Leonie Lacouette manages to strike a balance between concepts and influences that otherwise might seem like polar opposites-her elegant clocks successfully reconcile the strict geometries of Minimalism with a warm, approachable palette of colored patinas on the copper and nickel that predominate her designs. Created from a basic language of circles, squares, ovals, and rectangles, the clocks are not only beautiful, but often playful as well. In one design, the otherwise hidden movement of the pendulum swings gently back and forth, revealed by a perfectly circular hole punched through the face of the piece to create a dynamic (and unexpected) game of 'hide-and-seek'.
More than 30 years ago, Lacouette started making clocks, as a practical way to make a living while using the aesthetic training she'd received in art school. It all began when she needed a clock for her studio, and noticed an ad in a magazine for a company selling clock mechanisms. Ordering five, she used one to make her own timepiece, and then made four more to sell. They sold out immediately, and she's been making clocks ever since.
Working from her rural studio in upstate New York, Lacouette contrasts her life today with her youth, spent growing up in mid-town Manhattan. "I like the simplicity of my current work's design. Coming from Manhattan, everything was go-go-go, always accumulating more stuff-stuff-stuff, having lots of things. It feels great to have something simple and beautiful, a style that I can call my own."
Beauty meets functionality in these clocks as Lacouette continues to create new designs that refine the perfection of both. "I'm a mechanic as well as an artist," she says, "these things need to function, after all." Continuing her dedication to creating clocks that are modernist but affable, fusing geometric abstraction with softened edges and organic warmth, she hopes to extend the work in the future to include a broader palette of exotic wood veneers. Ever the good-natured perfectionist, Lacouette insists that "the main problem will be to make sure that they come from sustainable sources."
Bio by Beth E. Wilson. Photo of Leonie by Marlis Momber.
Text and artwork copyright © and TM 2000- Leonie Lacouette. All rights reserved.