American Design Hot List 2023
New York, lessermiracle.com
For Vince Patti and Mischa Langley of Lesser Miracle, designing is not simply about making furniture — it’s about world-building. This makes sense, considering their name derives from a spell cast in Dungeons & Dragons, and that their first collection developed after the gallerist David Lewis asked the duo to create a show of fantasy furniture. That debut included a throne-like stool and a daybed whose calligraphic pattern recalls the Alhambra in Spain; as Patti put it when we interviewed the pair last summer, “Creating your own world that doesn’t feel like a thing that you saw in a design magazine, that you were prescribed to like or be into or told was cool or was the thing of the moment, has always been very attractive to me. So for us, this collection was about really digging deep into a world of our own creation.”
What is American design to you, and what excites you about it?
We would say Mu: unask the question. We do not believe a unifying trait of American design exists for us to identify. At least we aren’t thinking about it if there is one. This practice is primarily about constructing a fantasy world, and the construction of a fantasy world as a withdrawal from reality. It is in many ways definitionally motivated by an intentional unawareness of its material setting.
When I (Mischa) imagined I was fighting orcs on the parapets of Gondor at seven years old, I didn’t wonder if the stick I was using as a sword had the right ratio of pommel to hilt. When we design a daybed for a sorcerer prince, it’s not in dialogue with a world that has Loewe candles.
What are your plans and highlights for the upcoming year?
The continuing project of Lesser Miracle is to expand beyond furniture, design, and art into a much more all encompassing program of world-building. Taking a set of values, expressed in aesthetic principles and applying them to music, performance, architecture, community, and infrastructure to create a world wholly new. This year we’re excited to bring this vision into new forms with the help of a wider group of collaborators.
What inspires or informs your work in general?
Mayan architecture, Brutalism, revenge, classic fantasy, rave culture, American folk art, evangelical Christianity, grief, our beautiful and talented friends, applied math, “fiddling while Rome burns.” Those are the big ones right now.