Ishka Designs Inc.

Embracing Jamaica’s local spirit

Photo by Niya Bascom

Take the beach out of a beach house, and what does a designer have left? A huge opportunity to go deep into other kinds of placemaking, as the Brooklyn firm Ishka Designs Inc. (IDI) proves with this waterfront home in Jamaica’s Westmoreland Parish. Ishka principals Anishka Clarke and Niya Bascom introduced a “sophisticated zen” vibe with the custom table and bench they made using hardwood sourced from felled trees on the property and its surroundings. That kind of eco-consciousness is standard practice for the firm. “Being mindful of available resources and the impact on community is definitely a current first-world movement,” the pair explain. “But it has always been the way of doing things in places like Jamaica, which we love.” For the spidery pendant lights, they reached out to Grey Furniture, of Atlanta, which takes a similarly community-centric approach.

Photo by Industry City

“Our firm’s design process and aesthetic are informed by our shared principles: mindfulness, minimalism, bespoke craftsmanship, artistry and timelessness.”
— Anishka Clarke and Niya Bascom

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Tri-Leg Chair with Woven Seat after Hans Wegner, ca. 1987, Offered by Satyricon
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Tri-Leg Chair with Woven Seat after Hans Wegner, ca. 1987, Offered by Satyricon

“With openness and wooden handicraft, the shape and flow of this piece recall how we designed the home to have multiple vantage points for viewing the oceanscape beyond the threshold.”

Ania Wolowska Ocum Nightstand, New, Offered by ITZ Mayan Wood Furniture
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Ania Wolowska Ocum Nightstand, New, Offered by ITZ Mayan Wood Furniture

“What most stands out to us about this piece is the preservation of the Caribbean walnut’s raw state and how overall it retains the material’s integrity with a minimal design. Over the course of this project, we salvaged wood from felled trees on the building site, which we used to make several items found in the home, including furnishings and architectural millwork. This nightstand brings back memories of using restraint, collaborating with local artisans to make functional, distinctive pieces that keep the material recognizably of the landscape from which it came.”

Pat Kim Cairn Reclaimed-Cork Side Table, New
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Pat Kim Cairn Reclaimed-Cork Side Table, New

“Sustainably made from recycled materials and locally produced here in Brooklyn as functional art, this piece speaks the IDI dialect. With this project, we allowed the tropical landscape to guide our design, activating this luxury ecosystem with sculptural, organically shaped pieces. Historically, cairns have a wide range of uses, from honor to astronomy, navigation to refuge. Such a narrative is an example of elements we look for in pieces.”

Isamu Kenmochi Coffee Table, 1965, Offered by Almond & Co.
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Isamu Kenmochi Coffee Table, 1965, Offered by Almond & Co.

“This vintage piece lands at the intersection of sustainability and luxury. The table is simple, minimal and bespoke. The curved legs are reminiscent of antique Asian design, simplified. While still loaded with history and geographies, this table adds delicate movement reminiscent of the sometimes-still Caribbean sea bordering our project.”

Japanese Kiri Wood 2-Section Wardrobe, 19th Century, Offered by FEA Home
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Japanese Kiri Wood 2-Section Wardrobe, 19th Century, Offered by FEA Home

“There’s an abundance of character to this armoire, from practicality to presence, that can inform any IDI space. The ombre finish and the warm wood finish are a beautiful complement to stark white walls.”

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