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Meet Trailblazer Anna von Urbans

Today we’d like to introduce you to Anna von Urbans.

While on a tour, a concert pianist – Anna, has stumbled upon a little paper shop in Berlin. Rummaging around, clumsily she spillt her coffee on one of the paper rolls. Panicked, she was assured that there was no worries as no damage has been done, because the paper is washable and it will dry to its natural shape. Realizing that while wet, the paper took on a soft leather quality, she imagined the potential of turning it into shapes. She asked to have few rolls of this paper sent to her in LA. She started to make small bags as gifts for her friends and family for Christmas. She put little plants, cacti and secants in them. Soon, the orders to make more started to roll in. Anna, not only a pianist, but also a seasoned interior designer, was not oblivious to the creative design process. The ideas of the aesthetic of wrinkled paper, the look and feel of leather, but the eco-conscious attribute of a simple but indestructible sheet of paper started to evolve into a fashion accessories as well.

As a result, a light but durable bags that can reflect the character of each owner in a different way; bags that with time, gain unique wrinkles and shapes depending on the lifestyle one shares with them, came to be. Now, working under the umbrella of Eleventh Room, the mother company that welcomes various collaborations of unique designers, is centered around the philosophy of creating new solutions in the worlds of fashion accessories, design and art, for everyday life. By not imposing any limit to its creativity, Eleventh Room demonstrates a deep interest for recycling, misusing, undoing materials as well as using traditional and artisanal techniques.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
As an artist, the biggest challenge was to navigate between the creative process and the business process. Having started completely alone, with two art degrees and no business background, my original attraction was of the creation of the product. This addictive process of making something out of nothing. And then seeing its beauty evolve. But, that is only a small aspect of running a business. The “business” side was completely new (or even foreign) to me. Learning how to interact with clients and other brands and even the simplest concept of marketing was a complete novelty. With help of other business owners and massive amount of reading on the subject, things started to become clearer. Now, with time, with the ever so changing structures of how we create and run businesses in the world, I’m realizing that there is not so much a formula to follow but rather, an open mind and a continues curiosity.

Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about L’AVU by Eleventh Room – what should we know?
I’m the designer and a creative director of Eleventh Room and its brand L’AVU. Constantly investigating the boundaries of style, Eleventh Room navigates somewhere between fashion and beauty, interior decor and art, collaboration with other brands and stylized advertising. Their products are always unique and marked by the recycling or adaptation of unexpected materials put to use in a totally new way. Products such as L’AVU washable paper bags, raincoats and beach bags made out of construction paper – Tyvek, scented lava rocks, etc. are the results of manipulations of the material or its function.

Many of our products are not typical items found in lifestyle stores, but aim to be all time favorites for everyday life. All of our products are inspired by the ins and outs of daily life. That’s why we created the concept of Room11 – a shopping space which is also a house decorated with Eleventh Room products. Our items are better understood if displayed as they are meant to be used, instead being exhibited on the shelves of a lifestyle store. We aim to invite our costumers to experience the product in its designated application. We prefer to showcase our collections via friends carrying our bags, plants planted in our planters or throws on our sofas and we often present them during dinner parties in the Room11.

Also, unlike other fashion brands, we do not create seasonal collections. We have abandon this concept and decided to aim for the opposite in our designs – classical in form and of good quality. Items that you cannot part with because they become your all time favorites. We aim not to create any waste and produce our collections eternally. This is our way of turning our past into present and into the future. All in one.

Do you recommend any apps, books or podcasts that have been helpful to you?
Being a classically trained pianist, I turn for inspiration into the past… a far away past. When I create, I listen to Bach or Ravel or watch a production of a modern ballet. I believe in things that have passed the test of time. I seek my inspiration in that. Book? I love pages and words. A lot!

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Anna von Urbans

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