Justina Vilčinskaitė and Dovilė Aleksandravičiūtė, the founders of the interior design studio Grey on Grey, are inspired by mountainous landscapes and the materiality found in nature. Creators, who often view design creation as a puzzle, invite you to look at the gray color from a new perspective.  

Tell us why you chose the direction of interior design specifically?

We became very interested in the creation of home decor objects while still living in Amsterdam, where we both studied, met, and finally started joint creative activities. One of the vivid experiences that we – and probably most students – faced at that time was constantly moving to rented apartments. When changing living spaces often, it was difficult to settle in over and over again; I didn’t want to commit to having a lot of furniture that would complicate moving. In this situation, I started to feel the value of home decor objects: they can turn any space into a cozy, personal one.

After graduating from visual art studies, we decided to work on creating home decor objects and establishing a design studio. After a very intensive year of studying, I felt general fatigue and creative exhaustion. It was challenging to return to the same level of productivity that was encouraged during my studies. We both had our own artistic practices that we were developing at the time. We were interested in each other’s work and kept talking about wanting to collaborate. Finally, we decided that the time was right and that maybe we could help each other get our stuck creativity moving again. Having started working without a very clear direction, it didn’t take long for us to think of creating functional objects. The rules of applied arts have helped define clear goals and set challenges we try to solve when creating.

How would you describe the aesthetic of the interior design pieces you create?

Our name Gray on Gray perfectly reflects the aesthetic of our creations. Gray is considered an intermediate color called achromatic or simply colorless. With our work, we want to change the established negative associations with greyness, which is often used as a synonym to describe anything muted, dull, or boring. We see beauty in simplicity and appreciate a slow and carefully considered design that gradually reveals itself as you look at it better, never going out of style. The objects we create have precise, simple shapes, and if you take a closer look, they reveal many details on the textured surface. 

Looking at your design pieces, it seems that they are influenced by natural materials that can be found in nature. Do you often look to nature for inspiration?

Yes, nature is our main source of inspiration. Various stones, rocks, and mountainous landscapes are particularly inspiring. Their materiality, sturdiness, slow change, and diversity are inspiring. Sometimes when creating objects, we set ourselves seemingly impossible goals. For example, creating a candlestick that conveys something as grand and monumental as a mountain. Even if it’s impossible to convey it 100%, the task itself inspires and pushes us to create as if we were solving a puzzle.

Gray on Gray products are dominated by soft, natural color tones. Why do you emphasize them in particular?

We deliberately choose soft, natural tones. We don’t want to create objects that would dominate the space, “interfere” with other objects, and over time become tedious and tiresome for the eye. We aim to create objects that would subtly complement any interior. The pigments that give our objects their colors (except for black) are sourced from a small family shop in Sri Lanka. In this region, pigments have a long tradition of being used during various festivals. When searching for paint for our products, the idea of ​​adding a pinch of celebration to each item made us very excited. 

Are all your products handmade?

Yes, we make everything by hand – from the prototypes, which we then test and improve, to the final products. Sometimes it’s a very long process, but we try not to rush it so that the things we produce are really thought out and turn out the way we want. The saying quality over quantity may sound a bit cliché, but it suits us very well.

What does your creative space look like?

Our creative space is constantly changing. After starting work in a studio in Amsterdam, we packed up everything and moved to Vilnius a couple of years ago. After this period of moving, the search for a new permanent creative space has become an unsolved challenge. Right now, we mostly work at each other’s homes, and we hope to find a more comfortable space in the future.

Is your studio organized or more of a creative chaos?

It varies depending on what creative stage we are in. While we are experimenting, playing with materials, and trying to refine some object or its prototype, it can be quite chaotic. But when we get to the “finish line”, we prefer order.

What kind of music could we hear playing in your creative studio?

We usually listen to background music. You would probably hear one that is not too distracting and does not prevent you from concentrating or talking.