What it is The Streng brothers create progressive furnishings, appliances and consumer products that are sculpted, sleek and soothing all at once. Their commercial client list boasts well-known names such as Kohler, Herman Miller, and Swatch, and they’ve also received numerous design-industry awards and have been recognized by the Ten Avant Garde and the Smithsonian’s Cooper-Hewitt Design Triennial for their impeccable and always spot-on trend foresight.
Who they are Trained at the Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design, the brothers work out of their Garfield Park studio. (Daniel has lived in the city for 14 years, Chris for five years.) The duo is inspired by advancements in how different materials are made and environmental sustainability, as well as Japanese naturalistic minimalism.
What they make Recent designs include Kohler’s overflowing sok tub ($5,500–$6,600) and the ultra-mod, neon gel-coated Ubu ($560) stools—Paris Hilton owns one. Client requests are often hush-hush as Streng’s projects usually don’t appear on the market until five to ten years after they’re conceived. However, a more affordable spring 2008 furniture line is in the works. “We hope to extend our reach past the white walls of exhibition rooms,” Chris says. One of the pieces, a contemporary flat-back café chair called C07 (pictured, below left) will be available in various finishes, from raw wood to glossy plastic.
Where to find them Although many of Streng’s works are held in private collections, some are also available at Orange Skin (223 W Erie St, 312-335-1033). You might see the designers wandering around the SOFA (Sculptural Objects & Functional Art) Exposition at Navy Pier this weekend, where they’ve presented in the past. The pair wants to check out a few exhibits like the contemporary work furniture from Illinois’ Crab Tree Farm. They’ll also listen to guest speaker Critz Campbell of B9 Furniture, with whom Streng recently exhibited at the Cooper-Hewitt Design Museum. “His work is a great example of the spaces where the craft of an artisan and design come together,” Daniel says.