Though your Sight Unseen editors have been in major curation mode for the past two weeks, we’ve also had day to day work to do as, you know, journalists. So for five days during our Sight Unseen OFFSITE event last week, Monica and I set up camp on the Astroturf-covered bleachers of the MOLD Future Food Café, where we caught up on emails and posted stories to this very site. It was the perfect vantage point from which to view our own event: We could see friends and VIPs on their way in, and we could overhear people heading to the elevator, on their way up to the second floor. The most common refrain we heard? “Oh my God, there’s more upstairs?”
So much more — the second floor of Sight Unseen OFFSITE played host to no fewer than 36 independent designers (and one dog named Loopy), who hailed from places as far as Mälmo, Sweden, and as near as Red Hook, Brooklyn. Each designer was hand-picked by us, but we never dreamed when we began curating it exactly how vast the range of work on show would be.
When we founded the Noho Design District back in 2009, it was meant to provide a much-needed, well-curated platform for independent designers, whose numbers — particularly in America — had begun to surge. But it was also meant to add an extra dose of dimension and excitement to New York Design Week (or NYCxDesign, as it has since come to be known), which at the time was considered preeeeeetty lackluster, to say the least. By that measure alone, the first edition of Sight Unseen OFFSITE, our successor to the Noho Design District, was a massive success; word on the street was that this NYDW was the best anyone could remember, and we're proud to have played a significant role.
Back in March, we gave you a small taste of what was to come at Sight Unseen OFFSITE, our brand new nomadic design fair opening May 16 at 200 Lafayette Street in New York's Soho neighborhood. But a lot has happened since then! Most notably, we've brought some exciting partners on board and finalized our official lineup, which is now packed with more than 50 independent designers and forward-thinking brands, all of whom have been hand-picked by the editors at Sight Unseen. Open to the public May 16 to 20 — during the hours of 12PM to 7PM Friday and 11AM to 7PM Saturday through Tuesday — Sight Unseen OFFSITE is New York design week's most exciting platform for new ideas and talents. Check out a small preview after the jump of some of the works that will be on view during the show, then join us next weekend to see it in person!
We've had a special place in our hearts for Spanish design for as long as we can remember. After all, the very first scouting trip we ever took for Sight Unseen, way back in the summer of 2009, was to sunny Barcelona. (Don't even get us started on Design in Spain, the last full issue Monica and I worked on at I.D. Magazine, and one of our personal favorites, period.) So when the Spanish trade commission in New York asked us earlier this spring if we'd be interested in curating a selection of our favorite recent Spanish designs for Sight Unseen OFFSITE, the answer was an unequivocal yes. In the end, we chose 17 items that seemed classically Spanish, ranging as they did from sweet to silly, elegant to experimental and mixing classic materials like copper and wood with those never before used in design (melted gummy bear paint wash, anyone?) Once the designs had been selected, the emerging Barcelona studio Mermelada set about designing the exhibition (now called Sight Unseen x Mermelada Estudio ♥ Spanish Design) and styling the items. Read all about the works on display here, then check out Interiors From Spain for even more information about the participating designers.