Kovert Design Evolves into VINAYA

Muchaneta Kapfunde | @FashNerdEditor

Kovert Design has evolved into Vinaya. As of the 1st November 2015, the company will be split into two interconnected parts: the Lab and the Studio.


Founded by Kate Unsworth in 2013,  the Shoreditch based research and design house was built on its need to better understand how our dependence on technology affects our ability to be human. Now with the future in mind, Vinaya will delve deeper into the science of the modern human condition. So why the change? In their own words Vinaya shared, with FashNerd.com, the reasons behind their evolution:

We are a research and design house creating lifestyle-enhancing technology products. We exist as two interconnected parts: Lab and Studio.

The Lab,  explores the intersection of technology,neuroscience, philosophy, psychology, and mindfulness in relation to the modern day human condition. We conduct research, design experiments, and cultivate new technological concepts to inject into our Studio’s design and innovation process. The Studio creates design-led technology products that elevate productivity, tranquility and wellbeing.
Introducing Vinaya
The spark that ignited our company came about in February 2013, when Kate recognised that her screen-obsessed ways were impacting her ability to be empathic and present. After an eye-opening two week digital detox and some much-needed introspection, Kate realised the importance of re-establishing balance in her life. But despite her best efforts, she found it near impossible to manage her city-dweller  lifestyle without being somewhat digitally connected.
The problem was that Kate found she only had two digital options: ‘ON’ or ‘OFF’. She couldn’t find a sensible way to remain connected to the most important people/things, but silence the noise. Worst of all, the more aware she became of her digital habits, the more she realised she only had herself to blame. This repetitive checking ‘just in case’, and her mind’s ability to wander back to her phone at the slightest pause in conversation, was almost paralysing.
Vinaya AKA Kovert Design

So began her mission to reset the balance between digital and physical. Quickly she realised that, despite best efforts, her attempts were futile as she didn’t have the right tools required. She realised she needed ALTRUIS.

Over the past two years, Kate and her co-founders Dan Möller and Fabio Pania have been busy building a likeminded team to help make their vision a reality. Each day has been consumed with philosophising, designing, engineering, researching, testing, strategizing, and optimising.

From humble beginnings, VINAYA is now a fast-growing family of curious minds, representing 18 countries and speaking over 30 languages collectively. The team is made up of engineers, data scientists, product designers, neuroscientists, digital anthropologists, strategists, and creatives.

The Vinaya Kovert Design Team
The Vinaya Kovert Design Team

In the past year, we’ve made a dent in the fashion and wearable technology worlds with mentions in Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, The Financial Times, Fast Company, The New York Times, BBC, and many more. But these were just baby steps… Our learnings from building ALTRUIS have fuelled us with even more passion to widen our scope.

As VINAYA, our mission is to create a modern science hub that encourages cross-pollination of a range of expertise in order to better to understand the human psyche.

Sitting at the intersection of neuroscience, philosophy, psychology, and mindfulness, we delve into areas such as human connection, happiness, tranquility, stress, hyper-connectivity, depression, anxiety, sleep and productivity.

Our name draws inspiration from the sacred Sanskrit word ‘Vinaya’, referring to the disciplinary teachings of Buddha that play a pivotal role in monastic life. Unlike the Dharma– or the Truth expounded by Buddha, which is not changeable under any circumstances– certain Vinaya rules should in fact be adapted to reflect the modernisation of society. Similarly, we believe we must adapt to an ever-changing society and evolving technological landscape, but without losing connection to our core human truths. This is one of the greatest challenges faced by today’s generation.

In our Lab, we formalise a foundation for a body of research on the relationship between humans and technology. In our Studio, insights from our research are injected into designing meaningful technology products.

All of these activities will take place at our new home, VINAYA HO– USE, a 3-storey building in the heart of East London’s Shoreditch. We’ll soon open our doors to a community of experts and like-minded ideators, with a range of activities such as science lectures and cutting-edge experiments.

We believe that it’s only through facilitating such a human-centric research loop that we can arrive at meaningful solutions. Our aim is to become the go-to resource for lifestyle management in the digital age, and to pave the path for mindful technology innovation. 

Want to find out more about Kovert Design’s new beginnings? Visit VINAYA.