Founded in 2012 by Angie West from Texas and Alberto Vélez from Bogotá, Refractory is a furniture, lighting, and object design studio based in Chicago. The studio conceives and produces rigorously crafted works in a language that is distinct within American and contemporary design landscapes. Layering traditional methods with modern tools, Refractory is both an evolution and an extension of a community of artisans who seek to create in the space where art meets collectible design.
The studio’s inspiration stems from a profound appreciation for the frontier’s terrain and geology. Each creation is unique, born from heat, chemical reactions, and human touch, resulting in variations and imperfections. An authentication code ensures genuineness and origin.
Refractory shares space with its sister company, West Supply—an esteemed design, art fabrication studio, foundry, and glassworks atelier. Here, skilled industrial designers and artisans utilize traditional techniques infused with modern methods.
Refractory contributes to an ongoing revival of American craftsmanship and small-scale urban manufacturing.