Atelier Projects, the interdisciplinary studio Erik Hart founded, have been commissioned to design The Lash, a new club and performance space due to open at the end of the year in LA's gallery district. His capsule womenswear collection, ATELIER/ERIK HART, shares the feeling of his environments. Not to mention his book, HART+LESHKINA НАВСЕГДА, to be released in January with frequent collaborator and lover Tatiana Leshkina, reflecting nearly three years of work in images and texts. "I really enjoy creating not just environments but complete experiences," he tells us. We spoke to the creative to learn more.
Dazed Digital: In your work, especially with fashion, there is a mood of being comfortable in your own skin...
Erik Hart: It’s interesting you say this. I find that, when experienced, these moments of comfort are fleeting. My work is often defined by presenting a certain tension in the most pure and unadorned manner, this purity may come across as serene but it’s quite the opposite. The only comfort I feel is that I’m accepting of this constant tension, and the motivation it gives me to create things which, ironically, may give others a sense of comfort or intrigue.
The pieces are luxurious, but not dainty or precious. All pieces are made in limited editions. I like the idea that these pieces are seasonless and transitional. I guess you could say it’s my proposal for the foundation and redefinition of a considered woman’s wardrobe.
DD: What do you think clothing is giving us that we can't, perhaps yet, have from designed spaces and environmental design?
Erik Hart: I think that spaces, environments and clothing can elicit very similar reactions, interactions, and emotions. This is of course dependant on intention. I think that clothing is a soft architecture. Similar to spaces, it can influence both the observer and participant in both conscious and subconscious manners. It can also evoke a strong emotional response. Environments provide the same in both subtle and overbearing ways. Whether people like this or not, both fashion and spaces elicit strong reactions regardless of concept, design, or quality. Think of Daniel Libeskind’s Jewish museum in Berlin, A Las Vegas Casino, the work of Comme des Garçons, shopping at Primark, or a hospital.
DD: Tell us about The Lash...
Erik Hart: A little over a year ago I founded a creative consulting and design studio called ATELIER/PROJECTS. Shortly after, we were commissioned to design and creatively direct a new club/ performance/ and social space. The space is defined by the tension found between public and private spaces, and a layout, which catalyses social exchange, expression, and the ability to loose oneself amongst it all. I was inspired by the idea of pavilions and their function as a space of pleasure, and the way this can be interpreted.
Interaction, voyeurism, exhibitionism, and reflection all informed the design process and layout of the space.
I’m also creative directing a publication, which functions as an extension of the space. The first issue will feature contributions from artists and creatives such as Ren Hang, Mark Borthwick, Sasha Kurmaz, Marrianne Mueller, Synchrodogs, and Robert Montgomery.
DD: How is working with Tatiana Leshkina?
Erik Hart: Tatiana and I met 3 years ago. She is a talented young Russian artist. I came across her work online and felt compelled to contact her. A year later we collaborated on a project in London and have been together since. She is my lover, and often collaborator. We work selectively on specific projects together as HART+LESHKINA. We are releasing a book together of co-authored works spanning 3 years of intimate dialogue composed of images, texts, and objects. The book is titled HART+LESHKINA НАВСЕГДА and is set to be released in February.
DD: What is your guiltiest pleasure?
Erik Hart: I sometimes like to read TMZ in the bath. I know, it's pretty bad!