kontiki´s adventurous journey

How it all began
kontiki was founded in 2003 as a label for experimental design across different genres. The name kontiki derives from the float of the same name on which Thor Heyerdahl sailed from the west coast of America to Polynesia in the 1940s. Karin Maislinger, the founder of kontiki, came upon a picture of the float ‚ staffed with a bearded crew ‚ and was immediately impressed by the brave and courageous way in which those sailors had approached their endeavor. The name for her own adventure was found. Since then she continuously adds new designs to the steadily changing "acquatic series" which features bags made from recycled bicycle inner tubes and racing tires.

Material and recycling, Design and experiment
In the meanwhile, many bike tubes which have gone through kontiki's careful repurposing into bags of linear and timeless design have become a refreshing part of the Viennese city scape. The bicycle tube, a formerly invisible and silent companion through landscapes and cities, now accompanies the person carrying it though the streets in a transformed manner in that it serves as the basic material for containers that are robust and suitable for everyday use. Karin Maislinger creates functional designs for everyone's essential belongings and has committed her work to a humorous and playful experiment with material and texture. kontiki-bags are not just neutral items on the market, they are hand-crafted, low-tech and personal. The used material is unlike other materials in that it has a history of being used for another purpose. Only by an act of volition on the side of the carrier the bike tube can appear in a new context. kontiki's production is located in a small workshop in Vienna where individual items and small-scale series are hand-crafted with a distinct focus on high quality and durability. kontiki's recycled materials come from Vienna and are collected by dedicated bike messengers and bicycle repair shops in the city. We attempt to use recycled materials for all parts and components and try to develop products of ecological value by taking into account a diverse range of aspects. We are happy to manufacture made-to-measure products and adapt designs of our collection to the special needs of our customers by for instance adding a specially padded camera compartment to a bag.

Regionality and quality, Ecology and sustainability
We work with suppliers in our local environment and want to increasingly connect with traditional Austrian businesses and workshops. All kontiki products are manufactured in Vienna by hand and with great attention to detail and quality.
kontiki does not see itself as a conventional fashion label. In our work we cross genres, we experiment and we engage playfully with surfaces, materials and structures. kontiki connects ecological considerations with progressive design, recycles and develops strategies for local cooperations. kontiki's work is inspired by nature or a kind of natural or artificial principle in everyday life, a pattern, a structure, a form.