Handmade Crafting with Soul

Whether through sculpture, tableware, lighting or furniture, these creative minds express their passion for the handmade.

Mindful Sculptures in Los Angeles, Cindy Hsu Zell Creates Simple, Meditative Compositions With Natural Materials

Having grown up in San Gabriel, Cindy Hsu Zell has always been stirred by her surroundings and the natural beauty of Southern California: the mountains, desert, valleys, rivers, ocean, and sunshine. Her personal experiences is a main source of inspiration for her path as an artist.

“My approach to art stems from this love of nature and movement, as well as a deep curiosity about form, texture, and minimalism,” she confesses. 

Passionate about creating since a young age, Cindy Hsu Zell studied sculpture and animation at the University of Southern California and launched her own studio in Los Angeles five years ago. Her slowly-made pieces are meant to last and reflect a sense of peace. Through them she explores the influence of gravity on composition and highlights mindfully sourced and vegan materials such as wood, ceramics, stone and natural fibers (having last year eliminated animal-based materials including leather and silk).

“Individual pieces serve as studies on gesture, curves, drape and weight,” she says. Her technique for spinning and dyeing rope is “a careful and meditative process that results in a contrast between the softness of the fibers and the tension required to hold it all together. My work embraces interaction, touch, and the spirit of the handmade.” cindyzell.com

Photographs: courtesy of Cindy Hsu Zell


A Love for Ceramics the Everyday Objects Created by Fefostudio Blend Functionality and Aesthetics

When I was 13 years old, I went to an industrial technical school with the goal of becoming an architect,” remembers Fernando Aciar, who was born in Argentina and is currently based in New York. “Along the way my interests guided me towards a career of chef instead.” This professional path led Aciar to open 13 restaurants and cafes over the past 15 years. “My understanding of space and atmosphere has always been as … important for me as cooking and hosting,” he says. 

In 2014, Fernando Aciar launched Fefostudio, a project that allows him to work with ceramics—a childhood passion revived to craft home goods with neutral clays and vibrant glazes. “The process is very similar to cooking and the infinite possibilities of colors and shapes energize me.”

Recently, Fernando Aciar started a series of lamps that perfectly match his unique tableware. His next project is a new handmade textile collection made with organic cotton. “Fefostudio is about craftsmanship, and that finds its roots with my family in the Andes of Argentina where I grew up,” Aciar says. “We were always building and making our own things at home.” fefostudio.com

Photographs: courtesy of Charles Roussel


Movement & Light Furniture and Design Studio Atelier De Troupe Takes Cues From the Bauhaus and Vintage Italian and French Design

Founded in 2011 by former production designer Gabriel Abraham, Los Angeles-based Atelier de Troupe recently launched its new collection Dérive d’Été, which explores movement and the cyclical shades of light while evoking memories of Abraham’s childhood summers in the south of France.

Reminiscent of the 1970s, this line is simultaneously rooted in a contemporary design vernacular as seen in the Eclipse chair and tables (inspired by the geometric interplay of light and line), the Coquille sconce (which looks like a seashell), the Compas pendant light (shaped out of a single sheet of brass) and the Escargot lamp (made of a sculptural, curved sheet of brass or steel). 

Like the rest of the pieces from the studio, the Dérive d’Été collection also reflects the founder’s background in the film industry, which informs a narrative approach to the design process. Looking to minimize waste, favoring responsible sourcing, and allowing for extensive customization, Atelier de Troupe focuses on by-hand manufacturing by local makers for all its pieces. Satin, polished or blackened brass, cast bronze or aluminum, powder-coated metal, glass, and wood are some of the materials used in the refined lighting and furniture by Atelier de Troupe.

“The brand’s furniture and lighting is comfortably minimalist, synthesizing disparate influences into one cohesive vision for modern living,” Abraham says. atelierdetroupe.com

Photographs: courtesy of Atelier de Troupe

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