Martin Kastner of Crucial Detail - Biography

Chicago, IL

May 2012

Born in the Czech Republic and trained as a blacksmith, Martin Kastner spent some of his early career restoring historical metalworks at a castle in Western Bohemia. If anyone could leave that romanticism behind, it was Kastner, who was inspired to work with natural materials in design and sculpture.

It wasn’t long before Kastner came to the United States, and not much longer before he founded Crucial Detail, a multidisciplinary design practice that houses myriad projects, from product development and graphic design to photography and corporate image management. Expanding his medium well beyond the blacksmiths’ range, Kastner saw Crucial Detail as a way to blur the lines between design and art—much the same way a chef fuses the technical perfection of cuisine with interpretive license.

Kastner is best known for his Alinea serviceware concepts, which landed him on The Future Laboratory's list of the 100 most influential individuals in contemporary design. Alinea Book, which Kastner designed in collaboration with Naissance Inc., was one of the winners in 2009 Communication Arts Design Annual for Best Book Design and is included in Altitude's “The Best of Cover Design.” Beyond appearances at events like Alimentaria (2004), Madrid Fusion (2009), and Gravity Free (2012), his work has been featured in numerous publications, including Gourmet, Wired Magazine, The Huffington Post, Fast Company, and the Bon Appetit blog.