American Design Hot List 2014
A couple in life and business, Katrina Vonnegut and Brian Kraft make beautifully crafted, sculptural but functional work from natural materials.
What is American design to you, and what excites you about it?
The American design that we’re immersed in is rooted in the model of the self-sufficient, independent studio that thrives on taking as many aspects of production into its own hands. Working through the prototyping stages of experimentation and engineering all the way to manufacturing, this approach gives designers a dexterity with materials and a fluidity in their process that is really inspiring and has led to some great American design in recent years.
What are your plans and highlights for the upcoming year?
We recently expanded our studio and are finishing up the buildout in the next month, adding a new office and more space for machinery and work benches. Since we spend most of our time there, we’ve really made it a priority to plan the space to be as efficient and comfortable as possible. We’re really excited to see it come together, and we’ll be jumping right in to work on our new collection for 2015. We’ve also recently joined Colony, a cooperative showroom in downtown Manhattan, where we’ll be releasing one new piece this fall, along with new editions of our Crescent Lounge and Relief Mirror.
What inspires your work in general?
In the everyday, just getting into our studio and trying out new tools and techniques, working out shapes and joints, and devising new ways of combining materials. Our practice ends up being really integral, including occasional exploration in prototyping details and full-scale mock-ups often before we’re even done with any technical drawings. On a more ethereal level, we try as often as possible to get deep into nature, where we find inspiration for texture and form. We just got back from our annual hike on Mt. Katahdin in Maine. The landscape there is otherworldly and expansive and has such range of rock formations caused by glacial cirques. Throughout our most recent trip up and down the mountain, we collected so many incredible images of rocks and mushrooms and lichens. Right now we’re really excited to use them as reference for our upcoming collection.