American Design Hot List 2018
New York, iancochran.com
Sculptor and photographer Ian Cochran has only designed a single table, for Fernando Mastrangelo’s second In Good Company exhibition in September. And yet it was so major — made from thick interlocking slabs of purple resin with a clear curved top — that we felt compelled to mark him as one to watch, as he further develops the design side of his practice.
What is American design to you, and what excites you about it?
American design, or history, isn’t that old. Without tradition-setting precedent, American innovation works by constantly trying to reinvent the “new.” The precedents that are set don’t last long. Without a history of tradition setting boundaries, there’s a great freedom to explore new and old, mix the two, make bad look good, or be the best at what’s popular. American design is both limitless and inviting.
My imagination tends to run on high speed, so I enjoy the freedom of chasing after whatever wild ideas I have. I’m excited about the tight knit community of design in America that I’m getting to know. Working alongside the other creatives that make up this dynamic landscape is a huge inspiration and I love that aspect.
What are your plans and highlights for the upcoming year?
Come January, I will have moved into my new studio with a fellow coworker, Bailey Fontaine, a designer himself. It’s part of a bigger project space that I think will be really exciting, fostering collaboration and conversations. Another big thing for me coming up will be bringing my next set of ideas to physicality. My Plump Table is my first foray into design, and furniture design specifically, so I have lots more that I want to work on.
What inspires or informs your work in general?
Up until my Plump Table, my work as an artist focused on our reality and the perceptions that form it. I played around with this idea through mainly sculpture and photography. A series of photos I did look like the surface of Mars, but are actually macro photos of iron oxide dust fragments the size of a pin head. It’s investigations like these that have lead to my interests in varied materials, as well as my fascination with effects that play with the eye. I love to research. Sometimes I tend to research too much; I just emailed a nanoparticle company about silicon dioxide spheres. Inspiration for me comes from not knowing the limits and trying to find out more.