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Category Archives: What We Saw

  1. 05.22.15
    What We Saw
    At Sight Unseen OFFSITE 2015: Part II

    …In which we show you the rest of the incredible work we presented this year at Sight Unseen OFFSITE, which took place at Hudson Mercantile and featured the work of more than 100 designers, who hailed from places as varied as Los Angeles, Vancouver, Indianapolis, St. Augustine, FL, Detroit, Seattle, Montreal, and, of course, Brooklyn. If you happened to miss it — or if you just want to relive the glory — check out our slideshow after the jump, which features all of the studios that exhibited on the 6th floor of our show.

  2. 05.22.15
    What We Saw
    At Sight Unseen OFFSITE 2015: Part I

    As anyone who’s ever made an album knows, sophomore efforts are by far the toughest to pull off. And so, even though we here at Sight Unseen have been putting together a major Design Week showcase in some way or another since 2010, this year marked only our second outing as Sight Unseen OFFSITE, which debuted last year to enormous fanfare and praise.

  3. 05.20.15
    What We Saw
    At the 2015 Collective Design Fair

    Comprising four days, 12,000 square feet, and 50-something exhibitors, Sight Unseen OFFSITE is a major undertaking — a Herculean one, in fact, if you consider that there are only two of us leading the entire operation. So when we announced in April that we were doing an additional show this year, at the Collective Design fair, people quite understandably looked at us like we’d lost our minds. And yet we persisted on the sheer force of our belief that Steven Learner and his team at Collective are doing great things for design, things we wanted to be a part of — not just providing a platform for some of the world’s most important design galleries to sell to clients, but attempting to widen the dialogue with special projects like (this year) on-site design performances by The American Design Club, a Nap Lab by Various Projects and Print All Over Me, installations by OS & OOS and Jonathan Nesci, and of course, an offer to let us curate a corollary to Sight Unseen OFFSITE that featured six up-and-coming American designers making gallery-level work. If you didn’t get the chance to see last week’s Collective Design fair, which welcomed more than 10,000 visitors, here’s our best of show — and stay tuned for images from our own presentation at Collective, which we’ll be posting tomorrow.

  4. 04.23.15
    What We Saw
    At the 2015 Milan Furniture Fair, Part II

    Yesterday we introduced you — both on our site and in a massive Facebook album — to all the wonderful objects we photographed while design-hunting our way through the Milan furniture fair. But thanks to seriously horrendous lighting (we’re looking at you, Rho Fiera), the times we were in a hurry, and the times our camera just couldn’t seem to grasp the concept of white balance while in the presence of LEDs, we couldn’t possibly capture a great image of everything we saw that deserved coverage. That is where today’s post steps in: Here, we bring you the best press images we gathered of all our favorite designs at this year’s Salone, with nearly 50 more on offer over on Facebook.

  5. 04.22.15
    What We Saw
    At the 2015 Milan Furniture Fair, Part I

    Another year, another Milan. Every year we attend the behemoth furniture fair known as Salone expecting to come away with something smart to say about the current state of design. But the truth is, you spend the week bombarded with so much stuff that you’re often left with just a few fleeting mental images of your favorite things, whether it’s a colorful chair sheathed in Flyknit-esque sneaker material or a particularly delicious gnocchi you nearly licked off the plate. Luckily, that’s what cameras are for. We shot nearly everything we saw this year, whether it was for an immediate Instagram, a file-away-for-later trend, or to share with you here, in our best of the best round-up from last week.

  6. 02.11.15
    What We Saw
    Our top picks from the Stockholm Furniture Fair

    February: a month synonymous with diminishing New Year’s resolutions, potential polar vortices, and the world’s largest meet-up of Scandinavian furniture and lighting designs. Expectations for this year’s Stockholm Furniture Fair were higher than ever with positive winds sweeping through the industry (and Scandinavia in general, according to this week’s New Yorker). Although the Nordic vernacular for high-quality craftsmanship still prevailed, this year welcomed debate around experimental methods and their significance for contemporary design. From across both the larger halls and the Greenhouse display for independent designers, we’re highlighting some of our favorite products from the week here.

  7. 01.28.15
    What We Saw
    Our Favorites from IMM Cologne 2015

    While the furniture market seems to be enjoying a slower pace of late – with many brands safely coasting on a design language of minimal lines and adaptable colorways geared towards the notion of versatility in our homes – the international interiors show IMM Cologne brought a smattering of unexpected and pleasing discoveries. From bold, new homegrown brands and a hall designated entirely to up-and-coming designers, to the surprising use of color across the bigger, international halls (’70s-style honey beige, maroon, and green anyone?) we bring you our favorite launches from this, the first furniture trade show of the year.

  8. 01.26.15
    What We Saw
    In Finland

    If you’re a longtime reader of this site, you know that we are, above all, sunshine-seeking people who happen to be inextricably linked to New York and its fickle seasons. Normally we leap at the chance to hightail it off the East Coast anytime between November and April, in search of beaches, pools, palm trees, and vitamin D. But somehow, while Monica and the rest of the design world headed to Miami at the beginning of December, I found myself saying yes to a week in Finland, home of 30-degree temperatures and 3PM sunsets. When I arrived, no fewer than three people delighted in telling me that the previous month in Finland had seen only 15 hours of sunshine.

  9. 12.09.14
    What We Saw
    At Art Basel and Design Miami 2014

    Glancing out the window on this cold, grey, rainy day in New York City, it’s hard to believe that just last week we were frolicking in the sunshine in Miami, immersing ourselves in art and design and running into friends like Su Wu and Brent Dzekciorius on the street while flitting between parties and champagne brunches. While the primary purpose of our time there was to launch a new collaboration with Print All Over Me for the shop at the Standard (read all about that here), we managed to squeeze a million other activities into our four-day trip, from a visit to the impeccably curated Untitled art fair to a bizarre slide lecture and fashion show by Jonah Freeman and Justin Lowe to a 3AM performance by rapper Rae Sremmurd at a local nightclub that left our ears ringing for three days straight. While you won’t find that particular dalliance documented here, we did take plenty of photographs of art and design; some of our favorites are posted after the jump.

  10. 10.01.14
    What We Saw
    In Venice, for the Bugaboo x Diesel launch

    As we understand it, this is the dream, right? To turn your art-school thesis project into a multimillion dollar corporation and a brand that’s coveted the world over? That’s essentially what happened to Dutch designer Max Barenburg, who devised the origins of the Bugaboo stroller back in his days as a student at Design Academy Eindhoven in the early ’90s. The original design did not survive intact — Barenburg at first envisioned the now iconic stroller as an all-terrain vehicle that could turn into a two-wheeler and hook up to a mountain bike for a bit of baby off-roading — but its essential DNA was there: the telescoping handle meant to accommodate tall Dutch dads, the central joint that would allow the stroller to fold up using a single hand. Barenburg could never have foreseen Bugaboo’s massive popularity in part because he never could have guessed the collaborations the stroller would inspire. To date, the brand has worked with Pendleton, Missoni, Viktor & Rolf, the Andy Warhol Foundation (we particularly like the stroller covered in a giant Velvet Underground banana), and, as of next month, Diesel.

  11. 09.30.14
    What We Saw
    At the 2014 New York Art Book Fair

    Anyone who believes that publishing is dead should try attending the New York Art Book Fair on a Friday afternoon — neither day jobs nor the gorgeous weather nor the fact that the big public opening was the night before made it any less of an unequivocal mob scene at the start of this past weekend, when we spent four hours squeezing through its hot, sweaty warrens in pursuit of interesting things. We don’t consider ourselves aficionados of the independent press scene, but there was still plenty for the armchair enthusiast to discover, which is part of what makes the fair so darn popular: In addition to scores of obscure art books and rare editions, which you could spend a lifetime or two attempting to browse, there are also great prints, installations, ephemera, tote bags, and even ceramics, like the paper-holders by Bjørn Mortensen of Apis Press that are pictured above. We’re sure we missed at least half of what was actually on offer, but we’ve catalogued the rest of our favorite finds after the jump.

  12. 09.25.14
    What We Saw
    London Design Festival 2014

    As summer turns to fall, so we turn the design diary to September and one of our favorite events: London’s annual Design Festival. Now in its 12th year, LDF has evolved to include not only the city’s flourishing design community, but a national and increasingly international mix, competing against the behemoth that is Milan’s Salone del Mobile in April. But in addition to furniture debuts and high-profile launches, LDF also acts as an occasion for those lesser design-mad folks to enjoy events and workshops around the city, as well as the oh-so-tempting retail destinations offering the latest coordinating stationery necessities (yes, HAY, we’re looking at you). With the launch of our pop-up keeping us New York–bound, we sent our London correspondent Rae Blunstone out onto the circuit, LDF guide in hand and sturdy sneakers at the ready, to pick up her favorites from the week’s events.

  13. 06.26.14
    What We Saw
    At Design Miami/Basel and Art Basel 2014

    If you’ve never been to the Swiss version of Art Basel and Design Miami/Basel, what they say about it is pretty much true: If Miami’s overall vibe seems to put partying, relaxation, and hedonism first and serious business second, Basel is decidedly the other way around. Yes, people like Dasha Zhukova and Craig Robbins throw fancy dinners, and spending at least one night out until 4AM at certain local bars is a required rite, and the sales numbers are probably quite similar for both events, but being in Basel just feels different. For one, there’s no offsite scene to speak of, so you spend almost the whole time in massive halls that are jam-packed full of people, leaving no room to forget that you’re basically inside a shopping mall for the filthy rich. And the banks of the Rhine, pretty as they may be, are no South Beach. People wear more clothes in Basel. Everything is twice as expensive. If there’s one obvious advantage — for a journalist or casual observer — to attending Basel over Miami, it’s that you’re far less likely to be distracted by hangovers, pool parties, boozy brunches, and beach FOMO. You spend the entire day scrutinizing the actual work, and if you’re lucky, like we were, you come home with a camera full of satisfying discoveries.

  14. 06.24.14
    What We Saw
    In Norway

    If anyone needed proof this year that Scandinavia had quietly usurped London’s status as the world’s hottest contemporary design scene, it could be found at the Salone del Mobile in April, where the presentation that Danish brand Hay put on, complete with a pop-up shop and an utter madhouse of a cocktail party, was pretty much the talk of the town. It’s entirely thanks to the rise, in the past few years, of not just Hay but brands like Menu, Ferm Living, One Nordic, Muuto, Gubi, and Design House Stockholm, all of whom are working with emerging talents across the region. As we’ve watched the Nordic scene grow, we’ve managed to pay visits to Sweden (three times), Denmark (twice), and Finland (once, in the dead of winter, natch) — even to Iceland, for its DesignMarch festival three years ago. That left Norway as our personal holy grail, made doubly intimidating because of its famed reputation for being outrageously expensive. Two weeks ago, as you may have noticed on Instagram, we finally took the plunge.

  15. 06.20.14
    What We Saw
    Our Top 5 From Show RCA 2014

    As the summer solstice approaches, so too does a wave of graduate shows offering up the latest creative projects and design solutions from the leading sphere of design schools. In London, no show is more hotly anticipated than the Royal College of Art’s annual exhibition Show RCA, noted for its impressive arsenal of postgraduate talent. We couldn’t miss the opportunity to spot this year’s pool of emerging stars across the contemporary art and design practices. The show took place simultaneously across two campuses: Design Products in Kensington, which offered its usual heady mix of modern-day design solutions, and over at the Battersea campus, Textiles, Fine Art and Sculpture students refreshed the visual senses with investigations into color and material. Here are our top five “ones to watch” from the exhibition.

  16. 06.02.14
    What We Saw
    At New York Design Week 2014: David Rockwell by Caliber Grill

    It’s June, and soon we’ll be heading off to places like Art Basel and the Venice Biennale, but you’ll excuse us if we’re still reveling in the highlights from the Best Ever New York Design Week. And we’d be remiss if we didn’t mention one last special exhibitor from our Sight Unseen OFFSITE exhibition: Rockwell Group, who came onto the event as a partner to show off the serious bells-and-whistles grill that the New York–based firm recently designed for Caliber Range Corporation. Like almost everything Rockwell Group creates, the grill was built around the idea of a shared experience, and in that way it was the perfect product for Sight Unseen OFFSITE, which ended up being as much a social gathering as it was a design exhibition

  17. 05.29.14
    What We Saw
    At New York Design Week 2014: ICFF & The Best of The Rest

    There was only one drawback to having a smashingly successful show of our own this year: It left us woefully little time to pound the pavement, seeing what other goodies this edition of NYCxDesign had to offer. A partial list of things we were sad to have missed: The Gourmand’s fruit stand at Vitsoe, the gorgeous Alexander Girard for Herman Miller space, a dance performance at The Future Perfect the night of our own cocktail party, Anna Karlin’s textile collaboration with Japanese weavers Hosoo at Atelier Courbet, the Yabu Pushelberg exhibition Rational x Intuitive Thought, and the debut of what may end up being the first and last furniture collection by Fab. But there were moments when we did manage to sneak away.

  18. 05.27.14
    What We Saw
    At New York Design Week 2014: Sight Unseen OFFSITE, Pt. 2

    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?”

  19. 05.23.14
    What We Saw
    At New York Design Week 2014: Sight Unseen OFFSITE, Pt. 1

    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.

  20. 05.23.14
    What We Saw
    At New York Design Week 2014: Spanish Design at Sight Unseen OFFSITE

    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.

  21. 05.21.14
    What We Saw
    At New York Design Week 2014: Interiors from Spain at ICFF

    Imagine this scenario: 14 American design brands banding together to take over a large swath of the Milan Furniture Fair, all with the financial and logistical support of the US government. Sounds hilarious, right? While we can’t dream of enjoying such privileges here, in one of the world’s most prosperous nations, Spain has been throwing its weight behind its homegrown design industry for ages. In addition to marketing services, the Spanish trade commission — through an initiative called Interiors From Spain — has helped its local furniture manufacturers have a unified presence at ICFF for the past 10 years. This year’s selection included Apavisa, Capdell, Ebir, Fama, Inalco, Isimob, Kriskadecor, Lladro, Marset, Nanimarquina, Now Carpets, RS Barcelona, Santa & Cole, and Texidors — check out our highlights from those makers after the jump, then watch our site for more coverage of the overall fair in the coming week.

  22. 05.18.14
    What We Saw
    At Collective 2 and Frieze New York 2014

    A little more than a week ago, we were eyeball-deep in preparations for our Sight Unseen OFFSITE show, which runs for two more days in New York City. We had insurance permits to apply for, electricity installations to oversee, and staffers to train, but we were still determined to drag ourselves away long enough to see two of our favorite shows of the year: the Collective Design Fair, and Frieze New York. And oh, was it worth it — Collective had nearly doubled in size since its first edition last year, and Frieze once again gathered some of the most gorgeous art we’d seen in ages under one roof (not to mention with killer food by the likes of Roberta’s and the Fat Radish). See a small selection of our highlights after the jump, then head over to our Facebook page to see much, much more.

  23. 04.16.14
    What We Saw
    At the 2014 Milan Furniture Fair: Part IV

    A week ago today, we spent our afternoon at the Milan fairgrounds, our evening surrounded by colleagues at a dinner hosted by Camron PR, and the wee hours of the night at Bar Basso, where we ran into just about every friend of ours who was in town from far and near. Which reminds us of two key things about the Salone del Mobile: that catching up with dozens of the designers and curators we know but never see is one of our favorite things about the fair, and that each of those friends packs their days in Milan with just as many sights and experiences as we manage to pack into ours. We figured we’d combine both ideas into the second installment of a tradition we began last December at Design/Miami, when we invited everyone we knew who attended to send us the best photo they took that week. Read on to see what folks like Faye Toogood, Felix Burrichter, and Rafael de Cardenas thought were the highlights of their trips.

  24. 04.15.14
    What We Saw
    At the 2014 Milan Furniture Fair, Part III

    The fairgrounds at the Milan Furniture Fair are a great place to see attainable designs by established companies and talents, but typically it’s not the place to go when you’re scouting for new names (though this year’s Satellite show, as demonstrated in yesterday’s post, happened to be a surprise goldmine). For that, you have to brave the long walks, aching feet, and lack of taxis that come along with trying to get to all the shows around town, from Rossana Orlandi gallery to the far-flung Lambrate district. We say this every year, but we barely saw half of what was on offer; that said, we saw a lot of nice things.

  25. 04.14.14
    What We Saw
    At the 2014 Milan Furniture Fair, Part II

    Though we’re back from Milan and already knee-deep in planning for our own design fair next month (eek!), we’ll be bringing you highlights from the Italian capital all this week. Today we’re focusing on our favorites from the fairgrounds, like Front’s beautiful chairs for Moroso (above). The fair this year was visually quite strong, with last year’s obsessive booth styling taken to even greater heights. (We actually begged the Arper folks to put some of their styling pieces into production!). The fair is also where the trends we’d been thinking about began to seriously take shape. What was in this year? Though everyone still loves that pastel mint and pink palette, we saw tons of putty — yes, putty — and other assorted non-hues (most of which didn’t make it into this round-up, since we’re suckers for color). For more of our take, read on, then click through to our Facebook album and come back tomorrow for more from the offsite shows.