Scott Daniel Strickstein: Back to Basics

For Scott Daniel Strickstein, a degree in Political Theory wasn’t nearly as interesting as working with his hands

Home Lighting Magazines: enLightenment Mag

From a young age, Scott Daniel Strickstein was mesmerized by the built environment – whether visiting construction sites with his father, puzzling over blueprints, or building tree forts and igloos in his backyard.

“I was always building and making things growing up, but did not recognize ‘the arts’ until my junior year of high school when I took an elective in Ceramics,” Strickstein remarks. “It is hard to describe what hooks people on ceramics. Clay is a very versatile material and one of the only ones that allow you to mold by hand and make something permanent,” he muses.

At Michigan State University, practicality won out and Strickstein majored in Political Theory. However, the ceramics bug bit again. “I waited until my junior year to take an elective course in Ceramics,” he recounts. This time, there was no turning back.

For the next few years after graduation, Strickstein put together a home garage studio before returning to school to obtain a bachelor’s in Fine Arts (BFA) from the College for Creative Studies in Detroit. “The degree was for interdisciplinary craft studio art and I studied in the ceramics, glass, metal, and wood studios,” he notes. “I moved to New York in 2003 and found work at Chista, a boutique furniture design company and showroom.” Strickstein quickly became company manager and spent the next six years working with designers for high-end residential and hospitality projects around the world.

In early 2010, he left Chista to start up his own studio, launching Scott Daniel Design in Brooklyn. Not content to create ceramic designs in the typical fashion, Strickstein developed a proprietary process called Cmesh™, accomplished by fusing metal wire inside ceramic.

“I was inspired by the notion of alchemy and making something new by combining materials,” he explains. “Developing the material process was a challenge, figuring out the structural engineering of the combined materials in order to make various forms took some time. The material may chip like anything else, but it will never shatter. It is basically ceramics with a metal skeleton, similar to the way rebar helps reinforce concrete,” he says. Best of all, there is no special care needed. According to Strickstein, the lighting and furniture pieces are easily cleaned with a damp rag and should be treated like any other ceramic or glass item.

“I enjoy hearing people say that the Cmesh collection is like nothing else they have seen,” Strickstein remarks. “People really love the unique surface texture of cracking and the shadows they create.”

Fans of his work can look for the Cmesh technique to be applied to other categories. “I am now working on components that can be applied as tiles or ‘bricks’ for architectural elements and partition walls. The Prototiles (shown on my Web site) are my first attempt, but expect to see them evolve,” Strickstein says. “I am also making more furniture items plus larger-scale lighting pieces for hospitality projects, and developing an exclusive design for a well-known architect.” The designer has also licensed some of his product designs to a lighting company that he declines to name.

While Strickstein enjoys seeing what other like-minded designers are doing, he doesn’t pay close attention to trends or follow what’s popular in product styles. “I [make] what I think of and what I like,” he says. “I like natural materials and how their energy affects people. I always seek to make sensual forms that people want to touch.  Basically, my work is always evolving.”

Still operating as a one-person shop, word has spread about Strickstein’s work and his client base has expanded tremendously over the past year. His lighting and furniture designs are sold through several boutiques in New York City, Los Angeles, and Atlanta. Strickstein’s Brooklyn studio is open to scheduled visits as well.

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