a conversation with chris schanck at bottega firehouse detroit, a new temporary creative center

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BOTTEGA VENETA OPENS ‘BOTTEGA FIREHOUSE’ IN DETROIT

accompanied by the presentation of his spring / summer 2022 show in strait, which took place on October 22, 2021, Bottega Veneta opened a new temporary space in the city of Michigan. as for its salons, the luxury fashion house aimed to engage with the local creative community in the creation of this new hub, and thus brought in a furniture designer chris schanck, which opened its design studio in detroit in 2017. located at 1201 bagley street, “bottega firehouse” presents a series of schanck ‘s unique sculptural pieces, which are placed throughout the space with the brand’s clothing and accessories.

“When something like the Bottega Veneta fire station opens, I savor it, because it’s exquisite for design and it should be in New York, London or Paris but it’s not, it’s here” schanck tells designboom. “Any street in the store can walk into the storefront and experience something world-class; it’s the kind of thing that would have completely blown me away as a young dallas art kid and it still inspires me today. ‘ read our interview in its entirety and see images from the Bottega fire station, below.

Bottega fire station strait

all images are courtesy of bottega veneta

INTERVIEW WITH CHRIS SCHANCK

designboom (DB): How does the Bottega Veneta fire station space tell a Detroit story?

Chris Schanck (CS): When I was a kid growing up in Dallas, the only examples of world-class design I saw were in institutional settings. I think about it a lot in Detroit, the art scene that I admire here is determined and inventive, and prioritizes community, not luxury products and services. to say the least, of a city that has suffered exponentially without adequate infrastructure for decades.

So when something like the Bottega Veneta fire station opens, I savor it, because it’s exquisite design for design and it should be in New York or London or Paris but it’s not, it’s here. any street can walk into the storefront and experience something world-class; this is the kind of thing that would have completely blown me away as a young dallas art kid and it still inspires me today. daniel lee was able to create a remarkably transformative art and design experience in strait.

chris schanck on the collaboration with bottega veneta on its new temporary space in detroit
chris schanck’s pieces inside the bottega fire station in strait

DB: In your opinion, is there a renaissance of technical and creative innovation in Strait?

CS: creative innovation within the arts and design space here in strait has never stopped; it persists, often out of necessity, on the fringes of a city that has long lacked functional infrastructure. there has certainly been a lot of momentum in the city in recent years, but I often think of all the unwritten stories of creativity that have existed here – or even my neighbors’ gardening ingenuity – and it becomes difficult to orient myself around a story.chris schanck on the collaboration with bottega veneta on its new temporary space in detroit

DB: Looking at your latest round of aluminum foil in progress, we are wondering about the techniques you use, please describe the steps and difficulties you are having.

CS: recent work has relied on the found object, we collect fallen wood, vines, pieces of metal, house siding and an abundance of unidentifiable rubles. these objects have varying characteristics, from organic to manufactured – I don’t have a precise method of grouping them. for each work, my studio and I first build a simple structure and use it as a framework to explore the relationships between objects and matter. the process of transforming objects into form is guided by intuition and practical constraints. Sometimes I’m convinced that two distinct things go together, while other times I explore rigid dimensional constraints between generic artifacts whose original intent is a mystery. it feels like a collaborative effort between me and the material, i have an idea of ​​where to start but the objects put the project at the center.

DB: are these self-created techniques? Was there a learning process?

CS: yes, and the early work was pretty awkward. I was told I had the thumbs of a murderer – that would sometimes explain my manual heaviness. I can share with you what I have found to be helpful advice from a few trusted colleagues – i.e. being comfortable not always knowing where you are going and honoring your own. instincts and follow them as an act of faith. it helped give me a framework for understanding the early and precarious stages of a new process or idea.

DB: what is behind your philosophy of “unique objects of extraordinary luxury”?

CS: I don’t remember saying this myself, but you know how these things come to life. my intention was never to create luxury. most of the materials and techniques I use are inexpensive and provincial. it is the craftsmanship and the care given to materials and methods that give value to the work. I have never been exposed to luxuries in my own home. I found inspiration in museums and books. I am agnostic at best, but I will kneel at the foot of an el greco. it’s not about admiring luxury, it’s a euphoric experience that transcends any idea of ​​wealth or market value. my working philosophy is to create works from what I instinctively, spiritually or culturally explore. this work is meant to be shared and used. there is a likelihood that my life and experiences will connect adjacent to someone else’s, and at best, this experience can act as a catalyst for sharing our stories with each other.

DB: did you mention that your detroit neighborhood influences your work?

CS: I have never in my life lived so long in one place. growing up, our family has always been in a precarious state of housing. for the first time, I found stability, familiarity and community – a great privilege. it takes time to get to know a place and its people. I am slow to connect and adapt my environment to work. it took years of observation and dialogue to begin weaving the vernacular of my environment into work. I don’t always understand that well, and I will always be a stranger to some extent. but I live in a community of foreigners, an aspect that we share. over time, trust and friendships, a sense of belonging developed to become what I now consider to be home.

DB: what is more important, the planning design or the artisanal aspect in your work? can you calculate the exact final shapes? the end? or is there a moment of surprise every time?

CS: there is no clear hierarchy of one over the other. drawing is the most personal and oldest part of my practice since I was a child. drawing helps to capture an idea, but this is only the beginning. everything changes when the material is in your hands. I haven’t tried to calculate the exact final shapes, I think my process is the antithesis of correctness. there is always a moment of surprise and inspiration but that is balanced with an equal measure of disappointment and aggravation. seeking balance and acceptance between compensation and failure is a lifelong goal.

Besides
Bottega Veneta
has also opened up another exciting temporary space, this time in London. located in the bustling district of the British capital shore area, ‘red church bottega veneta’ features works by greek jeong, of which foam tube sculptures were included in the brand’s digital journal ‘number 02’ (read our interview with the designer here). the space will be open until the end of December.

a conversation with chris schanck at bottega firehouse detroit, a new temporary creative center
Bottega Veneta Redchurch in London

project information:

Name: chris schanck

Mark: Bottega Veneta

sofia lekka angelopoulou I design boom

November 16, 2021



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