American Design Hot List 2016
New York, wintercheckfactory.com
Wintercheck are giving new meaning to the term industrial chic, translating materials like safety glass and polyurethane rubber sheeting into unexpected yet dream-home-level furniture.
What is American design to you, and what excites you about it?
It’s less of a product and more of an exercise in craftsmanship or experimentation. In September we produced a show called TOUCHING at our studio, in which all of the designs took the concept of furniture and lighting but pushed past the standard definition of what a chair or lamp is. It seems way more important — and quite frankly less boring — to explore and exercise what design can be when you remove it from commercial constraints or the need to satisfy clients. So in that sense, American design is the experimental pieces that drive new trends, rather than just the latest version of an already proven design.
What are your plans and highlights for the upcoming year?
Right now we’re designing and building out a new show for early next year: an installation in our studio that functions as a bar. Instead of having a traditional opening and reaching as many people as possible, our goal is to make it a more immersive experience, with smaller groups and more time to get inside of and interact with the piece. We’ve also just been invited to show an installation of new designs at the Volta art fair in New York, which is celebrating its 10th anniversary in March.
What inspires/informs your work in general?
Our work is informed by concepts of transformation and of control. How can we take a material and force it to perform in the way we want? Inevitably that produces unforeseen results, but inspiration often comes through the moment when we fuck up the thing we were originally trying to do. Over the last two years, as we’ve pushed our work further from pure functionality to a more abstract place, we’ve drawn inspiration from artists like Scott Walker. Here’s a guy that went from singing saccharine teen ballads to recording a 20-minute avant-garde narrative about Attila the Hun that features the sound of meat being punched. The idea that there’s a thread that connects those two places, and that the path is traversable by anyone willing to tread it, is very exciting.