Leong Leong’s TOPO Installation for Ford at Sight Unseen OFFSITE

Design-lovers seeking a moment of calm this week will find just that in TOPO, the immersive sound bath installation designed by Leong Leong for Ford that's featured at our third annual Sight Unseen OFFSITE show, open today through Monday. Inspired by the experience of driving through landscapes in the Ford Edge, TOPO is a space to chill out, lounge around, and tune in to a meditative experimental soundtrack created by the designers with the engineers at ARUP.

Gyrecraft by Studio Swine

At a material level, Gyrecraft is a collection of high-end objects made with plastic debris reclaimed from the ocean. But the significance of the project lies in the complex historic and cultural references woven into its narrative and assembled into a compelling critique of the modern concept of luxury.

Chris Wolston’s Fetish Lights

One of the many great things about living in this post-Postmodern, cyber-gray area of the 2k10s, is that artists and designers can draw inspiration from pretty much any culture or period and come away with something new and exciting. There's the brightly colored, geometric, “playful” route that has become so popular with today’s makers — and then there’s Brooklyn’s Chris Wolston. His approach to making is often from a primordial or primitive perspective, where senses of the handmade and the human spirit are easily discernable.

Eyebodega’s Vase Series

If we had a nickel for every time we heard a designer or artist express the desire to work across scales, disciplines, or dimensions, we could probably buy one of these. But earlier this week was the first time we’d heard this zeitgeisty little zinger: “It’s exciting to be producing things we can share with people, as opposed to just clicking a ‘share’ button.” While most graphic design studios dabble in physicality by way of books and other printed ephemera, the young New York duo Eyebodega — to whose co-principal Rob Chabebe said quote can be attributed — have been using 3-D printing to quite literally turn their Pinterest-ready digital illustrations into objects you can have and hold.
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Steven Haulenbeek’s Ice-Cast Bronze Collection

We’ve heard of something being a product of its environment, but never has that phrase rung so true as it does with the pieces in Steven Haulenbeek’s Ice-Cast Bronze series, on view this month at Chicago’s Casati Gallery, which were made largely in a trough of ice outside Haulenbeek’s studio window during last winter’s deep freeze. Haulenbeek — who knows from frigid winters, having grown up and studied sculpture in Michigan and lived in Chicago for the better part of his adult life — originally conceived the series back in 2011, when he was fooling around with pouring wax into frozen puddles on Chicago’s city streets. But this winter’s extreme conditions — while providing little but consternation for everyone else — gave Haulenbeek the opportunity to take the whole operation onto a much larger scale. We recently spoke with the Chicago-based designer to find out a little more about the origins and making of his new collection.

The Stacks Series by Clemens Kois

Not everyone would spot the potential magic in a cluster of their children's medicine bottles, or in utilitarian household items like batteries, lightbulbs, and binder clips. But before he began constructing and shooting teetering towers of such trifles, photographer Clemens Kois had plenty of practice: as a longtime flea market enthusiast and avid collector — of Carl Aübock designs, among many others — he had spent decades perceiving a heightened level of beauty and value in objects others might overlook. Each image in his ongoing Stacks series always begins with a few such things he's harvested from somewhere in his New York apartment, which he builds into a delicately balanced vertical composition, like arranging the notes in a song.

Material Material, by Doug Johnston & Debbie Carlos

The practice of two artists collaborating by mail is nothing new; after all, that’s how Peter Shire communicated ideas to his Memphis colleagues back in 1980s Milan and how Alex Segreti and Kelly Rakowski of New Friends got their start (with the former in Philly and the latter in New York.) But what happens when you elevate that practice to something more like a parlor game? We here at Sight Unseen had been wondering that ourselves, which is why we were especially tickled when we found out that Debbie Carlos and Doug Johnston — two of our favorites — had recently happened upon the exact same idea.

Andy Rementer’s People Blocks

One of the only things that bummed us out about doing a printed edition last year was that it was, in the end, an edition — only 400 of you (give or take a few) ever read the stories housed within its covers. Take Andy Rementer’s Inventory story, for which the Philadelphia-based illustrator styled and photographed his own creative influences, which ran from vintage lettering manuals to Italo comics. It was one of our favorite stories we’ve ever published. But the good thing about creative people is that they tend to keep creating awesomely publishable things, so today we bring you Rementer’s latest: interchangeable “People Blocks,” created in collaboration with the Belgium-based object editors Case Studyo.

Lena Corwin’s Made By Hand

The sense that anyone can attempt these 26 DIYs — which include tie-dying with Shabd Simon-Alexander, jewelry-making with Jennifer Sarkilahti of Odette, and marbling with Ilana Kohn — comes in part from the incredibly detailed, step-by-step photographs, which were taken during the course of a weeklong shoot last fall at the Textile Arts Center in Brooklyn by Maria Alexandra Vettese and Stephanie Congdon Barnes, of the photography site 3191 Miles Apart, who also shot the film photographs documenting the day-by-day of the shoot, which we're sharing here today,

Nick Ross’s Objects of Ambiquity Series

In the fictional narrative behind his Objects of Ambiquity series, Nick Ross is a designer from the future who's been hired by a history museum called The Institution to work as an "object mediator," delving into the origins and possible uses of any mysterious artifacts the rest of the staff can't identify. When he presented the project at the Konstfack graduate thesis show earlier this year — including his White Lies table (pictured above), A Mirror Darkly, and Baltic Gold shelves — he staged the presentation as if it were a snapshot from The Institution itself, his pieces being among the targets of his imagined discovery process. "The story of Objects of Ambiquity is a vessel used to highlight the role of fiction within historical records," says Ross. "While doing this, it simultaneously questions the designer’s possible future role within this context and how this will alter our understanding of what a museum is."

Wary Meyers’ Candles

If you want to put too fine a point on it, you could say that John and Linda Meyers specialize professionally in obscurity. The couple run a brand and webshop called Wary Meyers, where they sell flea-market ephemera that often have a delightful but abstruse narrative attached, and their own goods like Gonks, which are handmade creatures for kids based on an old World War I British archetype. They also made themselves scarce a few years ago when John, a former visual merchandiser at Anthropologie, and Linda, an art director, picked up and left Manhattan for a quieter life in Portland, Maine. But as a young couple with a very young child, they felt increasingly that they ought to be investing their time in something that might one day become ubiquitous: “The thing with our company is we’ve always done a lot of one-offs and prototypes — things where we’ll make one item and then it’s like, ‘Well, how do we produce them somewhat cheaply and not in China?’” says Linda. “And everything we did before seemed slightly esoteric. We had a book where we did 50 DIY projects and people loved the products and were like, ‘Do you want to sell them?’ And it was kind of like, ‘Well, do you want to pay $1500 for a dresser?’” Which is why last week, the couple released their first — “dare I say mainstream?” jokes Linda — product: A line of scented candles with iconic-seeming packaging and incredibly inviting-sounding scents.
“Henry was getting older at this point. We would have to do 30-second shoots, like three images and if it didn’t work, too bad. You can see in the cape image, he looks crabby. When he was little, you’d hold him up and he was automatically in flying position. But at this point he was a little boy and it was really hard to get him to look like he was calmly flying.”

Rachel Hulin’s Flying Baby Series

The photographs in Rachel Hulin’s Flying Series, in which her baby Henry appears to float in the landscape, have a dreamy, almost magical quality to them, but they started in the most pedestrian of ways: Hulin was kind of bored. A new mom who’d recently relocated from Brooklyn to Providence, Rhode Island, she says, “I was looking for a project to sink my teeth into while I was home with Henry when he was so little. I was trying figure out motherhood and the whole thing seemed so weird to me.” A former blogger and photo editor who’d spent the better part of nine years constantly looking at pictures, she was aware of a genre of photos called “floaters” and was interested in the figure in landscape as well — “finding a beautiful scene and somehow making it more personal by putting someone you love in it,” she says. She never expected to do a floating series of her own, but once she did one photo, she was kind of hooked. “Partly it was being in a new city, trying to find special places with a baby,” she says. “It was a nice thing to do together. It became what we did in the afternoons.”