Karen Cunningham and Mandi King formed the design and business partnership, illumini, in 2010. Both experienced glass artists, they completed an Associateship at JamFactory concurrently in 2006–2007, after which they shared a studio together for a number of years at JamFactory and Blue Pony Studios.
The illumini business model is centred on craft design, sustainability, experimentation and community. Creating artisan products, Cunningham and King are seeking to carve out a market in which clients value the knowledge and skills of a craftsperson. The illumini design process begins with looking at the materiality of glass, including qualities of transparency, the ability to transmit heat and light, and its malleability when hot. Each of their products is designed to highlight one of these qualities.
Combining aspects of craft, design and architecture, the illumini Greenhouse functions as equal parts garden and artwork. Cunningham and King were keen to question what a greenhouse would look like if it were made by a glass artist or craftsperson. Looking at pragmatic concerns as well as its aesthetic, illumini designed the Greenhouse to be user friendly, to recapture water and to create ideal conditions in oxygen and humidity for plants to thrive. illumini have made the blueprint of the greenhouse design available as an open source document, transforming it into a DIY project for other craftspeople.