Courtney Evans and Abby Ross, the designers behind Artish, create objects that don’t fully come into their own until people use them. From their studio in Raleigh, North Carolina, they create brightly colored, powder-coated steel tables and shelves along with smaller magnetic add-ons that encourage users to add a twist of their own.
"Our philosophy is that everyone is an artist or designer in some way, so we design and make products that are interactive and flexible," says Ross. "They’re all built with the idea of movement and change in mind."
Mixing architectural forms with colorful punches is natural for the pair. Evans is an architect who is also the creative director and owner of Tactile, a design and fabrication studio specializing in large-scale installations. Ross is trained as a graphic designer and works as an interior designer by day.
They met when Tactile fabricated some components for Ross’s home in 2014, kept in touch, and formally launched their studio in 2018. "Artish is our creative brainchild," says Ross. "It’s where we bring our ideas together."
Learn about why Ross would like to redesign the fruit bowl, and read her other responses to our Q&A below.
Hometown: Raleigh, North Carolina
Describe what you make in 140 characters. Our philosophy is that everyone is an artist, so we make interactive and modular objects and furniture that can be played with.
What's the last thing you designed? Together, we designed a set of nested tables with granite bases that fit together like ‘best friends’ necklaces.
Do you have a daily creative ritual? I have a corporate day job and I’ve found that doing this daily "practical" work actually helps me to be immediately creative and clear when I sit down to design and create. Plus I soak in the tub every day.
How do you procrastinate? I do every NY Times puzzle I can find.
What everyday object would you like to redesign? Why? The fruit bowl. It should be sculptural and visually interesting but fruit does not thrive when it’s piled on top of each other, which is how most fruit bowls function.
Who are your heroes (in design, in life, in both)? I’m a romantic so I admire a good design relationship: Charles and Ray Eames, Josef and Anni Albers, and Georgia O’Keeffe and Alfred Stieglitz, for example.
What skill would you most like to learn? The ability to speak any language.
What is your most treasured possession? My home and the people in it.
What's your earliest memory of an encounter with design? I went to see Frank Lloyd Wright’s Fallingwater house with my parents when I was young. I’ve returned three times since. I mean, I know it leaks and has cracks and was over-budget, but he had a vision and made it happen.
What contemporary design trend do you despise? Perfection. I prefer patina and scratches to perfection.
Finish this statement: All design should...be empathetic.
What’s in your dream house? A lap pool and a live-in massage therapist.
How do you think the pandemic will affect residential design in the future? What about workplace or commercial design? People are realizing that, without the ability to travel or socialize, their homes need to provide more. They need to have flexible, hybrid spaces. They want furniture and objects that are multi-use and not static. And they want to surround themselves with unique pieces and well-designed things that bring them joy since they’ll be looking at it a lot more!
How can the design world be more inclusive? Design-thinking and design skills should be taught in public schools across America.
The Dwell 24 2020
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