American Design Hot List 2017
New York, pelledesigns.com
The husband-and-wife team of Jean and Oliver Pelle — architects who began designing furniture together in 2011 — had been on our radar for a couple of years. But in 2017 they took things up a huge notch with a jewelry-inspired collaboration with Erie Basin and a collection that turned stone offcuts and rough, construction-grade wood into something beyond sophisticated.
What is American design to you, and what excites you about it?
American design feels like it’s having a big moment in the global design scene right now. We see the influence that the Americans have in Europe and that is very exciting. What’s also interesting is that there’s a big range to American design work and it’s harder to categorize under a single umbrella term. The heterogeneity is unique. America always had the benefit of being young. There is also a uniquely warm and approachable quality in general. We think it has something to do with the direct feedback loop between designers and their work to their clientele/audience. The designer is taking control of their work — how it is made, presented, and sold.
What are your plans and highlights for the upcoming year?
2018 will be the ten-year anniversary of the Bubble Chandelier, a DIY article Jean wrote back in 2008 for the now defunct ReadyMade Magazine. The original prototype for The Bubble Chandelier became a full collection of 11 models and is a significant part of our studio’s foundation and identity. We think that it deserves a radical revisit to see how far we can push the idea of The Bubble Chandelier. It is a bit like writing our own history by revisiting our earliest piece. We are very curious to see where that will lead.
What inspires or informs your work in general?
PELLE is really the work and voice of both of us. We like to say that it carries both our DNA. What we have in common and what is constant to our work is the desire to create very personal work. To simplify, our influences range from pop culture that has stayed with us from the ’80s and ’90s to architectural theory from the Grays vs Whites era. We look in the direction of what grabs us — emotionally and visually. We find parallels in other creative fields such as music, film and fashion because we believe that these fields mirror our own. We like the idea of an ever-changing set of ideas that relate more to our given starting point rather than a specific overarching brand identity. We like the idea of a swinging pendulum where we are reactionary to our latest output. It keeps the work interesting to us and it allows us not to be narrowed down to a specific style. We think is more of a sensibility that unites our work. In the end, we need to be personally satisfied with the work.