"Unveiling Rest Energy's Fusion of Contrast, Experimentation, and Material Narratives”
In the world of art and design, where innovation thrives on the interplay of contrast and curiosity, Caleb Engstrom stands as a captivating figure, the creative force behind Rest Energy, a Los Angeles-based furniture design practice. The name "Rest Energy" itself bears testament to his fascination with tension, where seemingly contradictory elements unite to forge something entirely new.
Caleb's creative odyssey commenced with an internship at MoMA PS1 in New York in 2010, setting the stage for a remarkable journey through the realms of art, design, and architecture. Over the years, he has collaborated with different artists, leaving his permanent mark on prestigious institutions, galleries, and brands worldwide.
What truly distinguishes Caleb's work is his fearless departure from the familiar. In the realm of Rest Energy, it's not about playing it safe; it's about embracing the potential to fail, letting messiness and spontaneity guide the creative process.
Join us as we delve into Caleb Engstrom's unique narrative, one that brings humility, honesty, and a relentless pursuit of curiosity to every meticulously handcrafted piece.
Can you tell us a bit about your journey in the art and design industry? How did you arrive where you are today?
My creative journey began when I moved to New York in 2010 for an internship at MoMA PS1. Since then, I've moved to Los Angeles and have worked with top names in art, design, and architecture, including Frida Escobedo, Yoko Ono, Leong Leong, and Adi Goodrich. I've also collaborated with brands like Aesop, Natura, and Dreams, as well as institutions and galleries such as Queens Museum, Hauser & Wirth, and Regen Projects. I also hold a Master of Fine Arts from the University of California Irvine. Wet Wool is my studio's first furniture collection and was launched this past spring.
How do you approach the process of ideation and where do you draw your inspiration from?
The origin of Rest Energy’s name comes from my fascination with contrast and tension, where unexpected combinations work together to create something new. My work is characterized by a process-driven exploration of materials and experimentation, often touching on themes of identity and material narrative.
Could you walk us through your creative process, from the initial idea to the final product?
Generally, I stay busy with fabrication work, making for other architects and artists. It's during these fabrication hours that the creative process begins for my own design work. I begin to daydream and "rabbit hole" ideas, if even in a very fragmented and tangential research style. I build a type of material narrative or conceptual throughline in my head even before anything is sketched or made. While fabrication is about eliminating risk, Rest Energy thrives in the potential to fail. It is a product made from messes, spontaneity, and surprise that come from the flexibility of creating something out of curiosity.
How do you stay motivated and inspired in your work? Are there any particular rituals or routines that you follow?
Motivation is curiosity for me. Curiosity is something I hope to not lose. I keep regular shop hours 8:00 AM to 4:00 PM everyday... Whether I'm fabricating for others or myself, this schedule puts me in my studio and that's where things find me.