Arielle Assouline-Lichten designs furniture for everyone

Brooklyn-based designer Arielle Assouline-Lichten was trained in architecture at Harvard Graduate School of Design and has a substantial resume that includes work for international companies such as Bjarke Ingels Group, Snøhetta, and Kengo Kuma and Associates. Except, says Assouline-Lichten, “I didn’t even go to an architecture school when I wanted to be an architect. I just wanted to learn how to make things physically and know the tools. I always knew I was going to have an alternate path but I didn’t necessarily know what was going to become. She says this in a neutral tone, which is somewhat invigorating given the highly competitive and fast-paced nature of architecture. “I left this program without knowing much about the general world of design which includes furniture and products,” she continues. “I was kind of naively drawn to this small scale as I observed this maker culture in New York City.”

She started offering a host of design services with Slash Projects in 2014. She had followed Sight Unseen magazine’s groundbreaking reporting on the work of young designers and in 2016 she introduced the idea of ​​an exhibition stand. to SU founders, Monica Khemsurov and Jill Singer, for she designed her first furniture collection and founded her subsidiary, Slash Objects, the same year.

The Lella mirror, launched today, by Arielle Assouline-Lichten of Slash Objects.

Assouline-Lichten has an exceptional knack for enhancing the aesthetics instilled in everyday materials like rubber and stone, and a tendency towards minimalism that stands out in large part due to the integrity of the process in his work. When working on a residential project with an “old New York-inspired palette” that included marble, brass, and steel, she was simultaneously designing a gym and suddenly saw the floor sample in recycled rubber next to the others. Something clicked. “The challenge I set for myself was to take a recycled material that no one would think twice about, and elevate it by pairing it with these other durable and beautiful materials,” she says.

While enrolled in the GSD program, Assouline-Lichten was part of a group of 12 students selected to study for three months in Japan under the supervision of architect Toyo Ito, whose work and research in the aftermath of the tsunami of 2011 were the basis for a series of projects. which directly address the environmental, housing and community issues faced by internally displaced persons living in temporary caravan campsites. “We were thinking about how architecture could play a role in helping to create a sense of community, of belonging and of home,” says Assouline-Lichten. “In fact, as part of my group project, we were designing furniture and solutions on a smaller scale as something that would bring people together and as something that could translate into how the human body really relates to the human body. work built. The design reviews came from architects including Junya Ishigami and Kazuyo Sejima. This helped forge his vision of creating impactful architectural interventions for his master’s thesis titled “The Micro and the Multitude”, and composed of approximately seven “microarchitecture interventions in New York” aimed at transforming our perception of our immediate environment and the urban ensemble. . “It is essentially about the border between art and architecture and how these moments and these interactions with materials can allow us to reframe our preconceived notions of the built world. “

A detail of a Lella mirror.

The next step for Assouline-Lichten is a self-produced show that will coincide with NYCxDESIGN in November 2021. The location of the pop-up is to be determined, but one thing is certain: “I don’t want to do trade shows anymore,” she says. . “It’s not really the right platform, and I want to be open to bring the idea of ​​an experiential show and think about how much more impact it will have for the viewer.” The new pieces, a series of mirrors that intersect with her well-known marble cubes that she finds in slab remains near her Greenpoint studio, are the first in a series of upcoming works that will incorporate sinuous shapes for the first time. “I had never really worked with organic shapes before,” she says, “so the new mirrors are a variation, or maybe an iteration, that connects my earlier work to what I developed on the [Ellen’s Next Great Designer] show in 2020 ”—for which she layered onyx, brass, wood and stone in a four-piece collection called Rift to compete for the grand prize.

Arielle Assouline-Lichten comes from the world of architecture dominated by men and is now part of the world of design a little less dominated by men. She recognizes the importance of rewriting the history of design from an equality perspective. “I’m very inspired by the women who came before me like Eileen Gray, Gae Aulenti and Charlotte Perriand, and I understand what it took for them to create such enduring and impactful work,” she says. It’s something that informs each of his works, an ever-present awareness: “It’s part of the conversation to ensure that women are represented in the creation of furniture. I think it’s pretty crazy that a huge percentage of all the furniture we live in is designed by men.

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