Pulsing with tension, Christian Lopez and Lauren Larson found themselves with the need of a new creative outlet. An outlet without boundaries, without creative comfort, and one that continues to play on the values learned from both of their fine art mothers.

These New York City based artists who masquerade as designers are the founders of Material Lust, creating work that at the core always references the art as the extra layer. Their work is meant to illuminate the darker side of furniture and interior design. Working on carving out their own lasting space in artistic history, they are never satisfied. They are obsessed. The quality of their work not only serves to prove that but demand it.

Who are you and what do you do?

We are artists masquerading as designers. We both have artists for mothers and spent time growing up in their studios. We attended Parsons, which is a very academic design school. Now, as designers we are rooted in this artist background that stems from our childhood. Our designs are more thought of as art- functional sculptures than design. We are artists working in the medium of design.

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What made you turn to this direction?

I graduated with Industrial Design and Lauren with Interior Design. Prior to start of Material Lust we were both working for other design companies that were very service driven. Material Lust served as a break and a place where we could do and work outside of where we were employed at that time. It was our needed creative outlet and initially our side project relief.

We were both respected in our chosen fields. As an industrial designer I take on the engineering side of things. Lauren as an interior designer can see proportions, scale and placement. With Material Lust, we were making things we saw did not exist in the market that we were working in everyday. Pieces that were more art driven. Given our backgrounds these pieces became things we could make properly, use well thought out materials and have precision engineering. Having the luxury of navigating both worlds and our previous exposure to high-end clientele and access to leading galleries it felt like the perfect marriage and the right direction to completely evolve Material Lust.

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Was this always your dream job?

Christian wanted to be an Illustrator originally. While I was in school there was always the ‘I want to become’ type dreams. We both never wanted to be put into a box of who we are and what we make. Once you start hustling and doing it, the dream continues to grow and grow. Not in the way you want more as in more, but the perspective changes on what’s truly important. Good thing there is a clear vision of grand from both of us. We make two collections a year that are very different and push us to evolve and stay ahead of trend.

We are following the ‘staying on the dream path’. We are doing what we think is best and opening our own gallery. We want to constantly evolve and maintain full creative control so we can keep our work out there.

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Where is your workspace?

Our live/work studio in in Gramercy Park and our gallery will be opening up in the lower east side on Chrystie Street. The gallery is going to be called The Annex. We are going to utilize this space as a rotating installation every six months so more people can have access to it.

How much of the week is work, how much is play?

All of our week is work. We live for what we do. Our work is our daily life. We travel to Florence and Northern Italy twice a year as we have our work crafted there. It is “work” because we are visiting shops, having things made, seeing prototypes but it is the most fun ever. Eating pasta, drinking wine and living in brass shops while travelling in Northern Italy…we couldn’t think of a better job than that.

Our only amount of traditional play is we are extreme work out people.

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What has been the most exciting thing you have done with your work, and what is a dream situation you’d like to find yourself in?

We don’t get excited. We are not in a place where we are excited yet. We don’t take a step back and revel in our accomplishments. We are always finishing something and moving on to the next thing. We are never really satisfied. Of course, we are happy about the situation we are in but we never feel like “okay, we’ve accomplished enough. Let’s stop now.”

A dream situation for us is really building out our gallery. Starting small, keeping it controlled but begin expand slowly. Eventually, we would like to make our New York location larger and expand to Paris. We like New York because it is difficult. You cannot just open a gallery and make it. We view Paris in the same regard of challenge.

How do you find your inspiration?

We like to focus on the old world. Old world craftsmanship, old world materials but execute new work and new designs. We are not trying to reinvent the wheel in anyway. We are not experimental with materials. We love to honor the material as much as possible.

Our inspiration comes from a lot of artwork. Our first collection was called ‘Geometry was God’. It referenced alchemical, pagan and hieroglyphic symbols. It was the way people were communicating, the languages people were using before it was language. We were inspired to take this form of communication and language and translate it into design. Instead of referencing old pictures of old furniture we were referencing art and wanted to start at the beginning. So we started looking at cave drawings, symbols, and religious iconography.

Now for the new collection we are looking at surrealism, primitivism, renaissance paintings, illustrations and Vienna Succession.

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How do you define your personal style, work and clothing, etc.?

We are uniform people. We are very much our brand and that has been important to us. We wear uniforms and it is all black. It is more of a neutralizing between femininity and masculinity. Often times we are wearing the exact same outfit and that way people will take us both the same. Wearing all black is not taking away from the work.

What’s something someone may not know about you?

We are not social. We eat, sleep, and breathe work. We are hermits. We like to stay in our creative bubble. We have a lot of design friends but we do not have a lot of social friends. We keep this circle tight.

Anything else you would like to say or for us to know?

All of our pieces have strife and struggle. They are very well thought out before they come to fruition. It does not come from a quick sketch and we decision to make it. Most of our work is deeper than that. We never want to make anything pretty. We are trying to make pieces that are heirlooms that you buy and pass on down to your family.
We want the buying of a chair to be treated as piece of artwork. The quality is there and it demands this treatment.

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