Arielle Assouline-Lichten is the founder of Slash Objects, a design studio that explores the intersection of material and form. She’s passionate about design as a way to transform how humans experience the world, and her work aims to reframe our understanding of resources through tactile stories that create a sense of intrigue into our material world.
Arielle holds a Master of Architecture from Harvard University with commendation, and a Bachelor’s of Arts in Critical Theory and Visual Media from New York University. While at Harvard, she was selected to study under Toyo Ito in Japan. Since then, Arielle has worked for internationally renowned firms such as BIG, Kengo Kuma & Associates and Snøhetta. She’s been published in Metropolis Magazine, The New York Times, The New Yorker, Architectural Record and Architectural Digest, among others, for her design work and activism. She’s also been invited to lecture at the Guggenheim Museum, Columbia University GSAPP and Harvard Graduate School of Design.
In 2013, Arielle started the petition for retroactive recognition of Denise Scott Brown by the Pritzker Prize, and together with Caroline James as Women in Design at Harvard, led a campaign that has received over 20,000 signatures in support, including nine past laureates.
As if all of these experiences and accolades aren’t enough, Arielle is currently competing on Ellen’s Next Great Designer where she’ll be pushing her creativity to the limits through innovative furniture-making challenges.
Today, Arielle Assouline-Lichten joins us for Friday Five!
1. The Artist’s Way Morning Pages Journal by Julia Cameron
I started doing morning pages during the pandemic as a way to find a path back to creative output. The process is simple: write for 30 minutes or three full pages in the morning to get things flowing, to get out any negative thoughts or blockers and get into the possibilities. There is no wrong way to do this, and most of the time my journal starts off as a stream-of-consciousness ramble then leads to the sketches and ideas that lay beneath. Anytime I’m blocked, I’ll go back to my journal with no expectations of greatness and just get things on paper. It’s extremely cathartic.
2. Electronic Music, Especially Female DJ’s
Music is essential for me while I’m working – I think it occupies a part of my brain that would otherwise be questioning choices or held up with distractions. Instead, the beat carries me forward. Electronic music is especially soothing and energizing. I love thinking about the musicians making these incredible sounds and the spaces in which people have danced to the bass. I’m especially drawn to female DJ’s like Sama’ Abdulhadi and Blondish, in addition to that whole genre of French synth music, and of course my local radio station in Greenpoint – The Lot Radio!
3. Gordon Matta-Clark
I am really intrigued by the intersection of art and architecture, especially the work of Gordon Matta-Clark who is best known for his building cuts. Spatial work has incredible power to influence our perceptions of the world. I’m interested in moments that cause us to stop and reflect, to consider our own humanity. I think Matta-Clark’s work does this in so many ways, politicizing space and calling attention to underlying systems that exist ,and at times oppress. For my thesis at Harvard Graduate School of Design, I imagined new possibilities on “gutter spaces” that Matta-Clark had purchased from NYC auctions between 1973 and 1974, in a work called “Reality Properties: Fake Estates.” I saw these lots as an opportunity to create design interventions that can disrupt the status quo. I called it The Micro and The Multitude.
4. Yoga – We On Air & Modo Yoga
I discovered the practice of yoga near the time I started Slash Objects, after near burnout from a design practice that wasn’t fulfilling my creative needs. Yoga has become central to my existence and I truly do not think I would have achieved what I have without the strengthening and calming nature of it. I feel lucky to have incredible teachers at Modo Yoga NYC and We On Air to guide my practice.
5. Teshima Art Museum by Ryue Nishizawa
I went to Teshima Art Museum in 2012, while I was studying and working in Japan, and the experience was wholly transformative. The space is so delicate and nuanced, tiny drops of water flow across the floor and puddle when enough drops accumulate, driving across the space with gathered momentum as more drops collide. The concrete shell is so thin and subtle, with an oculus that lets the sky in. The concept is so daring that this piece of architecture not only makes you question the field of architecture as a whole, but also our relationship to nature. This project is an incredible exercise in space making and I think about that experience often.
Work by Arielle Assouline-Lichten:
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