There’s a fine, often confusing, line between art and design. What distinguishes one from the other? Can something be both? Are there rules? Moving Mountains, a New York-based studio founded by designer Syrette Lew, treads this precarious intersection, even bringing fashion into the mix, and quite purposefully. Syrette would like to be known as “a contemporary designer, but not just for furniture. I want to do products, clothing, jewellery and even pop-up shops,” she says, “I don’t want to be confined to any one thing.” So perhaps it is difficult to define what she does precicely, but we’re not convinced that it matters, and nor is she.
Taking the direction of her career in her own hands, after leaving a five-year long stint working for West Elm, Syrette began Moving Mountains and designing (but not making, which she leaves to her stable of craftsmen) mostly custom-made pieces that are part-art, part-design. The pieces are artful and practical; they stand the test of time and usually have a strong concept embedded in them, or a little detail that makes you take a second look. Take the Palmyra Lamp, a stunning piece of art on the one hand (just imagine this in your home), which is named after the ancient caravan city in the Syrian desert that now sits as monumental ruins in the sand but lives on through its name – given to a species of majestic palm trees found in the tropics and an atoll in the Pacific. On the other hand, Palmyra is a working light with excellent form.
Among the Studio’s collections of furniture and accessories are the usual suspects – tables, benches, lamps, as well as bags and jewellery. Moving Mountains also does one-off projects, like the custom newsstand they made for fashion house COS, if it feels right to do so.
With Moving Mountains, there are no definite rules. It’s inspiring to see a studio forging their own definition of what design is.
Credits: Moving Mountains