Wentrcek / Zebulon Create A Space Odyssey

Wentrcek / Zebulon Create A Space Odyssey

The Brooklyn based designer duo are shifting art-goers' perceptions via inventive materials.

The Brooklyn based designer duo are shifting art-goers' perceptions via inventive materials.

Text: Devin Barrett

"Intermediate States is now on display at Collective Design Fair through March 11th.

Bored with pure functionality, Kristen Wentrcek and Andrew Zebulon aim to alter viewers’ perceptions via inventive furniture and installations. Formerly known as Wintercheck Factory, the duo works out of two stories in an impressive warehouse-like space in Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn. They met while designing packaging for a Japanese distributor, and shared an affinity for material and craft. Now, their projects focus on experimentation and the integrity of materials. The context of mundane fabrications is shifted—think industrial rubber fused with Corian to make a serene chaise lounge. Familiar materials are used in unexpected ways, “taking the essence of a certain material’s textures, feelings, smells, connections. You sort of let the materials be themselves,” says Zebulon.

Their work muses on the idea of pausing. While hosting openings in their studio space, they noticed that viewers’ attentions were on libations and conversation instead of the work. Their latest installation, Intermediate States, is an immersive combination of light, sound, and taste in a fiberglass labyrinth. Organized in intimate, eight-person seated sessions, viewers enter a long, narrow, otherworldly hallway with instructions to pick up a glass and take a seat in the next room. Once an amber light turns on, a cocktail is ready at the faucet. The experience is meant to entertain as well as contain.

“All of the space’s surfaces are really similar,” Wentrcek says. “The light helps blend them together, and we isolated a glowing aspect of the room. As humans, light makes you feel different.” Seamless surfaces blend together, while stools made of orthopedic cast material anchor the stable-like surroundings. There’s an element of camaraderie among attendees. “Every group is different, but every group reacts to each other the same way. It’s a group mentality,” says Wentrcek. “If people are being wild, everyone’s a bit wild. If people are reserved, the whole room is reserved.”

While Wentrcek and Zebulon’s output may seem conceptual, it’s done for pure enjoyment and the love of a challenge. “All of the materials are pretty horrible. I think we pick stuff that’s difficult. It’s hard to create the pride factor with anything that’s that readily available,” Wentrcek jokes. Adds Zebulon, “I think this goes back to getting people’s brains to light up.”

Credits: PHOTOGRAPHY BY BEKKA PALMER

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