PaperCity Magazine

PaperCity Houston January February 2022

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T exan Angie West is one of the talents behind Refractory, an edgy new design studio based in Chicago that designs, produces, and sells artisan furniture, lighting, and objects. West, a native of San Angelo, co-founded the studio with designer Alberto Vélez, who hails from Bogotá, Colombia. Their backgrounds are impressive: Collectively, they have worked at design firms Holly Hunt, Tom Ford, and Studio Sofield, as well as with artists Steven Haulenbeek, Paul Mathieu, and Theaster Gates. Artfully conceived and handcrafted, Refractory's designs are geared for collectors, curators, interior designers, and architects. The debut 40-piece collection consists of consoles, dining and occasional tables, benches, lighting, and objects rendered from cast bronze, cast glass, solid black walnut, white oak, and cast resin. Vélez and West seek out oddness and rarity of design and materials, rather than the familiar. For instance, the sculptural Promontory standing lamp features two asymmetrical halves that lean into one another, echoing the way that layers of armor flex when worn. The Scimitar bench marries cast bronze with fragments of North American bison hide, while the Isthmus hanging light consists of a pair of kiln-cast, hand-polished glass lenses that magnify and distort the shagreen-textured bronze structures beneath. West is also the founder of West Supply, a design and art fabrication studio, foundry, and glassworks atelier she launched in 2011, which is also Refractory's production partner and sister company. West Supply's clients have included Vladimir Kagan, Christian Liaigre, and Ty Best of Caste. By Rebecca Sherman WHERE ART AND DESIGN CONVERGE Refractory founders Alberto Vélez and Angie West Promontory standing lamp Scimitar bench by Refractory 40

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