A few weeks ago, I got an email from our friend Su Wu at I’m Revolting, asking if I’d be part of a show she was putting together for Kiosk. “Will you send me a stone?” she asked. “The show is of rocks; everybody loves looking at rocks! Me too: you know I move slowly on beaches. It can be a pebble from your morning walk or a pretty specimen, craggy or river-smooth, petrified, funny holes.” As someone whose daily routine hardly deviates from a straight line through the East Village, I didn’t have anything particularly suitable. But starting this week at Kiosk (and on Instagram at #stoneshow) you can find out who did. The results were delightfully inventive and weird: Albert Chu from OTAAT sent hot-pink Pop Rocks; Doug Johnston sent a solid piece of aluminum made from melted beer cans that people had thrown into a campfire; and Bari Ziperstein’s rock crystal, which dissolves in water, can only be cleaned with smelly vats of brine. Some of them were also surprisingly moving: “Lauren Ardis found her rock in Bolinas; it has a heart shaped indent in the back,” Wu says. “She used to make fun of her mom for collecting heart-shaped rocks; now, she laughs about getting more sentimental with age.” The rocks will be exhibited at Kiosk’s new location at 540 LaGuardia Place and placed at the base of a tree outside the shop when the exhibition ends. Here’s a snapshot of the submissions.
Though we think of anniversaries as somewhat arbitrary — what makes five years somehow more important than four? — they do offer a good excuse to stop and take stock of how far you’ve come. If you’ve survived for five years in the blog world, for example, where it’s hard to make people pay attention and even harder to make a living, that’s certainly something worth celebrating. Next month is Sight Unseen’s fifth birthday — we launched the site on November 11, 2009 — and we’ve decided to mark the occasion in the same way we did for our first, with a party and a call for our favorite designers and readers to make us a birthday card. Click here to check out the submissions we received back in 2010, including the card above by Gershon Paul, then follow the simple instructions after the jump to help us make this year’s celebration even better.
A weekly Saturday recap to share with you our favorite links, discoveries, exhibitions, and more from the past seven days. This week was full of unexpected mashups: Norway meets Andalusia in a restaurant interior, wicker meets resin in a series of tabletop objects, bacteria meets brass in a pendant lamp, and Scandinavian motifs mingle with Native American ones in a new collection of tiles by Commune.
Before she got hooked on weaving, Rachel Gottesman was both a painter and a jewelry-maker, and the influence of those preoccupations is wonderfully obvious in her small-scale textiles, which she creates under the name Heddle & Needle. Gottesman treats each small weaving as a tiny canvas on which to work out ideas about things like color, composition, linearity, topography, and adornment. Formerly a director of artist relations at Threadless in Chicago, Gottesman moved back to New York about a year ago, and in the short time since she discovered her affinity for the medium, she’s made weavings that incorporate grids, geometrics, hieroglyphs, brass charms — even tiny squares made to look like Boucherouite rugs. The weavings are small – usually no more than a foot wide and two feet long, though she has plans to go big — and accessibly priced, which is why we immediately looked her up when we needed someone to create a textile series for our recent pop-up at Space Ninety 8. At the same time, we thought it was the perfect time to get to know her a little bit better on the site.
Vase Trophé ©POOL
Here’s the truth: We haven’t visited France in nearly a decade, and though we know there’s a scene there full of wonderful young talents on the verge of something huge, we’d be hard pressed to dissect it with the same kind of intimate knowledge that we bring to the players on our own soil. That said, if there’s one studio we’ve kind of been obsessing over lately, it’s Pool — the Paris-based duo of Léa Padovani and Sébastien Kieffer, who met while working for designer Noe Duchaufour-Lawrence. As Pool, they’ve created products for La Chance, Petite Friture, and Gallery S. Bensimon, and in Kortrijk this week, at the Interieur Biennale, they’re gathering their best work together under one roof. The exhibition Walk the Line, on view until Sunday, includes previous favorites, like their hammered copper and painted metal Maillet lamp, as well as never before seen works like the green Trophé vase at the top of this post. Go see it if you’re in the area, and if you’re not, keep an eye on this page for great things coming down the pike and read on for even more fantastic images.
The team behind Fort Makers don’t refer to themselves as a design studio but rather an “artist collective,” and there’s a marked difference: They make functional objects, but instead of producing a stream of products with a unified aesthetic, they each work individually under the studio umbrella, experimenting with whatever interests them at any given time. In a way, it’s that same sense of structureless structure that first attracted Noah Spencer to the idea of making mobiles: You can hang pretty much anything from them, as long as you get the balance right. “Any kind of visual language can be carried into the mobile world,” says Spencer, a Paul Loebach and Uhuru Design alum who co-founded Fort Makers in 2008. While he primarily makes models hung with simple wooden shapes, he’s also been toying around lately with more expressive elements made from polymer clay (aka Sculpey), a method he graciously offered to teach Sight Unseen readers in this tutorial.
Australian ceramicist Tessy King may only just be finishing her degree in ceramics at RMIT in Brunswick, but that doesn’t mean she’s a novice. Originally from a small town in Northern New South Wales, King studied nursing and naturopathy at a small university after high school and credits her interest in the medium back to those days as a budding scientist. “I often refer back to some of that knowledge when contemplating my work,” she says. “Ceramics involves so much chemistry.”
Michele Reginaldi is an established Italian architect and visual artist. Born in Teramo in 1958, he has been a partner at Gregotti Associati since 1998. He began working on a series of form studies — what he refers to as constructions — in the late 1980s that have grown to include more than 120 individual pieces. These constructions range in size and shape, but all are made from the same material — brass. Reginaldi classifies his constructions into four categories: studies around the circle, studies in verticality, light structures, and constructions for architecture. These pieces are crucial to his success as an architect; on their own the constructions are beautiful sculptural works, but when put into the context of architecture they become important explorations in scale and proportion. Knowing this, his constructions’ influence is clearly evident when browsing the architectural projects of his practice.