Meet Alison BergerAuthor:Candace Abbott
Known for her exceptionally captivating work with light and glass, LA-based artist Alison Berger released an experimental collection this past September eloquently titled, ‘Lyra Series.’ This bold group, where Alison drew inspiration from the hues of decadent velvet boxes meant to transport microscopes and telescopes, allowed her to play with colored metal and transcend time. And transcending time is something that Alison is quite passionate about. We managed to catch up with Alison and talk about all the things that make her work so evolutionary and beautiful. As the first American artist to partner with Hermes on a dedicated product line, Alison is in a class all her own. She manipulates light and glass giving them both a fluidity that is within the confines of a single structure. Her work is thoughtful. Her work is thought-provoking. Her work is simply beautiful. With her work featured in museums and celebrated all around the world, we’re thrilled to have chatted with Alison as she shed light on what makes her the master that she is.
Explain the importance of travel and how worldliness influences your designs.
More than physical travel, I like to think that I travel back in time. I am drawn to the rites and rituals of past societies and what that reveals about the time and culture in which people lived. History, science and culture all have profound influence on my work.
When traveling, I am most drawn to architectural spaces that contain and hold the light. The Pantheon in Rome continues to be a place of wonder for me.
What design styles do you find most appealing? Modern contemporary, mid-century, minimalist, eclectic etc.?
The most appealing styles are minimalist and eclectic, with pieces having a wabi-sabi appearance. Clutter drives me nuts. I already have enough clutter in my mind! The serenity of clean lines, open space, and clear surfaces that can become a backdrop to pieces that have a personal meaning and history are what I find most appealing.
Tell us your approach to design. What kind of satisfaction do you get from it?
Refine, refine and then refine again. Having the persistence to pursue a concept until it feels right is what drives my approach to design. There is a certain vibration when a piece feels correct. I am grateful to work with a team that pursues that distinction with me.
What do you think a well-designed room with the proper lighting does for someone’s quality of life?
The proper quality of light is about layering. The use of a space varies based on the amplification of illumination. It has been exciting to see that, over time, lighting has taken on a sculptural presence in design; this allows for more contemplative and meditative environments to create space for slowing down and quietude. In turn, I believe that this makes our living and work spaces much more calming spaces to be.
What drew you to study design and pursue a career in the industry?
I started blowing glass when I was 15. I was fascinated by fire as a kid, and the idea of being able to control and manipulate this fascinating molten material had me hooked from the start. At first, I was drawn to the materiality then later began to develop an artistic narrative that allowed me to delve in to all parts of design and sculpture.
Talk about one of the most exciting or memorable projects you’ve had recently. Tell us what you enjoyed most about it.
I have just finished a collection of pieces, titled “The Lyra Series.”The Lyra constellation of stars, which is said to look like Orpheus’ lyre, inspired the name of this series. I have long been inspired by the cosmos, as well as by the instruments that man has devised to see the unseen, such as microscopes and telescopes.
For this series, I was searching for a very particular optical distortion for the projection of light that did not exist. We became self-trained optical engineers, spending months working through several experiments of trial and error, and ultimately, fabricating and creating a series of lenses that are specific to the narrative and the intended optical effect. I love the idea of making something that does not exist.
Who are a few designers or artists that you admire?
Alberto Giacometti – for his bronze work and obsessively intense drawings.
Pierre Chareau – for not being labeled by any career directive and for designing and creating across several disciplines.
Galileo – for his obsessive construction of fine-tuned beautiful instruments.
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