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Category Archives: The Essentials

  1. 02.06.14
    The Essentials
    What Your Favorite Designers Are Listening To This Winter

    When winter gets as unbearable as it has been for the past few weeks here in New York, we find the tiniest ways of coping — allowing ourselves to occasionally venture out of the house in our sweatpants, say, or to eat an inadvisable amount of ramen, or to shirk all our errands in favor of staying in bed just a little while longer. Music can’t technically warm us up, of course, but it helps too; it keeps our minds off the cold, keeps us moving. And for those who spend their days in huge, drafty workshops, doubly so. With that in mind — and inspired in part by RoAndCo’s annual “Wintry Mix” — we invited 13 designers and studios to share with Sight Unseen the songs they’ve been listening to this winter, and to tell us what they’ve been working on while listening to them. Check out their playlists on Spotify after the jump.

  2. 12.13.13
    The Essentials
    50 Gifts We’re Coveting

    Introducing the first annual Sight Unseen holiday gift guide! We’ve been scouring our favorite shops, both here and abroad, and starting yesterday we’ve been featuring 25 items per editor. Today’s picks come from Monica, whose taste runs more towards all things monochromatic, graphic, and geometric.

  3. 12.12.13
    The Essentials
    50 Gifts We’re Coveting

    Introducing the first annual Sight Unseen holiday gift guide! We’ve been scouring our favorite shops, both here and abroad, and over the next two days we’ll be featuring 25 items per editor. Today’s picks come from Jill, whose taste runs more towards all things pretty, colorful, and mid-century.

  4. 09.10.13
    The Essentials
    Our Favorite Sites, on Coast

    The first thing most people will notice when they start using Coast — the groundbreaking new designed-for-iPad browser by the Norwegian software company Opera — is that the experience doesn’t actually feel all that new. Sure, it’s completely different from any browser that’s come before: There are no scrollbars, no bookmarks, no tabs, no status bars. Gone, in fact, are nearly all buttons; everything on Coast is done via a swipe of the finger. But if using Coast feels familiar, that’s because Coast’s developers took their cues from the experience of using apps on the iPad, and the gestures used within apps themselves. The first thing we noticed of course, though, were the looks of the thing. Coast resembles an iPad screen; its main feature is a scrollable series of tiles, which you use to highlight your favorite sites rather than using bookmarks or tabs. Since users are encouraged to curate their home screen with most-read sites, just as you would an RSS reader (or a bookshelf IRL), we figured this would be the perfect excuse to create our own list of some of our favorite sites. Read on for our picks as well as a look at Coast’s other great new features.

  5. 04.02.13
    The Essentials
    Joel Evey, Graphic Designer

    Joel Evey owes his career to Pixar, believe it or not. He made a name for himself as part of the team that was bringing edgy, high-brow graphics to Urban Outfitters back in 2010 — with a style some like to call the “new ugly” — but at age 15, it was Toy Story that changed his life. “I saw it for the first time and was like, wow, that’s crazy! You can do that with a computer?” recalls Evey, who at the time was already about to head off to college early to study computer science. Instead of hard coding, he decided to pursue animation and 3-D graphics instead. “But animations took so long to render that I started to think, ‘Well, what happens when I take this image and just render one of them?’ Then, ‘What if I put type on it? What would that look like?’” The rest, as they say, is history.

  6. 10.03.11
    The Essentials
    Mike Meiré, Art Director

    History isn’t always kind to guys like Mike Meiré — become the poster child for a rebellious and polarizing creative movement like the “New Ugly,” which rocked the graphic design world in 2007 with its stretched typography and defiantly awkward layouts, and you’re practically begging for an expiration date. To achieve the kind of unqualified success that Meiré has since he started his career in Cologne 25 years ago demands two basic personal attributes: The ability to talk about even your most controversial work in a straightforward, no-bullshit manner, which helps people believe in what you’re doing, and the talent to excel at a diverse range of projects just in case they don’t. What you learn from reading interviews with Meiré, or in our case, sitting across from him at a dinner party hosted by Apartamento magazine during the Milan Furniture Fair, is that he’s driven far less by the desire to make a statement than by an earnest ambition to offer people products that are different from all the other ones already available to them. You also realize that the same guy who made his name art-directing publications like Brand Eins and 032c — and who most recently helped Russian doyenne Dasha Zhukova launch her latest project, the art and fashion magazine Garage — is just as likely to spend his time hanging pheasants inside modern farmhouse installations for Dornbracht, or collecting and exhibiting street food carts from around the world. In other words, even with the hype surrounding 032c having long abated, and that of Garage conspicuously angling to take its place, we still think Meiré’s a fundamentally interesting guy, so we asked him to share some of his favorite tools and inspirations below.

  7. 09.12.11
    The Essentials
    Marije Vogelzang of Proef, Designer and Restaurateur

    Back in 2000, when Marije Vogelzang had graduated from Eindhoven with a product-design degree and begun turning a school project — a funeral table set with all-white cuisine — into fodder for her nascent career, food design was still a relatively unknown discipline. Martí Guixé was already making experimental tapas and rice wine bottles with edible corks, but Arabeschi di Latte didn’t exist yet, Jennifer Rubell’s first art-brunch was still eight years away, and other young would-be practitioners like Franke Elshout, Annelies Hermsen, Katja Gruijters, and Janina Loeve were still just a twinkle in Li Edelkoort’s eye. By the time Vogelzang founded Proef, her Amsterdam restaurant and food lab, in 2004, she was at the leading edge of a movement that aimed to use creativity and critical thinking to heighten the sensory and emotional experience of eating. Ten years, countless interactive food events, one book, and a TED Talk later, her ideas are a constant source of curiosity for those both within the design world and beyond. We at Sight Unseen have personally been fans of Vogelzang’s work since we first took a hammer to her clay-baked vegetables at the London Design Festival in 2008 — an opinion only reinforced as we sipped artisanal cocktails laced with edible flowers at Proef this past winter — so we tracked her down to find out more about her own personal adventures in eating.

  8. 07.29.11
    The Essentials
    Moritz Waldemeyer, Designer and Engineer

    When the New York Times profiled the German-born, London-based designer-engineer Moritz Waldemeyer back in 2007, it took great pains to point out that — despite his studies in mechatronics and his background in R&D at Phillips — he was no pocket-protector-sporting, Coke-bottle-glasses-wearing “techno-wizard nerd.” But the amazing irony of those assertions turned out to be that in the four years since, Waldemeyer has gone on to rub shoulders with the kinds of people most designers would scarcely dream of being in the same room with. Having crossed from hard science into pioneering his own niche, marrying engineering and experimental lighting technologies with design and performance, Waldemeyer has seen his robotic dresses sashay down Hussein Chalayan’s runways, his laser-sprouting jackets worn onstage by Rihanna and Bono, and his light-up guitars and mic stands in the grips of Kylie Minogue and OK Go. He’s a techno wizard, alright, but by proxy alone, and certainly by virtue of his pioneering work, he’s cooler than the vast majority of the population. Having rubbed shoulders with Waldemeyer ourselves, we decided to invite him to kick off another new column we’re launching this week, called “The Essentials,” in which we’ll invite important and intriguing personalities to share the things that have become indispensable to their work and home life.