KRIEST / Kristin Victoria Barron
In 2002 my business was celebrating it’s one year anniversary, I had signed the lease on my first office at Union Square and Kristin Victoria Barron became my second assistant. It was an exciting time for me and Kristin is one of those incredibly talented people that have so many tricks up their sleeve – extraordinary artist and sculptor, thoughtful and insightful designer and exquisite taste – it was obvious we would become fast friends and collaborators! Barron received a B.A. in Art History and Ceramic Sculpture from New York University and then a Masters in Interior Design from Pratt.
I was introduced to Barron through Erin Hazelton, my first assistant and discovered her haunting doll sculptures that were so beautifully made I was instantly intrigued and wanted to know more about her. Her time me with me was short lived but we remained great friends and I’ve always been curious about what she would do next. In 2010 she founded her design firm Kriest and launched her first collection of lighting and objects inspired by the “aether element” or dream world and the pieces are both delicate and unexpected, just like her. Kristin invited me to her Irving Place atelier to preview the collection and here are some of the images of her handsome studio space where these magical pieces came to life.
The Orchis collection was derived from mythical archetypes and personal dream sequences Barron culled over a period of time. Inspired by a variety of sources ranging from Lascaux cave paintings and talismanic objects like the Venus of Willendorf and Nepali Shaman sculptures, all of them have Kristin’s otherworldly sensibility that makes them so alluring. Barron’s childhood in Florida and the pygmy deer that eat orchids and roses off the coast as well as ancient Chinese horse renderings provided further inspiration for her unique first collection. The objects, finials and lids to some of the exquisite vessels were sculpted in Nepal and then cast in solid polished brass and fabricated in New York and the elegant Aesculus wood columns were turned from fallen burl trees. I asked Barron a few questions about the collection. Where is the collection produced? “All the finished work is done in New York City, the wood is turned in Colorado, and some of the metal work is done in Michigan, where I was born”.
How are the pieces fabricated and is there a team involved in the production? We work exclusively with other artists/artisans, people who really love the process and enjoy the challenges of making new things. There are obviously a lot of different hands that touch the pieces before they are finished but, our wood turner Keith Gotschall has been really central to our education about wood as well as a continual delight in our day. In bringing together our team we really focused on working with curious, big-hearted individuals. It’s made the process so incredibly rewarding.
Barron had an enviably diverse design portfolio before founding her own interiors studio in 2010. She designed a USB music stick for Ghostly Records which was sold at Moss in New York’s Soho, a futuristic vending machine for Coca-Cola, and a line of artisan-made furniture. But even now that she spends her days conjuring ambience into residential projects and restaurants, Barron is above all a maker. After studying sculpture as an undergrad and moving on to craft elaborate puppets based on the analysis of a Jungian dream expert, she’s now engaged in a collection of lighting and small scale sculptural home accessories under the tutelage of New York artist Vladimir Rodin. Her work has been featured in the New York Times, German Architectural Digest, V magazine, Lonny Magazine, and Interior Design online.
All photos of the Orchis Collection by Joseph De Leo
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