Ask anyone what kind of houseplant you ought to get if you're cursed with a black thumb, and you're nearly always regaled with tales of the wonderful, unkillable qualities of cacti and succulents. But frankly, we've had bad luck with more than a few of that breed. Été Studios, a new product-design studio based in Seoul, Korea, is here to help. Their first line of products consists of a series of vases and pots specially designed to make growing cacti and succulents easier. Larger vessels are made from copper, a material known for its antimicrobial properties that inhibit bacterial growth, and smaller, hydroponic vases are made from two parts: "A plant is placed on top of the holder, and its root system passes through the copper pipe and into the vessel. Cactus and succulents thrive in a condition in which the plant is kept dry except for its root system. This vase — while allowing the root system to be in contact with water, which only needs to be changed once a week — keeps the rest of the plants dry." The fact that they're beautiful to boot is icing on the cake.
After our recent post on jewelry created by famous '80s-era Memphis-group architects, readers came to us asking where they could find the pieces (good luck), while even copies of the out-of-print book we pulled the images from immediately became exponentially harder to procure (for under $350, at least). And so despite the excitement the post generated, it was destined to remain a mere digital artifact for most. That's why we were so happy to discover, shortly thereafter, Acme's Legacy collection, through which the 30-year-old accessories brand — which these days focuses on designer pens — has been quietly pulling Memphis jewelry pieces out of its archives and making them available for sale at shockingly reasonable price points. From 1985 to 1992, Acme founders Adrian Olabuenaga and Leslie Bailey produced more than 100 different earrings, brooches, and necklaces by design titans like Ettore Sottsass, Joanna Grawunder, Alessandro Mendini, and George Sowden, a big chunk of which are now up for grabs on its Legacy page. We asked Olabuenaga a few questions about the history and future of the project.
We've been huge fans of Cranbrook grad Jesse Moretti's work ever since her solo show at Patrick Parrish gallery (then Mondo Cane), way back in 2013. There's something about the palette Moretti uses, the saturated gradients she employs, and the way she zigzags back and forth between spare, geometric marks and full-bleed patterns that is absolutely perfect to us. The only problem with the pieces she made for Parrish was their ever-so-slightly out-of-reach price tag. So it was with great excitement that we stumbled upon Moretti's latest edition — a series of seven small works on paper (either 8.5 x 11" or 17 x 22") for the San Francisco–based shop and publishing house Little Paper Planes, ranging in price from $35 to $130. (Yes, we already put in our order!) We're posting images from that collection here today and also excerpting a brief interview Moretti did with LPP. Read all about here, then hop on over to the shop to make these beauties yours!
The past few years have proven that — every once in a while — a fashion label can make a successful, mostly non-embarrassing crossover into furniture and housewares. Margiela, Hermès, and Rick Owens all come to mind, but who better than a textile designer to make the leap? At last week's Capsule show, Ellen Van Dusen of the Brooklyn-based clothing brand Dusen Dusen launched a brand new line of soft goods for the home that feature her signature geometric patterns — sheets, blankets, rugs, towels, pillows, and a pouf — and the extension feels totally natural, like it was meant to be. Today she's giving Sight Unseen a first peek at the line's lookbook photos, which were shot by SU contributor Brian Ferry and feature cameos by both SNL comedian Aidy Bryant and Van Dusen's official canine mascot, Snips.
At last year's Milan Furniture Fair, we had an extremely rare — but kind of major — fangirl moment. It wasn't in response to some big-name Bouroullec-type designer with an installation around town or even Anna Della Russo, who you sometimes see flitting from party to party. It was a Swedish interior architect and photographer named Tekla Evelina Severin — better known on Instagram as Teklan — who we met on a lazy afternoon while exploring Venture Lambrate. Severin has hands down one of the most beautiful Instagrams around, so we were insanely excited to meet her, and even happier when this beauty of a story popped up on Urban Outfitters' blog earlier this month. On the occasion of Valentine's Day, Urban asked Severin to provide them with a series of pink photos that said something about the way she sees the world; of her addictive feed, she says, it's "65 percent impromptu and 35 percent planned. Often it's just things I notice as I pass them or when I'm traveling. Or sometimes it's a place I've seen and not been able to get over." Read on for a selection of our favorite images from the story, then click through for even more photos and an interview with the designer. (And if you don't, follow her on Instagram already, will ya?!)
There was a time, not so long ago, when visitors to New York wouldn't dream of staying anywhere but Manhattan — that all changed, of course, as soon as Brooklyn became an international brand with Williamsburg as its capital, spawning hotels like the Wythe and the Mccarren. Airbnb's rise has also inspired adventurous travelers to fan out to all sorts of peripheral neighborhoods in big cities around the world. And so it's inevitable that a place like Los Feliz, an epicenter of Los Angeles's east-side hipster scene, recently joined the hospitality game, with the opening of the five-room Hotel Covell. Sitting above a popular wine bar of the same name, it pairs a few familiar boutique hotel tropes (thrift-store art, vintage record players) with amazing furnishings by some of our favorite local designers, including Eric Trine, Brendan Ravenhill, and Atelier de Troupe.
Every few seasons, it seems the internet cycles through a trending plant: flowering cacti, Fiddle Leaf Figs, Pilea Peperomiodies, Monsteras, succulent gardens, bouquets of dried eucalyptus (that you hang in the shower, natch), olive branches, an air plant in a terrarium. But here's a wild proposal: Are we actually in the era of the 2-D houseplant? 2014 had a number of contenders, from the art-driven Strange Plants to Polly Brown's study on office plants, to some sort of black and white Japanese ikebana reference on basically everyone's Instagram feed (guilty as charged). A new contender for this category is Barcelona-based Flora Indoor, a line of minimal (but cheerfully colorful) prints of thriving houseplants.
Though we have a particular fondness for so many of the designers we've featured or worked with in the five years since Sight Unseen began, Huy Bui might be the only one who can lay claim to being both one of our favorite designers and the co-founder of one of our favorite New York restaurants. As the founder of Plant-In City — or what he calls architectural terrariums for "the 21st century" — Bui was one of the inaugural exhibitors at our Sight Unseen OFFSITE showcase last year. And as the designer and co-founder of the Lower East Side Vietnamese eatery An Choi, Bui's provided the backdrop for many a late-night design date. So when Freunde von Freunden reached out with the opportunity to co-publish a story on Bui's Brooklyn apartment and studio — complete with cameos by the designer's sweet dog Loopy, one of the more popular attractions at OFFSITE last year — we jumped at the chance.
One of the best things about ceramics' recent ascent in the art world is that a brighter light has been shone on designers who were practicing in the medium long before "urban claymaking" was ever a thing. The latest artist to experience a massive upswing in attention is Ron Nagle, the San Francisco–based postwar ceramicist who, in his 70s, still adds to his already massive body of work at an amazing clip. Shown at the last art Biennale in Venice, Nagle is currently the subject of both an exhibition at the San Diego Museum of Art and a lovely feature in the new issue of PIN-UP Magazine, who writes of Nagle's process: "Each [piece] boasts the presence of a monument covered in variations of fine stucco textures sprayed with layers of pastel, blush fields often overtaken by thick glazed pools and electric pinstripes. The pieces begin as collections of hand sculpted elements, and are slip cast, carved and fitted to each other, gaining their deep beds of color from multiple firings that are finished with chinapaint. The forms have shifted in theme through his career: from lean green tendrils hailing from ikebana to diorama scenes housing pulsing red cubes." We're particularly fond of a recurring trope in Nagle's work that resembles glassy spears of asparagus, so we've rounded up a few of our favorite examples here.
When we profiled the designer and artist Alyson Fox last year, on a visit to the home she and her husband built themselves in the wilds of Texas, we spent much of the story marveling at the sheer, unrelenting range and volume of her creative output. Which is to say: We could theoretically be writing about some new project of hers every week if we wanted to — she's just that prolific. We won't go there, of course, yet when of-the-moment Danish housewares brand Ferm Living offered to let us be the first to share the new line it's done in collaboration with Fox, in advance of revealing its full 2015 collection to the world tomorrow, we figured it was as good a time as any to check in with the talent.
Sometimes you have to laugh at your own predictability. It was love at first sight when I first saw these images of Los Angeles photographer Marten Elder's work in the fantastic new issue of 01 Magazine (which also features SU faves like Oeuffice and Doug Johnston). But when I began to read the article, it became immediately clear to me why: Elder studied at Bard College, where his senior project advisor was Stephen Shore, another visual fascination of mine. But while Elder's older work is more like Shore's in its exquisitely faithful representation of a banal reality, his newer work represents a more color-saturated view of those equally ordinary vistas (a concrete street corner, a stack of scaffolding.) The accompanying interview is great, so we're excerpted part of it, as well as our favorite images, here. Go to 01's current issue for the full article, then visit Elder's website for even more images.
We are completely intrigued by Australia. It almost feels like a parallel universe sometimes — it's on the totally opposite side of the world from us, and it has its own thriving design scene that we're constantly being reminded we know precious little about. That's how we felt a few weeks ago when the Sydney-based creative studio Page Thirty Three contacted us out of the blue to introduce us to their latest collection, Optical Delusion, which consists of shelves, lamps, chairs, and tables inspired by puzzles, simple mechanics, and neolithic forms. Now we're introducing it to you. Click through to see images from Page Thirty Three's new collection, much of which is hand-crafted in their own workshop.