Grete Kraft Atelier founder Jess Covi is an Austrian born industrial designer who specializes in experiential and holistic product design. After her masters studies at the University for Applied Arts, Vienna and some time working in Zurich, Jess Covi moved to New York City and after working as an industrial designer for design consultancy, like frog design, teaching classes and workshops at SVA, NYU and 30weeks. Today she works as an independent design consultant, where she works with companies such as Google, Hyundai, Unilever and Anheuser Bush inBev across industries including hospitality, architecture, consumer goods and retail. She provides creative vision and leadership for multidisciplinary teams crafting innovative strategies and experiences at the junction of design, culture, and product realization.
Over a decade of travel and work abroad, I have become particularly attached to the treasures that remind me of my home in Austria, of the mountains, of the alps. I have struggled to find quality products with lasting designs that can find themselves useful and eye catching in a contemporary household like my own. So I took it into my own hands and created Grete Kraft Atelier: a homewares line celebrating traditional Alpine craftsmanship. It’s the end of kitschy tshatshkes, manufactured in China, and the beginning of minimal accessories, crafted by locals using regionally sourced materials.
Austrian Design has a grand legacy; it’s a rare combination of ornamental design language and high functionality. I have witnessed the pride Alpine craftsmanship carries with it and the artisans themselves who hone their trade to perfection. The decades and centuries of knowledge, passion, and heritage they have built deserve to be celebrated. This is my mission for Grete Kraft Atelier.
Various design cultures and industries exist devoid of worthy references to traditional Alpine design; their products linger around the house- irrelevant to a contemporary audience. Grete Kraft Atelier selects honest artisans, local to the European Alps, to collaborate on a line of authentic products reworked to incorporate the clean design language relevant to your home and lifestyle.
The first of many events, Holding Heimat | The Tirol Edition is a provocative weekend investigation into food, music, nature and making to uncover the spirit of Heimat (a German word that expresses a sense of home or place of belonging).
The desire for Heimat today is more profound as we see many longing for home once they find themselves a new place trying to embrace the local heritage while also keeping some of their own. We know and have talked to many others who share our feelings so we want to create an inspiring weekend to uncover what this means and how we can collectively create home in a new place while also becoming advocates of hospitality.