“WE ARE artists masquerading as designers.”
Lauren Larson and Christian Lopez Swafford have moved to New York 12 years ago and met at the Parsons School of Design. After decided to work together and founded Material Lust.
Sons of fine artists, art and creating things was a large part of our childhoods, they never wanted to be anything else but an artists .
They work with master artisans from all over the world to get their product made and they have certain suggestions on construction that informs and educates their design process.
Material Lust is admittedly ominous aesthetic and identity in a movement they have coined Oppressionism. Oppressionism is defined by the combination of heavy-handed theatrics with high design and its exploitation of uncomfortable and often pornographic imagery.
A · Firstly, can you tell us a little bit about yourselves?
Lauren is from Portland Oregon and I am from Washington DC. We moved to New York 12 years ago and met at the Parsons School of Design. We instantly fell in love and eventually decided to work together. Lauren is a trained Interior Designer and I am a Product Designer so our talents complement each other.
B · What’s your favourite part of the design process?
Once our designs are all drawn up and specified the real design happens, working with the artisans. We work with master artisans from all over the world to get our product made and they have certain suggestions on construction that informs and educates our design process.
C · Please tell us more about your art and design background and what made you become an artist and designer?
Lauren’s mother is a fine artist and so is mine so art and creating things was a large part of our childhoods. I never wanted to be anything else but an artist.
D · Where do you get inspiration?
It varies but usually we look to the past to inform us on the future. Usually we are looking and focusing on a period in design/art history. We get bored easily though so we are constantly finding new sources of inspiration.
E · What was the movie or book that impressed you the most?
It would be A Clockwork Orange. I must have been 10 when I first saw it and the dystopian set design had such a strong effect on me. The trash strewn brutalist architecture scenes are sublime.
F · Can you describe your style, how has that style developed over the years?
We coined this term “Oppressionism” for our work. In the beginning our work was more confrontational and raw. Now we are trying to make beautiful things that still contain that raw energy.
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G · What are you working on at the moment?
A new furniture line that is very different in construction and style from our previous work. We want to launch a new line of work every year that has a new feel and vision then the work before it. We do not want to get stale.
H · For you what makes a product rare?
In these times it is “rare” to find items that are heirloom quality. Things being made by the cheapest materials for the least amount of money for the maximum margins is the new normal. We hope there is a backlash and consumers will start to grave high quality items that will last for generations. We focus on quality and craftsmanship with our work.
I · What would people be surprised to learn about you?
We are both hermits. We feel guilty when we are not working so we spend all our time in the studio. We call it “incubating.”
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