Thirst asked Chicago designers to choose objects they’ve created and discuss.
What does this object say about you and your practice?
Jax embodies the poetic juxtaposition which drives and defines our work—the precarious merging of the unlikely into one storied object. Pairing the machined with the handcrafted, Jax reinterprets the traditional chandelier for that familiar and yet unplaceable future past, collectively reimagined time and again in the pages or frames of science fiction and fantasy. A modern, precision-machined, star-shaped hub powers hand-polished cut crystals, connecting light, in endless modular configurations, like constellations with each prism throwing its own starbursts. A subtle chamfer crosses both materials, nodding to the archetypal cuts of chandelier prisms. The final futurist form of each chandelier system nods to a dreamt up intersection of architecture, light, power, time and space. As with every piece we create, Jax tells a story both in function and form.
How do you gauge the success of an object?
Not every story should be told and not every idea is worthy of being brought to life—we bear this weight of creation with each object born from our husband-and-wife studio. Every piece must be iterated through the fires of our personal dichotomies, engineer and artist, male and female, function and form. The marriage of these seeming dichotomies—machined and handmade, precise and imperfect, relevant and timeless—is the crux of our work and our story. Our work is not a collection from individual designers; rather, each piece could only exist through the merging of wills and minds. There is no meeting in the middle, which fully pleases no side. Rather, it is the undertaking of discovering an elusive line that orbits and encompasses both. Once a piece has found that line, we ask how it will age, materially and soulfully, through time. If we cannot imagine living with it in one-hundred years, we begin again.
Why do you design in Chicago?
Our city itself seems to share this affinity for resonating contrasts. We were both born and bred in the thriving modern metropolis of Chicago, so proximal and connected to the quiet, open space of the surrounding midwest. And with these two elements, we are empowered to connect to two very different worlds of artisans and manufacturers—exposing ourselves to greater diversity of material and methodology.
Precision machined aluminum with a satin anodized finish / High-powered LEDs / Hand-polished cut crystal in a clear or smoke finish
Purchase: direct via lakeandwells.com or through Chicago-based showroom Haute Living
Author: Rick Valicenti
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.