Misha Kahn says Katie Stout is one to watch

July 29th, 2015


Collective Design is always proud to engage a diverse range of design voices, providing a platform for both established and emerging designers year round. We asked a few members of the design community–architect Terence Riley, collector Beth Rudin DeWoody, Sight Unseen co-founders Monica Khemsurov and Jill Singer, curator Nessia Pope and designer Misha Kahn–which up-and-coming talents they’ve got their eyes on, and who you should look out for, too. You can find their responses below–some of which may surprise you.

Terence Riley
Partner, Keenen/Riley

Piet Houtenbous is one of my favorite designers. In many ways he represents the design ethic of RISD, from which he graduated. All of his designs are very well conceived, very well made and somehow appear as if they were destined to look the way they do. His Diamond Mirror [above] is a great example. But the real signature idea is how much he thought about how you hang such a large object without a conventional frame: the mirror has a magnetic backing that adheres to a steel plate mounted to the wall, allowing it to lie near completely flush against the wall. While Piet is very well known among his design peers, he remains a too-well-kept secret to a larger audience.

Beth Rudin DeWoody

Reza Feiz, a creator of furniture, lighting and objects and the founder of Los Angeles-based Phase Design takes iconic mid-century design to the next level, giving it a contemporary feel. Influenced by the work of modernist architects Pierre Koenig, Richard Neutra and John Lautner, among others, Feiz makes work that often meshes and transcends a number of styles. His lighting design in particular take retro forms—comprising woods, metal, ceramics and fiberglass—but feel very modern

Monica Khemsurov and Jill Singer
Co-founders, Sight Unseen

We can’t get enough of Studio Spruzzi, based in Los Angeles. Spruzzi is the joint project of sculptor Matt Paweski and his partner Gillian Garcia, a filmmaker. The duo are enigmatic—they’ve been doing this for almost two years and don’t have a website to speak of, though they do have an Instagram account which offers peeks at some of their lamps—but they have an amazing, Josef Hoffmann-esque aesthetic that feels really right for this moment, at least to us. Also, we’ve been obsessed with cross-disciplinary practices ever since Sight Unseen launched five years ago, so a sculptor and filmmaker designing lamps is always going to pique our interest.

Nessia Pope

Marcelo Ferraz, the talented founder of Brasil Arquitectura, draws inspiration from his country’s colonial history. His preferred material is wood, which is native and abundant in Brazil. Working without decoration or unnecessary elements, Ferraz obtains structurally sound results that are dense and light at the same time—tactile, sensual and ultimately very beautiful. His buildings have a contemporaneity that is universal; at the same time, they profoundly reflect a culture that looks into the past but finds definition in the future.

Misha Kahn

Katie Stout (a former RISD classmate and good friend) is one of my favorite designers. Her work exists as slightly perverse products of a designer destined to become a power cross between Martha Stewart and Pee-Wee Herman. One of my favorites is a toilet paper holder a la Ren (of Ren & Stimpy) proportions in a gloppy, bubble gum texture. It’s tactile, slightly disgusting and feels like a product that could only come from the big-box store of Stout’s imagination. Unlike the drab products of a sleek culture obsessed with needless simplicity, Stout’s creations invite us into a world that’s more vivid, brash and ready for a reckless party.

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