ONES TO WATCH
THE NEW BIOMORPHISM
Three rising studios crafting organic sculptural forms by hand
For our latest “Ones to Watch” column, we spotlight three rising studios embracing handmade techniques to create objects that celebrate natural forms and materials.
Before launching their Brooklyn-based studio, husband-and-wife team Jean and Oliver Pelle pursued promising careers in architecture. They met while earning master’s degrees at Yale School of Architecture and then went on to work for high profile firms—Jean for Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects and Oliver for Robert A.M. Stern Architects, among others. Just over a decade ago, they made the bold decision to pivot, spurred by their love of creative experimentation and hands-on making. Today, Pelle specializes in crafting made-to-order lighting, furniture, and objects that blend architectural thinking with sculptural expression.
“We like the idea of working within the lineage and history of design, but it’s a faraway backdrop for us,” the duo explain about their approach. “Generally, we are interested in creating new work that we feel is adding to the dialogue. We build upon our knowledge of materials and develop our own unique methods to create work that we want to see in the world. This is what keeps us engaged in the process and makes our day-to-day life at the studio exciting.”
Design editors and interior designers are excited too, most recently about the studio’s delicate Lure collection, an evolving series of flora-shaped lighting designs handmade in cotton paper. “After much experimentation, we found that we could cast cotton linter into any form, achieving an incredible amount of detail,” they tell us. “We also realized that because it was paper, we could paint onto the surface and add more depth. Since then, we have been developing new designs that incorporate more color.” Wary of committing their work to narrow definitions, they add: “But we don’t think that craft exists only with the handmade. We find a high degree of craft is achieved in the act of coordination and thinking through all aspects of assembly as well.”