American Design Hot List 2023
New York, astraeusclarke.com
With their studio officially founded only in August 2022, Chelsie and Jacob Starley of Astraeus Clarke might be the newest talents on our list. Recently moved from Utah and newly settled in Brooklyn, the duo released a series of six lights, each inspired by personal stories or reminiscences from their home state or their adopted borough. Among our favorite of their pieces: the scalloped Lenox pendants and chandelier, which were inspired by a walk in Greenwich Village, and the Alpine lamp, whose V-shaped notch mirrors one found at Lone Peak in Alpine, Utah.
What is American design to you, and what excites you about it?
America is distinct and full of bold contrasts. You can find quiet and chaos, rural and metropolitan, snow-capped mountains and dry desert sand, jazz and hip hop, progress or a reluctance to change. American design is a reflection of the people and the cultural climate. It’s a conglomerate of beliefs, skills, and thoughts. This produces designers who take risks, use history, and envision the future to develop new styles or define new methods of manufacturing. Everything has a stage and everyone can have a voice: Does that mean all American design is good? No. But what excites us is that anyone — an accountant, a plumber, a chef — could wake up and try their hand at making a chair. Their background and experiences might inform their design in a unique way. If the design is good (what is good?) it can gain attention, and no one cares who this person is, their history, or where they came from. Anyone, at any time, can release a beautiful and thoughtful collection as unique and interesting as the ideator themself. We love that American design can be as diverse as the people that populate it. Our personal community of designers in New York are kind, talented, and inclusive, about which we feel very fortunate.
What are your plans and highlights for the upcoming year?
2023 will be our first full year as a studio. We are excited to host our first show during New York design week. We are also looking forward to three new original pieces being shown on the Lovehouse gallery floor this January. We have ambitious plans and product launches we are eager to share throughout the year.
What inspires or informs your work in general?
The feeling of the perfect meal in an idyllic setting; when you stay up way too late and get all sweaty on the dance floor; trying on a wool jacket that drapes perfectly over your body. We set out to create pieces that embody these moments. When we envision a space, we try to approach it holistically. What emotions does it evoke? What lives on the walls, floor, ceiling? How do they all work together? We love unexpected functionalities and are inspired by moments like when you find out that your wooden cooking spoon has a hole in the center to serve as the perfect measuring tool for one portion of spaghetti. We are inspired by everyday moments, such as: the views from our windows in the places we have lived, the mineral collection at the Natural History museum, building trim, fire hydrants, and bridges we see on our walks to the train, 60’s Italian fashion and Thai silks, metal forges and hydraulic presses.