SUKU is what happens when an artist who has lucid dreams, and an Indonesian heritage, seeks a platform for expression. Melbourne-based Christine Lafian is the mind behind the homewares label that has just launched its second range, Lucidity. The collection includes bedding made from bamboo rayon in misty grey hues that recall, for Lafian, the kind of soft floating clouds that drape over mountaintops in sub-tropical Balinese forests. With a nuanced pattern that was developed in collaboration with Balinese batik artisans, the range is a complementary contrast to the richly saturated Dream Baby Dream, SUKU’s first range of bedding and runners.
Designed in Melbourne, SUKU pieces are made in Indonesia using traditional techniques and given a modern twist. For Lafian, it is the employment of traditional craftsmanship that elevates the brand beyond a typical offering. “Not enough people make things that mean something these days – that have innate roots. For SUKU I use colour to create the mood and let the technique hold the stories.” Lafian supports small-scale economy and engages with craftspeople directly.
Lafian lived in Indonesia until she was a teenager, growing up in Makassar before moving to Jakarta. Her collections are inspired by this time. “There’s something quite nostalgic about growing up in South East Asia, where the land feels so old but was experienced with new eyes (mine!). There was a conscious choice of colour permeating through our first collection, Dream Baby Dream, to represent the moods I remembered most vividly from my life in Indonesia ¬– the striking blue colour of the sky at mid-afternoon; the tropical forest bordering my Grandma’s backyard; the ‘sunny side up’ in a nasi goreng – my breakfast ritual; and the pink flowers of my neighbour.”
Lafian’s own artwork evokes this same nostalgia, but cut with a fresh, contemporary resonance. And Suku is a translation of this into homewares, with Lafian seeking to honour not only her style, “but that of my audience also. I have to make sure I leave that space for the owner to make it their own.”
Suku’s new range Lucidity, along with Dream Baby Dream, are available to buy online at sukuhome.com