In its latest Objets Nomades installment, Louis Vuitton partners with Texas-based designer and Matsys studio founder Andrew Kudless. We sit down with the creative to chat design, his collaboration and the intricacies behind his simple yet utterly intriguing new piece. Price upon request, by special order at Louis Vuitton, NorthPark Center
1. The Partnership
Louis Vuitton’s aesthetic sensibilities and commitment to fine craftsmanship are legendary. I knew its tough design criticism would push my process further, rather than hold me back. And I knew its artisans would make sure the shelves were fabricated to the highest standards using the best materials.
2. The Design
The challenge of the collection was to address movement or travel in a static object. … The goal was to highlight the tension between the wooden shelves and the leather straps. Although the leather is soft and supple, it is incredibly strong in tension, while the wood seemingly bends to that force like a tree growing on a windy coastline.
3. The Process
The process was so fluid and fast. Over two months I designed roughly 10 different objects (chairs, rugs, light fixtures) before we agreed to move forward with the shelves. It was exciting to see how fast decisions could be made and prototypes developed.
4. The Moment
My favorite detail on both shelf versions (free-standing and suspended) is the way the leather wraps around the wood. The wood opens up to accept the leather strap and you can feel the weight of the wood in the leather.
5. The Detail
On the free-standing version, there is a bit of an optical illusion; the leather strap isn’t actually under any tension. Instead, a thin cast-aluminum column is embedded in the leather strap and securely holds each shelf up. This illusion adds even more dynamism to the piece. You think it is suspended, but then realize there are no straps holding it up at the top. What appears to perform in tension is actually in compression.