Katrin Arens - Sustainable furniture, interior and clothes designer

Katrin Arens doesn't just make furniture. She makes pieces of art that tell a story, she reincarnates. Determined to work in harmony with the environment, Katrin reclaims materials from derelict country houses, old cellars and carpentry studios and transforms them into furniture that is rich, beautiful, rustic and honest. Her passion for sustainable living also drives her to make children's clothes out of adults' hand-me-downs. German-born Katrin lives and works on a stunning farmhouse in the Lombardy region of Italy (capital Milan). She shares with us her philosophy behind her work and life, and of course, images of her alluring home. Enjoy!

What is your design philosophy?
My design philosophy is very simple - less is more. I love clear forms, realised through the use of materials that tell stories from passed lives.

Three words to describe you and your work.
My work is very much like me, how I live, how I dress and how I cook... simple, direct, elegant.

What do you love about living in Italy?
Italy offers wonderful materials, materials with a rich history. It’s very inspiring and here I’ve also found very good craftsmen. I love the Italian way of life. Italy is spontaneous and full of life, and that’s important for my creativity.

What does sustainable design and living mean to you?
To me, sustainable design is about longevity. It’s about filling your home with objects that you won't get sick of because, for example, they are too coloured or too extreme in their shape. The furniture and all the colours in my house are white or neutral. Accent pieces collected during my travels around the world add splashes of colour throughout the house, and tell a wonderful story.

What inspires you?
Travelling to foreign countries and observing different cultures. I’m especially inspired by Asia and South/Middle America, where re-using material is almost a necessity. There I often find objects constructed out of rescued material. The results are poetic objects that tell a story of the past.

What are you passionate about?
Transforming materials into new objects whilst maintaining a sense of their past.

What do you love about working with wood?
I love to transform material, especially poor and simple material that has no obvious value, (like scaffolding wood that I mostly use) into a useful object of value and beauty.

Katrin's beautiful furniture, handmade from reclaimed materials using traditional techniques

What’s the strangest thing you’ve ever been asked to design?
One client asked me to design a coffin…for himself.

What’s your favourite piece?
My favorite piece is the sideboard in my kitchen, the ARA PACIS. I got the idea for this piece whilst I was travelling through little villages in the countryside of Thailand. The panels of wood that make up the doors used to be window shutters on old houses. The branch is a decorative element and had a past life in wine-making (used in the production process).

If you were a piece of timber, what would you hope you’d be transformed into?
I just want to be a beautiful piece of wood floating like an island on the rivers and oceans around the world....sometimes giving a rest for birds.

Oh, kitty!

Thank you so much Katrin!

Images of Katrin's furniture designs by Katrin Arens.
Images of Katrin's home by Jordi Canosa.
Also visit this gorgeous website By Daniela.


  1. Hi naturally like your web site however you have to test the spelling on quite a few of your posts. A number of them are rife with spelling issues and I to find it very bothersome to inform the reality on the other hand I’ll definitely come again again.
    Designer Furniture

  2. Don't get carried away with this and end up with clutter by using too many small items.
    Demir Leather & Furniture



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