers are responsible for shaping the way we live now and in the future. I find that thrilling.”

Chudikova grew up in a post-Soviet country, where access to well-designed objects and furniture was scarce. In fact, there wasn’t much to buy at all, so pieces were primarily constructed to survive. She says her parents’ house is still decorated as it was in the 1970s, but everything still looks good because things were made to be timeless. Chudikova believes this played a part in shaping her aesthetic and design perspective, favoring longevity as an approach to sustainability.

A woman with straight brown hair and bangs sits on a stool, wearing a white top and metallic silver pants, with her chin resting on her hand.

Kickie Chudikova

Her experience studying design at the University of Applied Arts in Vienna also played a big role in shaping her current career. While attending, Chudikova had the opportunity to intern at Karim Rashid’s New York City studio. It was a transformative experience that eventually led to her moving there for a job offer from the brand after receiving her Masters in Industrial Design.

Since founding her own studio in 2020, Chudikova has been creating objects with the goal of elevating peoples’ everyday lives. This focus allows her to practice both talents in industrial design and craft. An eye for detail pulls her toward materials such as glass, iron, porcelain, and marble while embracing the power of cutting-edge technology. The designer also has a deep love of color, choosing to use bold hues in much of her work.

Chudikova keeps herself creatively nourished via many avenues. “Since I moved to the United States I’ve been very interested in food, and pay a lot of attention to the ingredients,” she says. “I explore various sustainable food options – products from the sea, like kelp, or different types of seaweed or mussels. There is a whole world full of nutritious plants that are healthy for us and could help with the problem of food distribution as our population grows. So, instead of designing the tools to consume the food, I would like to design the food itself.”

She also shared her most treasured possession with us: vintage plastic squeaky toy cat “Liba, the tomcat” with an accordion body, given to her by a friend. “I love this object as it is so simple and joyful and designed by a Czech icon of design, Libuse Niklova. The world-renowned designer and innovator was one of the first female designers to be introduced to the Hall of Fame. Definitely an aspiration and a reminder of the power of women in design.”

Today, Kickie Chudikova joins us for Friday Five!

Four individuals wearing vibrant red garments and head coverings leap and extend their arms in coordinated motion against a plain white background.

Photo: Nick Knight

1. Issey Miyake

Issey Miyake’s innovative fabric techniques have made him one of my favorite fashion designers. From his avant-garde Pleats Please collection to the groundbreaking A Piece of Cloth (A-POC), his architectural approach to fashion is truly inspiring. I got my first piece in Tokyo a couple of years ago, and I’m captivated by the sculptural shapes and the effortless flow of the fabric around the body. It feels like dancing in Oskar Schlemmer’s ballet.

A gallery with white brick walls displaying three abstract sculptures: a circular piece on the right, a rectangular piece in the center, and an angular geometrical piece on the left near a window.

Noguchi Museum \\\ Photo: Esoteric Survey

2. Seeing Art in Person

New York moves fast and slow at the same time. On one hand, there is always something happening in the design and art worlds, so it’s easy to get visually stimulated. I almost feel like we “consume” culture here, and going to museums and galleries weekly to explore the newest is a way I recharge and something I truly love doing. On the other hand, one of my favorite places is the Noguchi Museum. It’s like a shrine; the pieces barely change; the only thing that does is the season of the year. It’s a spiritual place for me.

A modern perfumery with circular wooden shelves displays various bottles. A table in the center holds several perfume bottles, and light from a large window illuminates the room.

Photo: Steven Holl Architects

3. Perfumes + Architecture

I have always been fascinated by the sense of smell. How it can trigger a memory is still not easy for me to grasp. I love when things come full circle. There is a spa hotel in Langenlois, close to Vienna, designed by Steven Holl. The architecture and design stuck in my head as much as the etheric smells. While studying in Milan, I met Alessandro Gualteri, the Nose behind Nasomatto perfumes. This is how I dove deeper into the world of perfumes. One sunny day in New York, as I came out of my dentist appointment, I stumbled upon an interesting storefront. The door opens as somebody comes out, and I recognize the special hinge mechanism of the door. I was instantly reminded of the hotel close to Vienna. It was Editions de Parfums Frédéric Malle boutique perfumes that I truly adore. There’s something magical about the synergy that occurs when people with similar thought processes and perspectives collaborate.

A person uses tweezers to place delicate garnishes on a small, intricately plated dish on a metal tray.

Aska \\\ Photo: Shelbie Monkres

4. Restaurants

I love good food. The first time I went to a Michelin-starred restaurant was in New York, at a place called Aska. I didn’t know what to expect, but it was sheer creativity and surprise, and I recommend this place to everyone who is up for an experience. I appreciate the visual arrangement on the plate as well as all the different flavors that mix in your mouth to create the ultimate umami. I consider chefs artists, just using another creative medium. A couple of years later, I backpacked around the world for half a year. I always stayed in humble accommodations but ate really well. It’s through food that you understand culture.

Four gold rings with unique gemstones and artistic designs. From left to right, top to bottom: a blue and gold striped circular design; a black round stone; a blue, brown, and silver striped design; a blue sphere on a green and gold base.

5. Jewelry by Architects by Barbara Radice

This book is a timeless source of color, shape, and function explorations for me. Designing jewelry is a passion, as it authentically reflects one’s personality. Fifteen architects and an artist were carefully selected to contribute, and the resulting collection is undeniably remarkable. Every now and then, I take delight in opening the book to indulge my senses.



Work by Kickie Chudikova:

Two green, oval-shaped glass trays on a stone-textured surface featuring various colored fragments.

Gossamer Set, 2023 \\\ Photo: Sean Davidson

The Gossamer Nesting Set is a three-piece glass collection designed for Gossamer Magazine, containing everything you need for an elevated smoking experience. Made to be functional, sculptural, and timeless, each Nesting Set contains a lidded ashtray, standing pipe, and matching one-hitter. The tray features multiple compartments that can double as an incense holder, key valet, or storage for ground flower or joints. Discreetly store your smoking tools with the lid on, or tuck them neatly under the base to display your collection on a pedestal.

A fork, knife, and spoon are arranged in an 'X' shape on a dark, textured surface with pieces of charcoal in the background.

Cutting Edge Cutlery for Hepp, 2024

An eye-catcher par excellence: HEPP Cutting Edge cutlery. Inspired by the East Asian tradition of using spoons and chopsticks alongside each other, Cutting Edge combines the essence of Western and Eastern table culture in its design. A fusion of elegance and sophistication developed for high-end gastronomy, this unique design makes every piece of the flatware set stand out for an elevated guest experience.

A modern, white, curved bench near the Brooklyn Bridge and a brick building under clear skies.

Spiral of Life, 2022 \\\ Photo: Nicholas Kuhn

Spiral of Life public seating draws inspiration from the waves of the Hudson River and the sculptures of Isamu Noguchi. The adaptive installation offers a place to sit, contemplate, and re-energize while enjoying the impressive Dumbo vistas. This modular bench consists of waterjet-cut stone pieces connected by a metal structure, forming an organic shape that pleases the eye. The winning entry in the inaugural Impact Design competition for public installations in Dumbo, Spiral of Life was officially unveiled in September 2022. Organized by NYCxDESIGN and Caesarstone, the contest aims to show how design can enhance public spaces and foster engagement in the city.

A collection of colorful glassware arranged on clear glass cubes on a reflective white surface.

Skyline Cocktail Glasses, 2021 \\\ Photo: Petr Karsulin

Skyline cocktail glasses are a colorful trio inspired by the architectural icons of the Manhattan skyline. The design of each is reminiscent of the lifestyle of the early 20th century, when New York’s nightlife and cocktail culture reached their peak during Prohibition. The array of bold shapes is underlined by vivid color combinations, together forming a striking assembly. The collection consists of three designs, each with a specific cocktail in mind. “The Martini,” “The Margarita,” and “The Old Fashioned.”
Handcrafted out of crystal glass in the Czech Republic, Skyline was designed for an everyday ritual and a well-deserved pause for the busy New York lifestyle.

A round lamp emits a warm glow on a wooden shelf. The shelf displays a few books, a small vase, and framed artwork.

Baltra Lamp for Gantri, 2022

The Baltra Collection, designed for Gantri, is the embodiment of sculptural mood lighting. Elevated, organic shapes in the form of a table, lantern, and floor light deliver unique accent lighting to any space. Each has a distinct purpose and intention, designed to make you feel calm when coming home after the day. Choose from three colors: Snow, Carbon, and Persimmon. Baltra is 3D printed and made to order to help keep our planet green.

Kelly Beall is Director of Branded Content at Design Milk. The Pittsburgh-based writer and designer has had a deep love of art and design for as long as she can remember, from Fashion Plates to MoMA and far beyond. When not searching out the visual arts, she's likely sharing her favorite finds with others. Kelly can also be found tracking down new music, teaching herself to play the ukulele, or on the couch with her three pets – Bebe, Rainey, and Remy. Find her @designcrush on social.