American designer Max Lipsey was born in California in 1983 and raised in Aspen, Colorado. He began his education in the early 2000s in New York, studying design and graduating with a Bachelor of Arts from New York University in 2005. Having found the NYU program to be overly academic and intellectual, Lipsey applied and was accepted to the Design Academy Eindhoven program, where he hoped to learn more about the practical, hands-on side of the craft. Lipsey graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Design in 2007 and established his studio, Atelier Max Lipsey, the following year in Eindhoven. Since 2008, the studio has been a personal platform for the designer to develop and self-produce his own designs, work with companies on larger production runs, and reach out to initiate group projects.
Lipsey’s breakout moment was his graduation project, Branch Hooks (2007); a coat hook reminiscent of twigs or tree branches that sought to bring the outdoors directly into the living environment. Following the attention generated by his graduation project, he freelanced for design icon Maarten Baas and has since collaborated with production houses like Archiproducts, TH MANUFACTURE, and Cappellini. The latter—a collaboration with Cappellini on the Acciaio (2011) furniture series—is perhaps Lipsey’s best-known work to date. In this series of steel-framed seating and shelving, which includes dining chairs, the Acciaio Lounge (2014), Acciaio Shelves (2014), and the Acciaio Stool (2016), a metal-joinery technique called fillet-brazing is adopted from the manufacturing processes of classic racing bikes. The similarity to these elegant and meticulously crafted functional objects is heightened through Lipsey’s use of tapered frame and leg profiles, bright color palette, and optional racing-stripe stickers.
Alongside this stream of work that centers precision craftsmanship and clean, exacting design, Lipsey also engages with a more experimental and intuitive approach to design. The Temper Cube (2016), for example, which was a collaboration with Sabine Marcelis, uses extreme heat on the cubic steel structure to achieve a mottled, colored finish that is as unpredictable as it is beautiful. Lipsey has long been involved in theDutch Invertuals collective, participating in numerous exhibitions in Europe with the group, and is further represented by the Paris-based Gallery S. Bensimon.