American Design Hot List 2017
Kin & Company
The collaborative studio of cousins Joseph Vidich and Kira de Paola, Kin & Company’s sculptural furniture pieces verge almost on art. Their work often centers on pushing a material to its limits, as in their Thin Series, a collection of metal tables and chairs so spare they look as though they might collapse — but don’t.
What is American design to you, and what excites you about it?
When we think of American design, we immediately associate it with technology and change. America thrives by questioning the status-quo — in science, politics, art, or design — while encouraging innovation. We have always admired the early modernist American designers, such as George Nelson and Charles and Ray Eames, for their ingenious experiments with new materials and manufacturing methodologies burgeoning at the time they were designing. There was a sense of immediacy during the post-WWII era which allowed designers to draw inspiration from science and technology as well as historical precedent. American design today embodies this legacy of experimentation and transformation in a world that is quickly becoming more compressed, more saturated, and more technological. American designers’ inherent optimism leads them to relentlessly question the boundaries of what a design object is or could be. This idealism, both courageous and fraught with individualism, is what excites us.
What are your plans and highlights for the upcoming year?
We are really excited to be working on a brand-new collection for the Architectural Digest Home Show in March. We’re showing a more extensive collection, with larger pieces, than we have shown before. All our pieces to date have been developed individually; this new collection will be our first to be designed as a cohesive unit. This has made an enormous difference in our ability to delve deeper into the concepts and aesthetics of the new work. We’re also working on some collaborations with other designers, which we may debut at the AD Show or later in the spring.
As creative partners, and cousins, collaborating is such an integral element of our practice. It’s when we set our egos aside and open up to each others’ perspectives and ideas. We believe that taking those risks enriches our designs, and we can’t wait to expand that collaboration even further! Currently, we’re in the research phase of our design process and have been experimenting with a variety of materials and techniques that we’ve never used before. It is a really important part of our work to explore the physicality of the materials alongside the conceptual development. We can’t tell you yet what the pieces will look like, but there will definitely be a lot of rich colors, reflective and translucent surfaces, and of course sculptural metalwork.
What inspires or informs your work in general?
We draw constant inspiration from materials. We’ve worked with metal for years and never cease to be amazed at the multitude of forms it can assume. It is extraordinarily versatile in its ability to be stretched, cast, bent, joined and molded. We are also fascinated by materials and objects that mediate between our bodies and the environments surrounding us. Hand tools, for example, are unique in the way they augment our abilities. Recently we’ve been obsessed with the deceptively simple craftsmanship of Neolithic stone tools, yet they were state-of-the-art technology for thousands of years!
For the new collection, we are looking towards less tangible matter to inform the work. We are particularly interested in experiences that bring us into the present moment. Smell, for example, is a sensorial experience that immediately prompts a strong emotional response, almost before you even know it is happening. We are also in love with the work of James Turrell and Olafur Eliasson for their use of light to create space and how they can so quickly disorient the viewer. The exciting part is transcribing these ephemeral phenomena, which are inherently fleeting, into objects that engage and provoke the space around them.