Alexis Kotoulas’ design studio in the historical centre of Athens merges contemporary design and fine craftsmanship
A Magic Cabinet was born from a sense of curiosity and whimsy. The way I and my team discover the creations we so proudly showcase can sometimes be a delightful surprise.
At a cocktail party in early summer, to herald the remarkable crossing of women paddle boarders from Monaco to Athens for charitable causes, was where I met a charming man who was from Kalymnos and worked in jewellery. When I told him about the site, he excitedly introduced Alex Kotoulas to me. Thus, I became aware of HAK Studios. Alex visited us and his brilliantly coloured bags and wallets made of such superb leather made us instant fans… we hope you will be also!
HAK Studios is a concept driven design studio which creates unique products made of leather, textiles and ceramics, designed by its founder, Alex Kotoulas.
The company merges traditional techniques with contemporary design and combines craftsmanship together with a commitment to sustainability.
The collection of unique products is mainly composed of leather products, such as tote bags, backpacks, wallets, clutches and belt bags, and is a progression of his family heritage. Alex grew up in a fur workshop in Kastoria, a city famous for its fur industry.
Alex studied at the School of Civil Engineering at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki. However, as he wanted to explore a more creative approach to design, he continued his studies at the Design Academy at Eindhoven, in the Netherlands, where he started experimenting with different materials, including ceramics and textiles.
His first product was a travel backpack which he designed during his studies. It was very successful and thus he started a small production in Greece and progressively added a few new designs. His first collection was completed in 2017 under the brand name “ALEXQUISITE”.
A few years later, as he wanted to include more materials, he decided to rebrand. HAK Studios was born, the name of which is the acronym for Handcrafted by Alex Kotoulas.
Alex’s design studio is located in Plaka, Athens’ historical centre, yet the various artisan’s workshops with which he collaborates can be found in the numerous neighbourhoods of Athens, thus supporting other small family businesses.
Alex is definitely influenced by his family heritage, yet his work is significantly informed by contemporary art and design. He is also an advocate of the slow fashion movement and his products are not subject to the seasonal trends and are made of natural materials.
For the creation of his collection named “Colour Fields”, products of which we include in A Magic Cabinet, he drew inspiration from the work of Ellsworth Kelly which is characterised by the use of monochromatic fields of clean-edged colour.
Lately, Alex focused on designing products for decor and he plans to expand this idea further in HAK Studios’s future line of products.