American artist-designer Kim Markel was born in New York in 1984. She took a rather unusual approach to entering the design world, studying first at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, attaining both a Bachelor’s and Master's degree in public policy. After working in environmental and public policy for several years, Markel switched careers to work in one of the largest fine art foundries in the U.S., where she was involved in fabricating work for artists like Jeff Koons, Matthew Barney, and Frank Stella. In 2016, she embarked on her own design career, establishing her eponymous studio in Beacon, New York, where she continues to work.
Markel’s breakthrough project, the Glow (2016) collection of chairs, tables, and smaller design accessories made from recycled plastic, debuted at the Architectural Digest Design Show in New York City in 2016. The subtly translucent, sustainable pieces in a range of popsicle-inspired colors did not escape the notice of tastemakers and juries; Markel was awarded the Radio Star Prize for Innovation, an ICFF award for best seating, and Best of Year Award by Interior Design Magazine. Following on from the continued commercial and critical success of Glow, Markel released Artifact Vessels (2017)—a series of ethereal vases and vessels in an almost quartz-like, cotton-candy palette cut from amalgamate thermoplastic slabs that she creates in-house using production scraps. Markel’s work is characterized, of course, by its unique approach to eco-friendly design and material innovation, but equally by her captivating use of color and sculptural forms.
Markel exhibited pieces from the Glow collection at the Made Out of WHAT exhibition at Design Pavilion in New York City in 2017 and at the Museum of Art and Design, NYC. Her work has been covered by The New York Times, Architectural Digest, New York Post, Wanted Design, and numerous others.