Ladies & Gentlemen Studio’s Form Studies
When we first interviewed Jean Lee and Dylan Davis of Seattle’s Ladies & Gentlemen Studio back in 2012, they revealed that a sizable chunk of their design process happens on and around the shelves that line every room in their home studio and serve as a kind of 3-D inspiration board. The pair pick up any number of objects and offcuts that reside on them, then collaboratively ponder a simple question: “What we can do with this block of wood to make it an object?” Their work may have evolved considerably since that interview, but their methods have stayed pretty much the same — they still experiment in real-time using scraps and basic shapes, a practice they attempted to capture in these exclusive photos that mark the finale of Seattle Week on Sight Unseen. “It’s our standard approach when we’re working with new materials,” says Davis.
For our Sight Unseen OFFSITE show next month, the designers will debut, among other things, a line of lights designed around brand new glass elements they’ve had hand-blown by John Hogan, whom we profiled earlier today. As the pieces they commissioned began arriving in the studio, Davis and Lee began creating freestyle compositions around them, pulling in geometric objects and bits leftover from past projects as a way to explore possibilities for the glass beyond just the lighting designs they’d already sketched. The image above, for example, includes loose models for potential table lamp variations, made with brass caps from L&G’s existing series of wind chimes and offcuts they get for free from a nearby metal shop. “A lot of our work ends up cross breeding,” says Lee.
The glass noodle shape in the image at the top of this post was inspired by a necklace design Lee has been working on; after Hogan delivered it, Dylan had the idea that it could be a two-sided candlestick with a cast-metal base. That concept soon morphed into a two-sided vase, and then a hanging two-sided vase, suspended from a piece of cut brass the pair had lying around the studio. The noodle, says Davis, “works really well in this context because of the interesting contrast between this glossy form and the hanging plants that have all these different gestures.”
The designers aren’t totally sure yet whether the vase will make it to Sight Unseen OFFSITE as a real product — they’re still calling it a “rough draft” — but the noodle itself will certainly be there. The light fixtures they originally envisioned for it also integrate glass spheres, cylinders, and cones into a modular system that one can hang “in various compositions depending on the space,” Davis explains. Lee points out that the series marks the third time L&G have shown an experimental collaboration during New York design week, following projects with Ashley Helvey and Nicholas Nyland. “We use design week as an excuse to work with friends, and to push ourselves to try something new.”