“The fact that there is not one correct answer makes things more interesting for us...”
Wade and Leta × Creative Studio × Brooklyn, U.S.A.
Brooklyn-based artist Leta Sobierajski and her Australian work-life partner, Wade Jeffrey, have designed idiosyncratic experiences for brands ranging from Herman Miller, Mailchimp and The New York Times to Commes Des Garçons and Tate Modern. Their latest commission is a capsule series for Dims. — first up, a hot-and-cold rendition of Takagi Homstvedt's Alfa Lounge Chair + Ottoman, strictly for the confident chromaphile.
RE: MAKING IT WORK AS WORK SPOUSES
We’re a married couple slash creative studio. We’re trying to intertwine the two as much as we can. In our work, there’s a Wade and Leta world where we try to make everything in it together, and constantly evolve it. In that sense, we see work and life as being one and the same.
RE: CREATIVITY VS DESIGN
We like to say that our practice is about making things purposefully eclectic (say that three times, fast!). Our work is a reflection of our personalities, and we are expressive, creative people who surround ourselves with things that we love.
We don’t really call ourselves designers anymore, but our foundation is in graphic design. We’ve sort of developed this ability to re-contextualize the way we think into different types of media. In many ways it’s because we don’t want to grow stagnant, since there’s always an opportunity to learn, explore and grow in our work. What starts out as a half-formed idea can be applied to anything — a poster design, a wall sculpture, etc. That’s why we opt to call ourselves a creative studio rather than a traditional design or art studio.
RE: REMIXING ALFA LOUNGE CHAIR
In general, people are most creative when they are tied to some form of restriction; an open brief is the worst kind of brief. Knowing that we had a lounge chair to embellish, we asked ourselves — how could we express our point of view with material and color palettes? Using very different materials, like corduroy and bouclé, allowed us to stretch and exercise colors in new and unexpected ways. Texture contrast played a key role in delivering moments of sensory exploration for the user, as well as creating a statement piece that could be both expressive and relaxed.
“We’ve found that unexpected pairings of hot and cold colors tend to bring us some of the most pleasant vibrations.”
RE: COLOR THEORY
In our opinion, different hues produce a kind of ‘texture’ that may not be physical but ends up creating visual vibrations. We’ve found that unexpected pairings of hot and cold colors tend to bring us some of the most pleasant vibrations. That tends to be a strategy that we’ve employed quite often in our work. Hence the pink, green and blue for this collaboration.
We love working with physical textures as well! If anything, we want to make things even more chaotic for the visual cortex, because patterns will throw off where the fields of color intersect and form their own graphic contrasts. Whether it’s tangible or visible, there’s got to be some form of contrast with anything that we’re making.
RE: MALLEABLE EMOTIONS
Our creative decisions are always based on emotion — and we understand that everyone who interacts with the work will have their own interpretations of the colors we select. When it comes to colors, the associations and feelings sparked in people can vary wildly depending on where they are from, what they do or just how they’re feeling at that moment. The fact that there is not one correct answer makes things more interesting for us, as there is inherently no perfect color combination.
Bioscleave House designed by Madeline Gins and Shusaku Arakawa, East Hampton, 2008.
Image courtesy of Wade and Leta.
RE: HERO WORSHIP
Our biggest heroes are Arakawa and Gins. As artists and architects, they promoted the idea of ‘death resistance’ by way of mind stimulation. Their interactive work was often accompanied by extensive instruction — if you dared to engage with their confounding architecture, you were presented with a complex set of rules for navigating their spaces. Many of the spaces featured rough, undulating floors that prevented visitors from walking a simple path, instead forcing them to stay alert and aware. Walls were adorned with varying colors and materials to encourage confusion and constant recalibration while occupying the space. All of Arakawa and Gins’ spaces (and writings) are a challenge to decipher, which is why we’re so enamored with their work.
The Site of Reversible Destiny, Yoro Park
Designed by Gins and Arakawa, Gifu, Japan, 1995. Travel photos courtesy of Wade and Leta.
RE: REFERENCE REC
We constantly refer back to Josef Albers’ book, “Interaction of Color,” a bookshelf staple for all color lovers, which explains how humans perceive (and are deceived by) color. It helps us understand studies on the power of color juxtaposition and proportion within a space, on a page or within a composition, and how those factors have a tendency to deceive our eyes, causing all of us to process what we see differently. For instance, within the book, Albers demonstrates how 2 colors can often look like 3 separate colors when the right proportions are paired correctly together.
RE: NEW ECLECTIC
Please expect a purposefully eclectic approach to color! This collection is for those who are ready and willing to indulge in chromatic joy.
The Interaction of Color, Joseph Albers, 1963.
Published by Yale University Press in 1963 as a limited silkscreen edition with 150 color plates.