American Design Hot List 2017
Los Angeles, anotherhuman.la
By day, Leah Ring works for an up-and-coming, Commune-trained interior designer in L.A. By night, she crafts pieces for her year-old solo line Another Human, often exploring semi-mystical materials like obsidian and rose quartz as well as more workaday ones, like acrylic. Her collection debuted earlier this year at Sight Unseen OFFSITE.
What is American design to you, and what excites you about it?
American design, to me, evokes an entrepreneurial spirit and a sense of experimentation. It comprises a wonderful mix of artists, designers, and craftspeople who are constantly pushing the boundaries of form and technique. America has always placed a great importance on innovation, and I think this can be felt in the American design scene — I’m constantly inspired by and in awe of individuals and small studios who are creating really innovative works, and also by the ingenious ways in which they’re bringing these products to market.
I think the rise of social media has broadened the landscape in an exciting way. We now can connect with independent designers in rural areas just as easily as we can with studios located in major metropolitan areas. It makes you feel like anything is possible — just try something and put it out there and see what sticks. There also seems to be a shift in the way people consume. It feels like people are paying more attention to where something is made, who is making it, and the story behind the piece, which I find to be incredibly inspiring and motivating as a designer.
What are your plans and highlights for the upcoming year?
For the coming year, I’m just trying to push myself to keep trying new things and creating work that challenges me in some way. As Another Human is still quite new, having launched in May of this year at Sight Unseen OFFSITE, I can’t say I have a thorough business plan laid out for the next year beyond trying to make as many new pieces as I can. Right now I’m working on a coffee table design and two very different lighting concepts — one more playful and one that I think is much more elevated. I also hope to do more interiors projects and/or installations.
On a small scale, I’m redesigning my bedroom right now, just for a fun design project. I’m also working on a small home accessory and I’m just as excited to build out fun sets for that product shoot as I am about the actual product. I like being able to bounce around between product and interior design, as I think my growth and point of view in one area certainly informs the other, and the way in which I approach those two creative processes are quite different for me. They scratch different parts of my brain in a way that keeps me curious and excited.
What inspires or informs your work in general?
As an interior designer, I spend a lot of time researching interiors, and I’m really inspired by the post-modern interiors of the late ’70s and ’80s. Something about those textures and volumes just speaks to me. Often I’m most drawn to things that I think could be written off as tacky, but upon closer investigation convey a certain irreverent elegance that I find to be so appealing. I love working with acrylic because I think it can be simultaneously luxurious and absurd — and because it’s translucent it requires you to think a lot about its application and surroundings.
I spend a lot of time on construction sites and am endlessly inspired by construction materials. I find that sometimes the most utilitarian materials are so aesthetically beautiful, and they just end up getting hidden! I’m also currently obsessed with the “In Residence” series on NOWNESS, which features the homes of architects and designers around the world. Of course the spaces are incredibly inspiring, but I’m so fascinated to learn about other creatives’ process and journey and I find that more inspiring than anything. It’s a great reminder that, while I of course want to keep making new work and pushing myself, it’s a marathon and not a sprint, and I plan on designing things until I’m an old granny so I’ve got time to develop my aesthetic.