Artist-designer Ian Stell (1967) was born and raised in New York City. He attended the Art Institute of Chicago, graduating in 1992 with a Bachelor’s degree in sculpture and painting. Upon returning to New York, Stell designed and built a number of bars and restaurants, such as Orchard, Double Happiness, and Wyanoka. During this period, his artwork became increasingly influenced by interactive user dynamics inherent to designing public spaces. Stell returned to school to study furniture design, and received his Master’s degree from the Rhode Island School of Design in 2012.
For Stell, material choice and fabrication process follow the conceptual intention. This tactic has led him to work with a broad array of media, at scales that range from miniature to monumental. His projects span furniture, lighting, accessories, interiors, sculpture, installation, and beyond. Stell continues to cultivate fluencies in both digital and handcraft techniques, celebrating the rich cross-pollination that results from a broad approach. The objects he makes are often kinetic or reconfigurable and require a high level of precision in their manufacture.
Stell’s work has been presented in a number of New York venues, including solo shows at Matter (2014, ’15) and group shows during New York’s Design Week (AmDC 2013, OFFSITE 2014, Wanted 2013, ’14). He has also exhibited at Triode³ in Paris (2014) and Salone del Mobile in Milan (2012, ’13, ’14). Stell’s first in a series of functional, intersecting staircases was installed in July 2015 on the banks of the Spree River in Berlin. This staircase, called Diagint, was fabricated near Torino by a factory that provides prototyping and limited production to some of Italy’s premier automotive companies. As of this writing, he is preparing work to be shown at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (August 2015) and the Swiss Institute (September 2015).
Ian Stell lives and works in Red Hook, Brooklyn.