Vilnius, Lithuania

Lithuanian design brand Emko was originally founded by Erika Markovska-Mikulskiene (born, 1979 in Vilnius) as a consulting company for local design producers in 2009. Following a chance encounter with a young Lithuanian designer by the name of Inesa Malafej that led to the creation of the award-winning My Writing Desk (2012), the decision was made to launch Emko as a design brand in its own right in 2012. Since then, Emko—with co-owners Inga Markovska (born, 1986 in Vilnius) and Aurimas Kalpavicius (born, 1969 in Klaipeda)—has expanded its collection of fresh, contemporary furniture and home accessories, collaborating with a range of young designers and design studios to create pieces that celebrate the beauty of function and sustainability. The success of this up and coming brand has been a catalyst for a recent blooming of the Lithuanian design scene.

The Emko collection is characterized by a warm minimalism; light woods and graphic shapes finished with rounded profiles. The brand’s most acclaimed piece remains its very first piece to go into production: My Writing Desk, with its innovative storage and display ledge running around the central working space, was awarded the IF Concept Award in 2012, the Lithuanian design prize Geras Dizainas in 2013, and the Red Dot Award in 2014. Another standout project has to be the Pill (2017) wall unit by Dalius Razauskas for Emko. A multifunctional and organizational genius, the slick, round unit opens up to become a workspace, bar, or dressing table that can be effortlessly closed to hide clutter—it’s no wonder the Pill became an instant best-seller.

Emko’s rapid path to international recognition has been helped along by numerous exhibitions and participation in design fairs, amongst them the IMM Cologne (2013, 2018); Milan Design Week (2017); Maison & Objet Paris (2015, 2016, 2017, 2018); ICFF New York (2018); Singapore IFFS (2017); 100% Design London (2014); and Tokyo Lifestyle (2015, 2016, 2017). Emko is based in Vilnius, Lithuania.