Waterford based entrepreneur brings a touch of Japanese culture to the city

Japanese culture is thriving in a small home studio in Waterford City thanks to the artistic talent and vision of designer, Ania Juraszek.
Kimono Lamps was established by the Polish native in 2011 and creates beautiful and versatile lamp shades fashioned from authentic vintage kimonos. 
The idea came about following a trip to Japan in 2008 visiting Tokyo, Kyoto and Shirahama.  It was during this visit that Ania, a self confessed Japanophile, was struck by the colour, texture and vibrancy of kimonos which are worn principally by women in rural Japan.
The traditional kimono dates back as far as the 8th century and each kimono has a strong family tradition, with kimonos often passed from generation to generation.  The kimono became less popular with the arrival of western clothing following the Second World War, however today the kimono enjoys a resurgence in popularity, thanks to the emergence of used kimono retailers.
According to Ania the widespread availability of kimonos gave her the inspiration to start her own business, Kimono Lamps.  “When I was in Japan it was hard not to be impressed by the beautiful colours and textures of the kimono.  As a fashion item I couldn’t really see it taking off in Ireland, but when the kimonos are adapted into lampshades it gives Irish audiences the opportunity to enjoy a little Japanese culture right in their own homes.”
“It really is a labour of love.  I source the kimonos directly from Japan and am aware of their history, their previous owner and their own unique personality.  Kimono Lamps are bespoke, each one different in shape, size, fabric and they embellish any Irish home.”
Ania, who studied product design in Academy of Fine Arts in Krakow and was awarded a scholarship to the National College of Art and Design (NCAD) in Dublin has plans to grow the business and export the lamps to the UK and Europe.
“So far there has been a lot of interest from furniture and homeware retailers to supply the lamps.  They tell us that the product is unique and they have never really seen anything like these lamps before.  It’s a great endorsement of the product and we are hoping to explore the UK markets in the New Year and exhibit at next years “100% Design Event” in London.
Jacqui Gaule, Assistant CEO (Acting) of Waterford City Enterprise Board has backed the initiative from the outset.  Ms. Gaule said “Ania’s idea to create home furnishings from authentic kimonos is truly inimitable.  By bringing a traditional cultural icon such as the kimono into Irish homes in a practical and functional guise is a great idea.”
“As part of our remit at Waterford City Enterprise Board we offer assistance in the form of advice, mentoring and financial contributions to small businesses that have the potential to grow, create jobs and showcase Waterford’s entrepreneurial spirit.  Ania and Kimono Lamps tick all of those boxes and we look forward to following her progress and growth in the coming months” she added.
If you want to find out more about Kimono Lamps or check the Kimono Lamps range visit www.kimonolamps.com or email info@kimonolamps.com