Earthy, organic materials - wood, brass, leather - utilized in cathartic, unexpected ways, the work of Ramsey Conder draws on inspiration that ranges from the sleek lines of the automobile to the poetic irregularity of the natural world. Functional, yet intrinsically sculptural, his designs reflect a keen eye for shape and form, matched with artistic whimsy. A brass drawer pull takes the form of desert cacti, a wall hook features the fine-lined fingerprints of it’s maker, a humble ash daybed is adorned with just a touch of metallic flash.
Educated in art and design, Conder’s extensive experience includes a prolific stint at Tesla, where he was key in the production of the company’s revelatory Tesla Model S. “I spent seven years developing the car design, from conceptual conversation to watching it roll off the production line,” Conder explains, “I had never worked on a project so demanding and impacting on both myself and the world.”
His experience design sculpting cars allowed him to explore working intensely with materials such as clay and steel. “I learned the process of sculpting, of how to make objects from all materials that could represent a conceptual idea. I began to work with wood, steel, plaster, composites and most importantly clay. Clay became the medium of my deepest exploration.”
Clay and later, wax casting, have evolved into integral tools in the development of his personal design work. Conder uses solely solid materials - gold, brass, bronze, steel, wood, and leather. Smaller pieces are created by lost wax casting method in order preserve detail. Larger pieces are made by sand casting. Time and loving wear lends both a complex patina, and an evolving narrative to all his work. “I started designing out of curiosity to fill a void. I kept looking around trying to find certain objects that just didn’t exist. My intention is to create simply. You can find invitations in my work to know me, like fingerprints and unrefined corners. I want people to look at my work and understand the process and material.”
Throughout a varied career in design, Conder’s output has extended to everything from purely sculptural works of art, to functional pieces such as furniture, lighting, cups and even toilet brush stands. In a continuing collaboration with his wife, Beatrice Valenzuela, Conder has co-designed luxury shoes and accessories, as well as delving into all encompassing interior work, building out environments uniquely expressive of the couple’s combined aesthetic. “I’ve changed the scale of my work to meet a more personal place in my life,” say Conder of his creative evolution, “Each of my pieces comes from a real need in my life. I make a piece to suit my need and then extend the piece to others. I’m creating intimacy in objects, with the intention of the user finding humanity in return.”