GENTNER // WORKAHOLIC

Chicago-based design studio Gentner is the namesake label of Christopher Gentner. Equal-parts skillful craftsman, considerate sculptor and whimsical innovator, Gentner counts the recreation of the Frank Lloyd Wright Robie House gates among his accomplishments. With a BFA in metalsmithing from the Cleveland Institute of Art under his belt, followed by apprenticeships beside sculptors and jewelers,  Christopher had the background to establish his own line. In fact, Gentner finds its place at the crossroads of art and design, blurring the lines between form and function. This past January, Gentner took his latest collection, “Fraction” to Paris for an introduction at the Maison&Objet design fair. Each piece of furniture, lighting or object is the outcome of a dynamic approach where the aesthetics and the functionality of a design idea play off of each other for a more expressive – and true-to-self – implementation in the material world. We caught up with Gentner in his Chicago workshop for the latest edition of WORKAHOLIC.
Where is your workspace?
I moved into a new 40,000 sq ft space last year it is in a working class neighborhood on Chicago’s south side.
What made you turn in this direction?
I graduated with a fine art degree from the Cleveland Institute of Art and have always been afflicted with creativity. I have found a wonderful fit between creativity and my love of functional objects.
Was this always your dream job?
This was not always where I thought I would find myself. However I have worked hard to mold my life into what I feel is a dream scenario. I now have the time and resources to build the work that I find intriguing and I can do this with out having to have every piece be a big seller.
How much of the week is work and how much is play?
I’m sure I work too much. 6 or 7 days a week. However, I find great joy in making the things in my mind. That said, I do enjoy relaxing , cooking and eating, but what realy drives me is making the things that pop into my mind.
What has been the most exciting this you’ve done with your work and what is a dream situation you’d like to find yourself in?
I feel that the point I find myself in, at this moment, is the most exciting point in my creative life. I have built a structure that allows me to utilize the modern manufacturing facility that I have built over the years, to translate my ideas almost instantly into objects. There are times when I feel as if I wield  industrial machinery like a sumi brush in the hand of a master.
How do you find inspiration?
I find inspiration, all around me, all I need to do is quiet my mind and then the ideas cascade from my fingers.
How do you define your personal style: work, clothing, home etc?
My personal style is very much based in routine, black jeans black t-shirt every day for work. However, I do enjoy fashion, I love vintage Japanese watches, british sports cars, old German motorcycles and single malt scotch.

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