Lately, we’ve been traveling to connect with good folks from around the region, and learning about their craft. Naturally, we’ve been asked a few times what is it that we do, what we stand for and what Haystakt wants to achieve.
Creating something that doesn’t yet exist is never easy - the establishment of new protocols and templates from scratch, the justification of new value and economics - the list goes on. And while the process of creation keeps us on our toes, curating and redefining an industry (or an aspect of it) is even harder. When pioneering at the frontier, one is forced to draw out boundaries.
What defines maker goods? What types of products does Haystakt carry? Who are you looking to work with? How does one curate?
This has spurred us to begin this series titled “The Craft Difference”.
In our inaugural post, we’re going to focus on the small batch. This approach to design production - producing individual designs in limited or smaller quantities - was common amongst many smaller companies or craft workshops for much of the 20th century. It allowed them to respond quickly to different commissions and market opportunities without being tied down to the inflexible and expensive technologies associated with modes of mass-production. Yet this method of production is seeing a comeback for a new reason - control.
To speak a language both you and I understand better, we’re going to liken the production process to the intense environment of a restaurant kitchen. A while ago we shared a series of photos (taken by Alan Poul for Co. Create) profiling Chef René Redzepi’s Noma, the vigorous buzz emanating from the Copenhagen food scene over the last several years.
With two Michelin stars under its belt, “Believe the hype”, they said.
When running a restaurant, your output and production rate determines the allowance of attention to detail or creative spontaneity. If the goal was to have a 3-round turnover within a single evening, it would be difficult for one to spend time foraging in the nearby wooded areas and beaches to supply a field-to-table flourish of “just-plucked chanterelles, spontaneously scattered on a plate of braised ox cheeks moments before being presented to the table.”
In the kitchen, specialization, focus and method are the codes to strive for. There’s a reason why degustation menus are fixed - the dining is meant to be an experience consumed by the guest, one that is crafted to their enjoyment, right down to the ingredients the chef took 3 months to prepare, that same dish the eight-year-old restaurant serves every day.
Also different: At Noma, each course is brought to you by the chef who serves the food they make; their hands sometimes smeared with remnants of the food they just prepared. That’s 25 different pairs of hands. “That way the chefs aren’t stuck in their heads, without sunlight and without the satisfaction of seeing people eat your food,” sous chef Samuel Nutter explains. “I think it really works for the guests and is really beneficial for the chefs.”
Output, quality, and more touch points along the making process. With a culture that embraces design thinking and small batch food production, it’s no wonder the best restaurant in the world stays that way (three years running). In craft design, this translates to the crafting process and products embedded with thought, history, and art.
Take for example The Workshop Gallery, which designs made-to-order handcrafted goods. Their small batch production model signifies “an understanding between the craftsman and the buyers: that high quality handmade products only come about with time and care. More than just the finished objects, it’s about keeping the process honest and honoring the craftsman work approach as well. We want everyone who steps into the gallery to feel closer to the creators and the process behind every object.”
We understand. We’re believers too, in some cases being purposefully small allows you to control the experience outcome.
What are your thoughts? Let us know as we embark on this exciting journey to define quality maker craft.