It may seem daring to open an exhibition on the eve of the annual design carnival that is graduate show season in London but Marcin Rusak doesn’t have to worry about a lack of attention. It was a big year for the London-based designer, who kicked off his artistic career with exhibiting at the Victoria and Albert museum and securing the coveted Perrier-Jouët Arts Salon Prize for emerging talent within just a year of graduating from the RCA last year. His first solo show, “Inflorescence and Other Artefacts,” is a display of dichotomies, constantly flipping between natural and synthetic, authentic and fake, beautiful and seductively grotesque, forcing viewers to form their own opinion about the value of the objects on display.
We’ve said it before — Australia often feels like a strange parallel universe to us. We know it’s bursting with amazing design talent, but it all feels so far away, and it’s not easy for us to assess what the new hot restaurant or hotel or creative agency may be at any given time. For those of us who pride ourselves on being up on the cultural landscape of the Western hemisphere, it’s a weird feeling, but in a way, it’s also a nice one: We didn’t have to think too hard when the Melbourne firm Wildhen sent us their portfolio recently, we just poked through it and objectively liked what we saw, from packaging for a boutique pharmacy to still life shoots for an online nursery.
While Portugal is probably best known, these days, for manufacturing clothing and shoes for big brands like COS, Zara, and Camper — or if you’re a product designer, for supplying 50% of the world’s cork — Porto-based designer and printmaker Célia Esteves homed in on its longtime flat-weave rug-making tradition when she founded GUR two years ago. After meeting a weaver in her hometown of Viana de Castelo, who for 15 years had been handcrafting the style of rug that she’d seen on “every Portuguese kitchen floor” since she was a child, Esteves decided to hire the weaver to use the same technique to produce colorful limited-edition designs commissioned from illustrators she knew and admired, like Atelier Bingo and Ferreol Babin. We recently interviewed Esteves about the project, which has collabs with Après Ski and Reality Studio on the way; scroll down to read more about how she transformed a local craft into a contemporary design brand.
It’s graduate show season in London, and though we’ll be featuring students from all over town in the coming weeks, we’ve found over the years that no show is quite as spectacular — or up our alley — as the Royal College of Art’s. With its esteemed alumni including the likes of Barbara Hepworth, Thomas Heatherwick, Tracey Emin, and David Hockney — not to mention some of our favorite contemporary designers, such as Max Lamb, Hunting & Narud, Soft Baroque, Fredrik Paulsen, and Hilda Hellström — Show RCA always boasts an impressive arsenal of postgraduate talent across a variety of disciplines.
When we first invited one of our favorite prop stylists, Seattle’s Amanda Ringstad, to create a shoot around Q+Q’s line of waterproof, solar-powered watches last year, she attempted to abstract the simple, color-blocked designs into ambiguous shapes and arrangements. For its 2015 collection, however, the Japanese brand — who partnered with us for a second time at this year’s Sight Unseen OFFSITE — went wild with pattern, so we thought it would be especially compelling to return to Ringstad once again and see how that might change her aesthetic approach. The result is a series of playful, summery images shot inside a big bucket of water that imagine the watches as eye-catchingly outfitted, anthropomorphized bathers.
Though she studied textiles at London’s Royal College of Art, Lily Kamper spent most of her time in the jewelry department experimenting with acrylic, resin, and offcuts of Corian. The lathe became her tool of choice, enabling her to machine pillar-like, geometric forms that could transform those everyday materials into vibrant, beautifully crafted pendants and accessories.
A weekly Saturday recap to share with you our favorite links, discoveries, exhibitions, and more from the past seven days. This week, a bounty of colorful goodies to go along with America’s end-of-week joy hangover: euphoria–inducing interiors, retro-futuristic group shows, and lots and lots of colorful Op-Art — plus a deconstructed jungle gym (above)!
Back in 2012, we wrote about the launch of a gallery called Beginnings in Brooklyn, which, a year later, met an untimely and unfortunate end. But two of the gallery’s founders have since gone on to forge a new (ahem) beginning, this time giving it a far less superstitious name: TOOOLS, a Los Angeles–based object-design company recently started by artist Caroline Hwang and designer Joel Speaskmaker that aims to be “a new company with an old ethos: form & function.” See what the duo have to say about the project, and see tons of images, after the jump.