April 16, 2017

A Q&A With Ishka Designs and Anna Kenoff, the Co-Creator of a Game-Changing New Interior Design App

Board combines your products library with a dream set of tools and the mobility to work and present anywhere. New in Board is Ava, a transformative, time-saving tool for interior design.

by New York Spaces

NIya Bascom and Anishka Clarke
Left: Niya Bascom; Right: Anishka Clarke.

Board Pro Presents Four Interior Design Game Changers from Morpholio on Vimeo.

NYS: Tell us about the new app Ishka Designs is working on promoting with Morpholio! What does its acronym, Ava, stand for?

Anna Kenoff: The app itself is called Morpholio Board. Ava, short for Automated Visual Assembly, is a new feature that magically turns your design or moodboards into a set of cut sheets and a furniture or material list for you. The idea is that designers want to work fluidly with images and let the data organize itself into the other sets of deliverables.

NYS: How can it be used as a tool for interior designers and architects?

Anishka Clarke and Niya Bascom of Ishka Designs (IDI): We are always presenting ideas and solutions to our clients both remotely and in person. The in person presentation can be very fluid, oftentimes with the need to make changes or introduce suggestions on the spot. The Board app allows us to make changes to the visuals, see specs, AND see the impact to the budget right there. This level of efficiency is just as useful in the office when ideas are flowing and we are whittling down options to the right solution. Instead of spending time making changes to the products list after the design is finalized, the app is creating the list in the background saving us time.

Board from Morpholio.

NYS: How and why was IDI selected by the co-creator of the app to take part in the promotion of Ava?

AK: Morpholio is always looking for talented creatives who have an interesting and fresh perspective. Anishka and Niya have an energy that is palpable in both their personality and their work. We knew that they would be able to help us tell the story because they were so clearly bursting onto the scene for a reason. Their head-turning work has both the restraint of a sophisticated eye and the energy that comes from a true passion for design and how it meets life in the everyday.

NYS: How and why did you, the co-creator of the app under the umbrella of Morpholio, come up with the idea for Ava?

Morpholio board
Morpholio invents tools for creatives.

AK: Morpholio was founded, created and is still fully run by architects. Luckily, two of them know how to code! We started when the iPad came out, but did not have any tools that were truly meaningful for designers. Our namesake first app was a digital portfolio, and then we took on sketching with "Trace". Board came along when we were all obsessed with Pinterest and starting to rely on it to build our own archives of ideas, inspiration, and project images. But, there was no next step to Pinterest. To operate on those 1000 pins in your "Dream Kitchen" board, you have to edit them, compare them, and juxtapose them until you reach a design that transcends the parts. We felt we could offer this thinking space to users. It's a place to playfully and intuitively explore and then, advance, your ideas.

Ava was born through team research of the interiors process. We realized that every project relied on three sets of documents that said virtually the same thing. The Design Board, the set of Cut Sheets for presenting options or specifying, and the List for purchasing or organizing the info for contractors or consultants such as upholsterers. Why not let designers do what they do best—DESIGN—and take care of the back-end for them? Now suddenly the iPad is offering something that no one else is, and that becomes meaningful.

Morpholio invents tools for creatives.
Ava not only allows a designer to do their work effortlessly and intuitively, it also becomes a powerful new presentation tool. With the tap of a single button Ava hides all of the editing functions and turns boards, cut sheets, and lists into a dynamic presentation that can be viewed with breathtaking clarity on the iPad or projected on to larger screens.

NYS: What does design mean to you both? How does Ava help you put your ideas into action?

IDI: Design is about possibilities and how they can provide the right answers to ongoing problems—the obvious problems and the ones we didn't even know we had! The right answers equate to longevity, i.e., solutions that don't need tweaking down the line. Getting to that point requires a great deal of exploration and development. Board's new feature, AVA, helps us get there by improving efficiencies through visual and backend aids.

NYS: We love that the app reduces key planning time for designers that is usually spent creating mood boards, presentations, and cut sheets and specs. How does this app change that for you? What do you think is the time difference if you had to guess?

Board integrates the Image Editing component from the Adobe Creative SDK for the highest quality photo editing. In addition, Board also integrates the Send to Desktop API from Adobe, which allows users to directly send an image file from within the app to the desktop version of Adobe Photoshop CC.
Board integrates the Image Editing component from the Adobe Creative SDK for the highest quality photo editing. In addition, Board also integrates the Send to Desktop API from Adobe, which allows users to directly send an image file from within the app to the desktop version of Adobe Photoshop CC.

IDI: Hmmmm, hard to say as this truly depends on the scope of work, which can differ wildly from project to project, and from designer to designer. Compiling budget spreadsheets, spec books etc., can be as long as the design process itself. Ultimately, any application that saves time in pulling together a thorough presentation is definitely worth it.

NYS: The other designers participating in promoting the app are just as innovative although with very different styles. What do you think brings you together?

AK: Morpholio was interested in voices that were "game changing" in some way. New technologies of production and fabrication are really opening up so many possibilities for us to think outside the box and actually realize our most fantastical ideas. With Ishka you see it in the custom fixtures, furniture, and even fabrics that they are creating to thread the most essential idea throughout the project. When you see the work, you can just feel that each of these designers is cultivating their own reality with it comes to color, material, and process and not taking "No" for an answer!

morpholio board
Board integrates the Image Editing component from the Adobe Creative SDK for the highest quality photo editing. In addition, Board also integrates the Send to Desktop API from Adobe, which allows users to directly send an image file from within the app to the desktop version of Adobe Photoshop CC.

NYS: How does Board's presentation tools differ from previous editions by other brands?

AK: We found a lot of interior designers using their iPads for presentation purposes, but they were simply saving Design boards from their desktop to their image library. When you go into presentation mode in Board, the interface disappears and you have a clean, minimalist view. We call it "magazine mode" because you can't get tripped up by accidentally pressing the wrong button. It is totally still. At the same time, if you are presenting to a client and they say, "Let's try this chair instead," you can zoom out, switch the chair, and they can participate in the test in real time. It can be projected onto a larger screen, or kept on the iPad for more intimate meetings.

NYS: What is your favorite part of the new app?

The integration with vendors, the photo editing options, and of course the back-end compilation of cut sheets and item lists.

NYS: As New York design influencers, what is something you would like other designers to know about Ava?

IDI: We're sure all our colleagues can relate when we say we are always pressed for time ahead of presentations. So anything that can improve overall efficiencies and free up time is seriously welcomed. Morpholio Board does just that.

NYS: When will it be on the market and where can it be purchased?

Board is available in the app store for iPhone, iPad here.

Cost: Free for Base use. Pro Tools have a free trial and then a monthly $3.99 or yearly $11.99 subscription.


Morpholio invents tools for creatives. Founded by four architects, their suite of apps includes Morpholio, a digital portfolio, Trace, for sketching and drafting, Board, for mood and design boards, and Journal, a sketchbook for drawing. Morpholio believes that design tools should amplify the creative process, that thinking with your hands is critical for creatives, and that smart software should be accessible to everyone.
Morpholio Board App for Interior Designers
The Board Gallery provides access to classics from Knoll and Herman Miller to Brunschwig & Fils, as well as favorites like Curated Kravet, Blu Dot and DWR. Selectively curated with thousands of new products, the gallery is also a place to discover the most cutting edge, award winning design talents such as Uhuru, Juju Papers, Volk, Rejuvenation, Porcelonosa, Tandus-Centiva, Dyson, Davis, Token, Lutron, Newell, and many more.

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