Meet the maker: Zitozza

Hello, I’m Zita – graphic and textile designer, and the head, heart and hands of my homeware brand “zitozza”.  I founded zitozza in 2020 after a decade-long career zig-zagging between graphic and textile design. Like many other businesses, I too started in the pandemic lockdown, when I suddenly had a lot of time to start working on a lot of my long-held ideas.

So what does zitozza make? Sustainable home interior accessories – this, at the moment, means rugs, cushions and lampshades, but this year I’m planning to expand to a few other things for the home. And what makes them unique? Everything by zitozza is hand block printed with a modular system of uniform printing blocks that are largely the same size, creating an interchangeable pattern design system of infinite combinations and fully customisable, unique designs.

The zitozza printing blocks are organised in 19 different sets making two main collections: the MODERN sets are more geometric and are inspired by the built environment, while the HERITAGE sets are more botanical and take elements from traditional textile heritage – this is a combination of both the Scottish and Eastern European influences. 

I’m from Budapest, Hungary, and while my city prides itself on the ornamental 19th and early 20th Century buildings in the centre, I grew up in the suburbs and I was surrounded by a lot of modernist architecture and some industrial landscapes too. I have always found them more beautiful and interesting. My parents would tell me this story from my childhood about my dad fixing a broken radio, when I asked him not to close it back up but leave it open with the wires hanging because it was more beautiful like that – I think that way of thinking has probably defined my aesthetic senses throughout my whole career, you can certainly find this sentiment in the textures of zitozza homewares. 

I found it quite a culture shock as a newcomer in the UK, that there is a lot of disregard towards brutalism (despite having lots of very interesting and famous buildings here!) and also against industrial structures such as electricity pylons, some people even protest wind turbines. I got fascinated by this and I’ve become determined to not just find out for myself, but show others too, why I find them so beautiful. I chose a simple way of doing it – I thought that if I reduced these enough to their most basic geometries, as I did in the block prints of zitozza, it becomes abstract enough to be aesthetically pleasing, while they still retain the connection to their influences. The aim is to show our built environment in a different angle and grow some appreciation towards our everyday landscapes. 

That’s the MODERN collection at least, but I also have the HERITAGE one which is more traditional, as I also very much appreciate the rich history of the textile industry in general, especially in this country where so much of it has started. I just love cloth, and I love learning about textiles throughout the ages. I took forms I found in woven and embroidered patterns too – as a result these are more botanical, but the geometric twist and modular principle that is the signature zitozza way of creating patterns, is still very much there. It’s a contemporary take on the traditional, as I really believe in living in, and embracing the present. 

This also comes with a responsibility towards the environment, I take that very seriously, which is why I use natural jute for everything, and while expanding my product line I research thoroughly with certified and sustainable textiles. I found out about jute at University (I went to Heriot-Watt for a Masters), and I fell in love with its utilitarian aesthetics as well as its sustainable qualities. It’s such a wonderful fabric environmentally – it grows very fast, so it can be harvested couple of times a year and binds a lot of carbon in the process. The plants grow very closely together so there is hadly any amount of pesticides needed to cultivate it and it grows in the tropical regions, relying on rainfall rather than irrigation so it has a very small land and fresh water footprint. But I also like it for that uneven, industrial quality, it’s coarse and rough but it’s very tactile and it matches the brutalist geometry of my prints, I think it’s a perfect match.  

I have a unique way of printing with it, which gives an extra texture to the fabric within the colour as well, this look is a signature zitozza quality I think. I particularly love it on the lampshades, which, when illuminated, highlight this brilliant texture with a very warm, soft light. And of course jute has been used for rugs for centuries so it was obvious that zitozza would do that too.

At the moment everything on my website (www.zitozza.com) is a unique, one-off piece but it’s easy to recreate and customise most of it and I enjoy taking on bespoke projects, to take the client’s lead on it and let them take these prints into their homes. At the end of the day, what zitozza really wants to do as a brand, is to bring curiosity in the home with colour and texture, with warmth and comfort. If it made you curious, visit my website and subscribe to my monthly newsletter or follow me on my social media (Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest all @zitozza) to see the latest creations.

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