American Design Hot List 2018
New York, rosieli.com
We’ve always known Rosie Li was a star; after all, her first product out of design school back in 2011 was a Frank Stella–inspired geometric sconce, which was immediately picked up by Roll & Hill and remains in their collection to this day. But this year, Li added something to her collection that we hadn’t seen before: color, in the form of everything from rainbow-gradient bubbles to salt-patinated palm leaves in a brilliant oxidized blue. We can’t wait to see what comes next.
What is American design to you, and what excites you about it?
American design has this ‘can-do’ spirit. These days if you have an idea, you can go out and buy the materials, maybe watch a YouTube video, and dive in. There’s nothing holding you back, so there’s a sense of play and candor that feels less bound by tradition, and more informed by process — your process.
To me, that’s another facet of American innovation: taking stock of what exists in the canon, and using that as a point of departure. The results are deeply personal and unique; it’s why I find American design so exciting.
What are your plans and highlights for the upcoming year?
We’re working on a few hospitality projects at the moment — golden Blossom fixtures coming soon to a lobby near you! Jokes aside, we recently debuted a lighting series at A/D/O Shop, in collaboration with architect Michael Yarinsky. It was a challenge not knowing what the final products would look like. I love a challenge, though, and I’m excited to collaborate with more artists and makers this coming year.
What inspires or informs your work in general?
Everything stems from the natural world, and Mother Nature is the best engineer! I’m interested in the way things grow, bloom, and mature. By studying growth patterns, we can define and distill these concepts to reverse-engineer them as lighting designs. I also love perusing old Mathematics and Biology textbooks — charts, graphs, and diagrams really speak to me. When science and math aren’t cutting it, I enjoy looking at works by other artists — some of my favorites are Spencer Finch, Olafur Eliasson, and Julie Mehretu.