American Design Hot List 2017
Nun is the collaborative design practice of artists and designers Jessica Martin and Deon Rubi. Their work, which we discovered earlier this year, often mixes elemental materials, like glass, metal, and stone, with a contemporary, Miami-inflected palette.
What is American design to you, and what excites you about it?
Deon: I think design in general is an opportunity for dissent, to stray away from the known. American design is as diverse as America itself, and is driven by process and progress, which is so subjective. I think American design can be whatever it wants to be. It’s exciting to work in design in America, the hub of trends and consumerism, and constantly try to break that down while actively participating in it.
Jessica: It’s hard to talk about American design without the rise of industrial manufacturing, or how the speed of urbanization shaped patterns of consumption. It made room for diverse markets and broadened design to a larger audience. In some regard, I don’t fully consider myself an American designer, and I think that’s what interesting. Culturally, it’s a place that isn’t hindered by its past, which in many ways is what makes it powerful.
What are your plans and highlights for the upcoming year?
Deon: Together, we are curating a group show for this coming Art Basel, as well as working on a series of modular furniture pieces commissioned for a mobile gallery space. I have a solo show in February 2018 with Central Fine Gallery, where I will be showing new work that leans more towards art, with paintings and sculptures. I am also starting a consulting business.
Jessica: Recently, I’ve found myself diving more into architecture, thinking about design on a larger scale. I started working on on a series of stone objects that use the tension and weight of the material as a way of creating structure. The pieces are a study in iteration, and using remnants of stone, with all the limitations of their shapes, to create variation. I’m expanding these already made objects and drawings into a larger body of work, as well as continuing an ongoing series of large-scale paintings.
What inspires or informs your work in general?
Most of our inspiration comes from a place outside of design — mechanics, software, the Internet. The abundance of information, speculation, the materiality of new technologies, elasticity as adaptation, and also DIY. All of these things come together to form a hybrid of analog-techno objects that function in a way that’s more inspired by science than aesthetics.