A Conversation with Trueing.

The Duo’s Two-Sided Approach To Object Design.

Only a year into their collaborative practice, the design duo Trueing has already begun to attract the attention of the New York design world. Made up of Josh Metersky and Aiden Bowman, they are the recipient of the 2017 ICFF Emerging Design award on the strength of their Janus table lamp, a delicate gold hemisphere that resembles a miniature floor-standing globe with a single plane in the place of a sphere. Within a glowing ring-mount is suspended a gimbaling shade of dichroic glass — a material produced by stacking layers of glass interleaved with micro-layers of metal oxides to produce an effect of shifting colors.

“Janus is one of Saturn’s outermost rings,” Aiden explained. “As well as the two-faced, coin-gracing Roman deity of transitions.” This, their first collaborative project, seems particularly appropriate, since the distribution of duties in their practice has certain similarities with Janus: one face to the future, one towards the past.

“I studied mechanical engineering,” Josh said. “Fluid dynamics, heat transfer, system processing. But I focused on products — I always wanted to do product design.” Josh is the practical side of the partnership: the hands-on designer, feeling out materials, working with raw forms — perhaps always looking toward the future.

“Whereas my background is in art history,” Aiden added. “Concentrating in architecture. From a very young age, I was an obnoxious design kid. Part of the way I approach design is by categorization. Who is who and what is what: Is it design art, or high-end production furniture, or indigenous design?” Aiden is the abstract partner: composing the story, crafting the presentation, thinking in terms of design-historical references — mindful of the past.

Josh and Aiden find they work through their objects with an intuition trained neither by the received wisdom of the design canon, nor the purely physical characteristics of material development, but rather in a constant navigation between them.

“Josh really takes control of the design process. And I come in, almost as an editor. And there’s this ping-ponging back and forth,” Aiden said. They hypothesize that this process tempers the extremes, and highlights the insights, of their individual approaches. “Just as I don’t know as much about famous designers,” Josh said, “I think sometimes Aiden’s lack of knowledge about production methods can sometimes lead to really imaginative thoughts.”

Their second project began as an offshoot of Janus lamp, using leftover dichroic glass as a starting point: as Aiden put it, “There’s a kind of cannibalism of our projects—the materials feed one project into each other.” In the Float Hook, currently available from FuturePerfect and Consort, dichroic glass sets off a brass hook that appears to hover above the plane of the wall, creating a shimmering ambiguity of depth, or the appearance of weightlessness.

As they’re working on their fourth project, Trueing are conscious of appearing to possess or eschew some specific authorial style. “That’s what we mean by ‘context-driven,’” Aiden explained. “The projects are not based on some idea that will govern all of our work. It could be one thing and could be another thing. Our products will look different based on different uses, or the different materials available, or on the budget.”

Still, between their lightness (both chromatically and delicacy in appearance), and a sensitively to planes and their reflective effects, the works can be seen as having — if nothing else — family resemblances, or a common language. Their most recent project, the #3000 Mirror, is a hung oval inlaid with irregular shapes of polychrome marble, mirror, and concrete—smoothed to the finest (#3000) grit, and reading like the terrazzo floors of Italian lobbies than inspired it.

“We came up with this idea walking around Milan, thinking about marbling,” Aiden recalled. “It’s as if you had this marbled, mirror salami. You could just cut it, and take slices of it, like planes from an extrusion.”

“Yet it’s one surface, completely flat,” Josh adds. “It’s basically one big tile. It’s super-tactile. Everyone wants to touch it. What I get excited about in my own life is the perfect glass dish that had been finished a certain way,” Josh said.

Almost as if finishing his thought, Aiden interjected: “Extreme perfection.”

Images courtesy of Trueing. 

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