Is it every blogger’s secret wish to get into retail? This year alone, we’ve seen Sight Unseen’s own Shape Shop, Rhiannon Gilmore‘s Dream Shop at the Walker, and as of this Saturday, Su Wu of I’m Revolting‘s pop-up at Creatures of Comfort LA, entitled We’re Revolting. Perhaps it’s inevitable that we would all want to touch and feel and hold the objects we covet from afar, and to make tangible the narrative we create every day. But maybe it’s just as simple as this: “It’s kind of lonely being a blogger,” Wu says. “And this was a reason to get to know people. It’s kind of a scary thing: You think, ok, I admire their work, but will I actually get along with them? But in fact, I’m still kind of basking in it.”
Among the people Wu worked with who she had never met before: Jade Lai of Creatures of Comfort, a longtime fan of I’m Revolting who approached Wu after the success of our own New York pop-up. “It was basically a gift that fell out of the sky,” says Wu of the opportunity. They flirted with the idea of creating a concept for the shop, but ultimately Wu created her own internal framework: “I didn’t want it to be all textiles, or all metal, or all ceramics. I wanted to choose people who might not be familiar to the Creatures audience. And I wanted it to be things that lived right at the edge of use and art.” So while much of the work could be considered decorative, most of it serves a function as well. That includes David Neale’s painstakingly hand-cut aluminum combs, Doug Johnston’s sculptural coiled-rope hanging lamps, Ilana Kohn’s marbled scarves, and fiber art explorations by Mimi Jung, who’s better known as the jewelry designer behind Brook&Lyn (and who took the lovely photographs we’re previewing in our slideshow at right.) The result is a tightly curated collection of little gems, all of which will be gone before you know it.
If you ever have the privilege of chatting up Jade Lai, who owns the bicoastal cult fashion emporium Creatures of Comfort, don't be surprised if she tells you that, after returning from a trip to Morocco last year with no less than 15 carpets in tow, she was struck by the notion that she could totally see herself in the rug business. And when this is followed by the revelation that she’s looking to expand the Creatures of Comfort brand to encompass food, or that she’s been taking pottery classes, or that she hopes to run a bed and breakfast sometime soon, resist the urge to raise an eyebrow — these may sound like the ramblings of a dilettante, but make no mistake, Lai is both hyper-creative and legitimately driven. Consider, for example, the year she spent working as a product developer for Esprit in her native Hong Kong: She took the job after having graduated with an architecture degree, freelanced as a graphic designer, and started her own stationery line in L.A., but proceeded to become so good at it that she could eventually identify a fabric’s contents by touch alone — a useful skill for someone who now designs Creatures of Comfort’s in-house fashion line, and one that would certainly come in handy for any aspiring carpet slinger.
By the close of Sight Unseen's four-day pop-up during the Noho Design District last year, we'd come to realize a few things. One: that we quite enjoy being shopkeepers — the merchandising of objects, the banter with the public, the satisfying swipe of each credit card through our handy Square readers. And two: that four days was not nearly enough. As we watched the objects we'd put so much effort into procuring move on to more permanent retail homes, we felt a vague sense of deflation, almost like a break-up, and we immediately began plotting for pop-up number two. Never, though, did we dream what would happen next: We were approached by Jade Lai, owner of the impeccably curated Creatures of Comfort store in New York and Los Angeles, to create a Sight Unseen pop-up in the gallery space of her New York store, which had previously played host to temporary outposts from the likes of Confettisystem, Textfield, and the Japanese housewares shop Playmountain. After months of planning, we finally debuted the Sight Unseen Shape Shop this Tuesday at a blowout party.
When we first began following the inspiration blog mysteriously known as I'm Revolting, we knew we'd found a kindred spirit, at least aesthetically. (If you're even the slightest fan of our Pinterest, you should know that many of our posts originate with I'm Revolting's boards, or result from tumbling down the internet rabbit hole after reading one of her posts.) But it was only when we asked the Los Angeles–based blogger — whose real name is Su Wu — to pen one of our Q&A columns that we truly knew we'd stumbled upon one of our own: A former journalist who threw the contents of her interior world online after the publication for which she was writing folded, Wu is an image collector, a thinker, and a fantastic writer to boot. Today for Sight Unseen she interviews Brent Pearson, the artist behind a heavy, handmade pair of kaleidoscopic glasses known as Future Eyes.