American Design Hot List 2018
Objects of Common Interest
New York and Athens, objectsofcommoninterest.com
Founded by the Greek couple Eleni Petaloti and Leonidas Trampoukis, Objects of Common Interest is not only one of the most prolific studios we’ve seen in recent memory — constantly launching high-profile collections and installations, all while running a separate architecture firm at the same time — it’s also one of those rare outfits that seems to produce only hits, no misses. The pair simply have a killer aesthetic.
What is American design to you, and what excites you about it?
Contrasts, freedom, and openness to cultural interpretation has been our interpretation of American design in the way that we are a part of it, blending our European background with our American experience and international activity. American design offers an unprecedented openness to ideas, and a fertile ground for experimentation, innovation, and expression of personal identity.
What are your plans and highlights for the upcoming year?
We’ve started planning a major installation for the Art Athina fair in Greece. This is the 3rd year in a row where we’ve been invited to present a public installation piece, and it’s been our ground for experimentation, setting up our new ideas for the year and letting us explore materiality and concepts. Our office in Athens is moving to new exciting space and we’re doing some special objects for that space. We’re also designing a new series of light pieces that will result in an installation and a new collection. We’re working on an interior project for a dance studio in Williamsburg, for which we’ll create custom objects. And finally, a commissioned series of lounge pieces will be permanently installed at the rooftop of the Essex Crossing Development site in New York by the end of this year.
What inspires or informs your work in general?
Architecture — and ideas about volume, structure, articulation, materiality, plus dual notions of lightness and weight, transparency and opaqueness, and light and shadow — has always been our core source of inspiration, and a parallel discipline of ours by way of our separate architecture practice LOT. We’re attracted to simplicity, illusion, and natural references of momentary beauty that define mood and bring out certain feelings. We look at art rather than design in a search for clarity of concept, leading to stripping ideas down to an abstract expression, then injecting practicality to make our work balanced with room for personal interpretation.