Anna Karlin: Designing in 360 Degrees

Anna Karlin: Designing in 360 Degrees

By Sara Carpenter
After establishing herself as a graphic designer, art director, and interior and set designer, London-born Anna Karlin found that her progression to product designer was a natural transition. After moving to New York in 2010, the Glasgow School of Art alumni set her sights on building her first product collection and launched Anna Karlin Furniture + Fine Objects this month.

Bar tools this beautiful can dress up any bottle of wine. Photo by Don Freeman.

From the hand-blown tumbler set to the decanter with brass stopper, this whole set would outfit any bar cart in style. Photo by Don Freeman.

"I realized I took pleasure from the interaction of simple things around me," says Karlin. "For example, Hoop and Stick Lamp is about two very simple shapes interacting. Then when you introduce two textures, the natural wood against the hard metal, and a glowing light playing off the brass, you have something interesting and I hope beautiful." Photo by Don Freeman.

Inlaid brass details pop on these solid ash stools. With a hand-tooled screw spindle, the option of adjusting the height allow these to work at a desk or as a nightstand. Photo by Don Freeman.

Here's a detail shot of the stool. Photo by Don Freeman.

Karlin's first collection varies from a stately table to stools to glassware to barware. Restricting herself to a palette of natural materials including wood, metal, glass, ceramics, and brass, she aimed for the objects to work in a series. "The pieces are meant to create little scenes within a space," she says. Each item maintains a clean silhouette and attention to detail is paramount.

To achieve the high level of quality necessary for the unique details she craved, Karlin enlisted local craftsmen and fabricators. Working at a small scale helped to guarantee consistency. While this cost both time and money, Karlin didn't think twice about setting the bar high after enduring a long design process. Comparing product design to her work as a graphic designer she says, "It's a much lengthier process than you can imagine! But all those tiny tweaks are worth it—you can see it in the quality of finish in the collection."

Navigating a new field of design not only came naturally, but served as an additional outlet to express herself. "Each medium has its limitations and constraints," she says, "[it's] just about navigating each one to express what you want to." Looking at the portfolio of this multi-purpose designer, it is clear she has much to convey. As one might expect, Karlin is already thinking about her next collection. Her current works can be viewed and purchased at

These brass-plated, cold-rolled, hollow-steel chess stools are multi-functional, serving as stool or table. Their geometric shape offers a versatile look appropriate for a variety of styles. Photo by Don Freeman.


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