In its latest Objets Nomades installment, Louis Vuitton partners with newly minted Houstonian Andrew Kudless, who was recently named University of Houston’s inaugural William D. Kendall professor of design technologies and director of the new Advanced Media Technology Lab. We connect with the design mind to dive into the Houston design scene, his Louis Vuitton collaboration and the intricacies of his simple yet utterly intriguing piece. Price upon request, by special order at Louis Vuitton, in the Galleria, louisvuitton.com
1. We all want to know: What’s it like to collaborate with Louis Vuitton?
Its aesthetic sensibilities and commitment to fine craftsmanship are legendary. I knew its tough design criticism would push my process further. ... And I knew its artisans would make sure the shelves were fabricated to the highest standards using the best materials.
2. Congratulations on your new role at UH. Did Houston play a role in your collection?
I’m excited to call Houston my new home. ... Coincidentally, I was interviewing for my new position at the same time as starting the Louis Vuitton project. So, although Houston didn’t directly affect my design, Houston was definitely on my mind at the time.
3. What was the driving force behind the design?
The challenge of the collection was to address movement or travel in a static object so I wanted to capture a sort of dynamic equilibrium in the shelves. The goal was to highlight the tension between the wooden shelves and the leather straps. Although the leather is soft and supple, it is incredibly strong in tension while the wood seemingly bends to that force like a tree growing on a windy coastline.
4. What moment in this piece stands out most?
My favorite detail on both shelf versions (free-standing and suspended) is the way the leather wraps around the wood. The wood opens up to accept the leather strap and you can feel the weight of the wood in the leather.
5. For fellow design enthusiasts, what Houston home decor shops are you loving?
I moved to Houston in January so only had two months to unpack and explore my new home before the pandemic hit. However, one of the big reasons we decided to move to Houston was its thriving art and design scene, and I can’t wait to get out and explore the city! I hope Houston can emerge from this pandemic with even stronger support for the arts, design and architecture, and can support the many people, nonprofits and businesses that make this such a creative place.