Thirst asked Chicago designers to choose objects they’ve created and discuss.
What does this object say about you and your practice?
Porthole: The key concept behind this piece was to highlight time as an active ingredient in an infusion. In my collaborations with chefs and mixologists, I always try to glimpse the essence of things, underlying emotions, meaning, expectations. Then I try to articulate a physical manifestation of these concepts. The Portholes is an example of this. A window into a world where time takes on a different quality.
Team USA Bocuse d’Or Platter: This project is the result of a very close collaboration with Matt Peters, the chef representing the United States at Bocuse d’Or, probably the ultimate culinary competition. Collaboration tends to be the necessary key ingredient in all of my work. Clients in my mind are not passive, they are contributors, bringing their knowledge and perspective to the table.
How do you gauge the success of an object?
Many objects satisfy unintended goals and in that sense can be simultaneously successes and failures. Inevitably, our worlds are limited by our field of vision and the notion of a failure or success can be altered just by changing a vantage point. If we settle on the “expression of intent” definition of design, then conveying the intent is a metric for gauging success. Does it deliver the intended experience whether routine; aesthetic, or intellectual? On a very core level, objects are tools for experiences. Do they deliver those experiences?
Why do you design in Chicago?
My wife (the photographer Lara Kastner) and I moved to Chicago to work on the Alinea book project in 2005. Since then, we’ve become a part of an amazing community, our kids were born here, it’s our home. Chicago has a lot to offer to the creative industry but the truth is that we stayed here because of the people we met here.
Team USA Bocuse d’Or Platter
Plated Brass, Bone China, Aluminum, ABS, Silicone
Not available for purchase.
Rick Valicenti has led the Thirst design studio since its founding in 1989 and has established himself as one of the most visionary designers in the country, winning the 2011 National Design Award from the Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum.