M A T E R I A L L U S T | With a body of work that is rich in character, narrative and ever so subtly evokes a sense of curiosity and engagement, New York based design house Material Lust truly is a gem in a city abundant with design. Thoughtful design driven by a thoughtful process... their 'Soliterian' philosophy to design is just as refreshing as their works.
[ Sananm Miremadi ] Can you explain this 'Solitarian' philosophy and how it's woven into your creative process?
[ Material Lust ] The Solitarian idea really came from separating ourselves from the gallery and showroom system in NYC. There is this PR fuelled game in New York that we have no desire or ability to compete in. We removed ourselves to our own creative island and try to live and work outside of the "system". In the beginning we felt a need to keep up with that race but now we have learned to thrive outside of it.
[ SM ] There is something quite raw and beautiful to this process that lends itself to being a sort of catalyst for experience. I feel when you are unable to label something or pair it with like things you're more likely driven to experience it.
How do you personally experience your works, both within the creative process and post?
[ ML ] While creating the work we are focused on making sure we are exploring all avenues of form and material. We want to make sure that whatever the final product ends up being it has a reason for existing. That ends up putting a lot of pressure on our creative process but I think it helps us push our idea as far as possible. We make sure the piece has started from an extreme place so that we have room to tailor it. When the work is done we like to break from it and move on. Once it is photographed there is no reason for us to go back to that place creatively. We don't spend any time reflecting, just on to the next.
[ SM ] Do you have a vision for each piece or collection, in regards to how you'd imagine it being experienced or engaged?
[ ML ] The function of the work is inherit because it is lighting and furniture. We hesitate to say that function follows form because in reality all our work proportionally functions really well. Especially with our upholstery, we made it as comfortable as possible because that is how a user would ultimately judge a sofa or club chair. Our goal is to have people living their lives with our art in their home. To have our work be apart of someone's everyday life in their personal space
[ SM ] The entire breadth of your work is also so rich in narrative, in a way... your pieces feel alive. Would I ever be so fortunate to own a piece, I'd name it. Really, I would.
Conceptually, what role does narrative play, if any?
[ ML ] It's maybe less about a narrative and more about where our work fits in the historical timeline of Art and Design. We are preoccupied with paying homage to the wealth of artists and designers that came before us and honoring that commitment and sacrifice.
[ SM ] I'm also curious as to where the narrative falls. Did the story create the design or did the design breathe life into the story?
[ ML ] The story is probably written by the work. We are big believers in making the work BEFORE you talk about the work. We don't believe in doing fantasy renderings and showing them to the world. It has to exist in three dimensional space for people to experience before the narrative comes into place. Its really up to critics and users to come up with a narrative. It's dangerous for an artist to explain in detail the context in which the work is created. I don't think for our work we could ever fully explain what the narrative is even if we tried because we are too close to it.
[ SM ] There is also a subtle macabre, maybe even mischievous or playful tone within your works; injections of yourselves maybe? And I mean this as compliment, all good things are a bit cheeky.
[ ML ] We do not shy away from the occult or macabre. The darker the subject matter the better. We want the user to feel that the work has an otherworldly quality.
[ SM ] You also work as a duo and often collaborate. I find this quite admirable as creative partnerships can lend themselves to being challenging, for no other reason than the process being so instinctual and personal ... often the hardest experiences for us to share.
What is your process with each other and how has that impacted your work?
[ ML ] It can be a challenge. In the beginning we would get very depressed about our fights and start to lose faith in the the whole process. Slowly we started to embrace the battles and realize that it's an important part of the process. Without the strife the work can never be taken to that extreme place. We are both hyper critical which can be exhausting but it ensures that the work has been but through its paces and that all possibilities have been explored.
[ SM ] I imagine it's a unique and rewarding process in itself to collaborate on this level. An automatic sense of continuous growth seems to attach itself to collaborative environments vs. getting lost within your own process. We often need others to challenge, inspire and refocus us.
Do you find you work in a singular or more complimentary manner?
[ ML ] We meet throughout the day and bounce ideas off of each other while working. We are still settling in to our rhythm and everyday we learn more about each other. We have been dating for 7 years but I still feel like there so much more we can unlock in each other. Our experiences evolve and it shows in our work right away. Having a partner to constantly experience the world with makes it easier to absorb inspiration and turn into something. You are both experiencing something from different perspectives and it makes it easier to talk about since you where both there. It's really a unique partnership and we are lucky to have found each other.
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