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  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 04.11.14
    What We Saw
    At The 2014 Milan Furniture Fair, Part I

    There were two huge advantages to spring’s early arrival in Milan this year, which has blessed us with 70-degree weather and constant blue skies as we’ve been scouting the city’s annual furniture fair all week. First, it made it much easier and more enjoyable to hit up dozens of shows in a row each day, walking miles and burning off all those carbohydrates and sprawling multi-course dinners (we’re looking at you, Swedish Design Goes Milan). Second, it provided the optimal lighting conditions for taking photographs of all the incredible objects we saw along the way — more than 500 of them, at last count (including a cute vignette from the Discipline party, above). We’ll be sharing as many of them as we can with you over the next few days, both here and on our Facebook page, but in the meantime we wanted to take a break from all the pavement-pounding to give you a quick sampling of some of our observations.

  5. 03.06.14
    What We Saw
    The 2014 Whitney Biennial

    Perhaps the most telling moment regarding this year’s Whitney Biennial came when we posted an image of Dutch artist Peter Schuyff’s spiral-carved pencils on Instagram. “Where is this craft show?” joked Mondo Cane’s Patrick Parrish. “Bedford Ave?” he asked, referring to Brooklyn’s main hipster thoroughfare. Yep, this biennial feels decidedly different than years past. There are still inscrutable videos, and works we simply slid by for lack of interest, but this year had moments that felt smaller, more tactile, more intimate — and for us, more compelling — than in years past.

  6. 02.17.14
    What We Saw
    At Stockholm Design Week 2014

    When Katrin Greiling offered to report on Stockholm Design Week for us this year, it felt like the holy trinity of guest fair coverage: a designer with an amazing eye, who also happened to be a talented photographer, who wasn’t too occupied exhibiting her own work this year to make the rounds on our behalf. Turns out she’s been busy with other projects, 700 miles away from her former home base: “After living in Sweden for 15 years, I recently made a move to Berlin to work on two interior projects,” Greiling says. “Still, though, my heart is strongly connected to the aesthetics of the North, and a year without going to the furniture fair in Stockholm would be unthinkable for me. Studio Greiling didn’t show any work at the 2014 fair, but we still enjoyed meeting up with all the members of our huge Nordic furniture family. Here’s a glimpse at what I saw during the four days I spent in Stockholm.”

  7. 02.14.14
    What We Saw
    At the New W Verbier in Switzerland

    If you’re a fan of the W Hotels chain, which at the moment comprises nearly 50 properties in more than 25 countries, you probably fall in to one (or both) of the following categories: you’re young, wealthy, extroverted, and appreciate things like fire-juggling bartenders, or you really, really love design. It’s not that the W’s interiors are suited to every taste — especially since half the fun of them is that they’re mostly designed by different firms, from Patricia Urquiola (Vieques) to Yabu Pushelberg (Guangzhou) — but you do have to tip your hat to any corporate entity that puts this much investment into our little corner of culture, including the annual W Hotels Designers of the Future awards. The latest W to take cutting-edge design to a novel locale is the new W Verbier by the Amsterdam firm Concrete, which Sight Unseen had the good fortune to visit last month.

  8. 02.03.14
    What We Saw
    At Maison et Objet and IMM Cologne 2014

    In January, we saw plenty of incredible things, from the Brancusi show at Paul Kasmin Gallery to the Swiss Alps to the movie Her. What we did not see, unfortunately, was a design fair — while many of our friends and colleagues were making the rounds in Paris and Cologne, we were busy with the likes of planning our 2014 New York Design Week event, beginning our site’s forthcoming redesign, and talking about how much we loved Her. Lucky for us, though, we’re pretty well connected, so we managed to round up a relatively comprehensive group of photos of what we missed. Behold, after the jump, the Sight Unseen armchair guide to the best new releases at Maison et Objet and IMM Cologne 2014, minus the jetlag and the convention center food.

  9. 12.11.13
    What We Saw
    At Art Basel and Design Miami 2013: Part III

    We never quite know what to say after attending a large art and/or design fair. Did we see anything that particularly stood out? Of course. Did we identify any trends? Does it matter? Sure, there were motifs here and there — marble abounded once again in the design tent, as did Prouvé, while the artists seemed really into pineapples and coconuts this year — but all that feels pretty inconsequential. When we attend shows like these, we have a lot of fun documenting them as we go, and meeting new people doing interesting things along the way. Then we come home with a trove of new talents to explore for future Sight Unseen stories. That’s really the heart of it. So while we’d planned to tell you more about what sold (Sebastian Errazuriz’s motorcycle, clocks by Humans Since 1982, Vuitton’s Perriand cabana), what didn’t sell (actually we have no idea), and what the mood of this year’s show was like (It was better than last year! It was worse than last year!), we think we’ll leave it at this: 134 annotated photos on our Facebook page sharing our highlights from the fair, so you can make some discoveries of your own.

  10. 12.10.13
    What We Saw
    At Art Basel and Design Miami 2013: Part II

    If you spent even an ounce of time at the pool while in Miami for Basel last week, or having cocktails with friends, or sleeping late thanks to an epic hangover, there’s an excellent chance you failed to see everything that was on view at the various fairs and satellite exhibitions around town. We ourselves had so little time at Art Basel itself that we did an embarrassingly inadequate skim through what amounted to about a third of the show, promising ourselves we’d come back later in the week (yeah right). And then there were the personal moments we missed just by virtue of not being able to be at every gathering of friends, every party, or every impromptu beach hang at any given time — the weird, wacky, and wonderful experiences our friends had amidst the hyper-stimulation that is Basel, which we witnessed fragments of during the rare times when we were able to sit down and catch up on our Instagram feed. Because we couldn’t be everywhere nor see everything, we decided to ask some of our favorite design-world folks to share with us what they saw — the one favorite photo they took in Miami last week, from droopy hot dogs to Modernist masterpieces.

  11. 12.06.13
    What We Saw
    At Art Basel and Design Miami 2013: Part I

    Hello from sunny Miami! Sight Unseen has been here all week attending the 2013 Art Basel and Design Miami shows, and it’s been a wild ride, as usual. We’ve brunched with Ruinart and Piet Hein Eek, partied with Dom Perignon and Jeff Koons, and seen performances by Jonah Bokaer and Pharrell. We almost did yoga with Grey Area, but got (happily) stuck hanging out at NADA instead. We tried to document it all, but it hasn’t been easy — here’s a small taste of what we’ve seen so far! We’ll be back next week with a more comprehensive post, but for now, check out these pics and then head over to our Facebook album to see dozens and dozens more.

  12. 11.11.13
    What We Saw
    Hammer Museum’s Arts ReSTORE

    For all of the handwringing about art being inaccessible, there’s no city planning theory that has gained more traction in this century than the idea of creative people driving neighborhood revitalization. Which means that the descriptively titled “Arts ReSTORE: LA” project isn’t just loftily ambitious. The month-long residency program, which began last week, might actually work at creating a less sterile West Los Angeles, not least because it is supported by the powerhouse Hammer Museum, whose three-story compound anchors one end of the street. On a stretch of Westwood Ave., better known for chain sandwich shops and fluorescent interiors, the Hammer offered a half-dozen empty storefronts to local artists and makers, with the idea that even a temporary infusion would upend the retail mood of the area. If the packed opening night was any indication, this time the theory holds. Here’s what we saw.

  13. 09.30.13
    What We Saw
    At the 2013 New York Art Book Fair

    The 2013 edition of Printed Matter’s New York Art Book Fair, which is held annually at MoMA PS1, featured a performance by MASKS, a Bruno Munari exhibition, a collage-making party, and the launch of the multi-talented Tauba Auerbach’s new project, Diagonal Press, among other things. Unfortunately, we had to miss it in order to attend a hipster summer camp weekend upstate, but were we jealous? No! Because not only were we clever enough to ask noted bookworm and SU contributor Brian W. Ferry to document it for us, we’d also managed to trick ourselves into believing that attending would have been a terrible idea: It’s a hot, crowded, and sweaty affair, one that has the tantalizing potential each year to completely bankrupt us. So yeah, we totally dodged a bullet, right? Right? Well either way, we can all live vicariously through Brian by checking out his pictures and commentary in this slideshow, after the jump.

  14. 09.25.13
    What We Saw
    At the 2013 London Design Festival

    If someone was going to attend the London Design Festival in our place this year — a circumstance that normally fills us with a mix of raging jealousy and resigned disappointment — we’re super glad it was Matylda Krzykowski, one of our favorite fellow design bloggers, who on her site Mat and Me manages to nail the same up-close-and-personal vibe we hew to here at Sight Unseen. She captured the perfect overview of the fair for us, even though she only had one day to explore it: Her plane in from Hong Kong landed at 5:40AM this past Saturday, at which point she quickly took a bath, rearranged her suitcase, and bolted back out the door by 9:30AM to begin her reportage. “I had literally had six 6 hours that day to look around before departing to Switzerland the next day for my duties at Depot Basel,” she says. “I started off in South Kensington, then hit the Brompton Design District, then Central London, and finally the East End.” How’s that for dedication? Check out the things she spotted, and the people she said hello to along the way, after the jump.

  15. 09.18.13
    What We Saw
    At Capsule New York

    Don’t worry, we’ve got eyes on the ground at the mega–big deal trade fair happening this week — i.e. the London Design Festival — but since your editors are sadly missing out on those festivities, we thought we’d first offer a glimpse inside a trade show we ourselves had never attended until this week: Capsule, the six-year-old, 12-times-a-year fashion and lifestyle event for independent designers. This month was the SS14 women’s edition, and having mostly attended design fairs we weren’t really sure what to expect. Capsule is held at a massive venue on the East River that doubles as basketball court and event space (it’s where the New York edition of the NADA art fair was this spring), and the soundtrack was appropriately bumpin’. We were there mostly to get face time with some of our favorite designers — like Ilana Kohn, Wing Yau, Ellen van Dusen, and SU regulars like Chen Chen and Iacoli & McAllister — but we also spent lots of time browsing in the hopes we’d discover someone new to write about (or something new to take home from the cash-and-carry shop portion, which of course we did in spades.) Here are some of our favorite finds from the afternoon.

  16. 09.05.13
    What We Saw
    At Boisbuchet with Snarkitecture

    For those of you who haven’t heard of it, Domaine de Boisbuchet is basically glorified summer camp for designers: It’s an old chateau and grounds in the middle of the French countryside where, each week for 12 weeks, two or three contemporary designers or studios are invited to host a creative workshop for a group of students and professionals. During downtime, you can canoe, swim in the lake, lay in the grass, drink beers, swing from trees, attend dance parties, or sit around a bonfire and stargaze — it’s pretty much rural heaven. So it was a tiny bit funny to be there last week with Daniel Arsham and Alex Mustonen of Snarkitecture, who are best-known for their work with white styrofoam, fancy fashion brands, and hip-hop superstars, and who this week are hard at work back in New York installing a 20-foot-tall carved-foam mountain as a backdrop for the runway show of leather-sweatpant purveyor (and Kanye favorite) En|Noir. Luckily you can not only take the boys out of the city, you can take the city out of the boys, whose first instruction to the participants in their “Excavations” workshop was to dredge up wheelbarrows full of dirt, clay, and sand from the lake and its surroundings. The group then spent five days doing hand-casting experiments in the sunshine, in order to “take familiar, everyday objects and find ways to manipulate and alter them to make them serve new and unexpected purposes,” as Mustonen put it. After the jump, check out all the photos we took documenting the process from start to finish.

  17. 07.15.13
    What We Saw
    At the Brimfield Antique Show, Summer 2013

    If you tell people you’re going to Brimfield — the massive, thrice-yearly outdoor antique fair in central Massachusetts that famously lures the country’s best vintage pickers as well as interiors teams from stores like Ralph Lauren and J. Crew — you start getting loads of conflicting advice: what day to arrive, which of the 21 fields has the best merch, and even whether you should go for the ribs or the lobster roll (or something kind of amazing we discovered this time called the Pilgrim Sandwich. Seriously, get it.) But the one thing everyone agrees on? Don’t go in July.

  18. 06.17.13
    What We Saw
    At DMY 2013

    One half of Sight Unseen may currently be stationed in Berlin, but when it came to covering DMY last week — the 10-year-old fair for young designers that takes place here annually at the decommissioned Tempelhof airport — we passed the torch to our longtime friend and sometime SU contributor, Thorsten van Elten of the online shop Theo, while we jetted off to Basel. In Berlin from London for a few days on a whim, partly to check out the fair’s offerings and partly as a tax-deductible excuse to revisit one of his favorite cities, van Elten documented for us his personal DMY selections, but also key moments from his romp through town — all couched in his crazy sense of humor. Scroll through his DMY travel diary below, then head over to Theo to check out what he does for a living.

  19. 06.14.13
    What We Saw
    At Design/Miami Basel and Art Basel 2013

    This week, I got more than a few emails from friends and family members flummoxed by my trip to Art Basel. “You’re where???” exclaimed my mother, halfway believing I’d temporarily left my annual summer sojourn in Berlin to double back to Miami for three days. That’s because while Sight Unseen has been a longtime devotee of the Floridian version of the international design and art fair — stretching back to our I.D. magazine days — we’ve never managed to make it to the Swiss edition, which is even more extensive. Turns out 2013 was a pretty amazing year to call our first: Design Miami/Basel moved into the incredible new Herzog & de Meuron building, expanding its show in the process, and Art Basel totally killed it with the Untitled show of large-scale works, featuring a new piece by the wonder twins of contemporary installation art, Jonah Freeman and Justin Lowe. Artsy made my trip 10 times easier with its extensive online preview of both shows (not to mention an ingenious iPhone-charging station at its ROLU-designed fair booth), and Craig Robins put the cherry on top by letting Kanye West preview his new album — and perform a song a mere 8 feet in front of me — with less than 7 hours’ notice. You totally should have been there, but if you weren’t, here’s the Sight Unseen rundown.

  20. 06.03.13
    What We Saw
    At New York Design Week 2013, Part V: The Rest

    New York Design Week may already feel like a distant memory, but we couldn’t move on to covering the upcoming Design Miami Basel fair — or start publishing all the amazing studio visits and house tours we’ve been saving up for the past few weeks — without doing one last post about all the offsite shows we saw (and didn’t see) during this year’s ICFF. From magnified eyeballs to garbage arches to our favorite watering can of all time, check out the official Sight Unseen roundup below.

  21. 05.30.13
    What We Saw
    At New York Design Week 2013, Part IV: ICFF

    We had a dream for ICFF this year: to set up a “Sight Unseen Canteen” staffed by an avant-garde chef who would purchase food items from the conference center cafeteria and recast them into amazing gourmet meals, a bit like the now-defunct website Fancy Fast Food. The reason we had this dream (which we still hope to someday realize) is that no one in their right mind ever has anything good to say about the Javits itself — the climate, the lighting, and of course, the hideous, overpriced cuisine — and so pretty much everyone, we figured, would get the joke. If we could add on a foot massage station, a napping pod, and a daylight simulator, our vision would truly be complete. But alas, this year all there was to comfort weary fairgoers like us was plain old great design, and the joy of running into old friends and colleagues, and so we had no choice but to settle for that. We came, we saw, we conquered.

  22. 05.28.13
    What We Saw
    At New York Design Week 2013, Part III: Jambox at Noho Next

    This year’s Noho Next show didn’t just look amazing — it sounded amazing, too. That’s because in the exhibition’s flagship space, Sight Unseen created a special installation for Noho Design District sponsor Jawbone, a kind of video listening area decked out not only with the brand’s latest wireless speakers, but with an array of furnishings and objects culled from some of our very favorite designers — from Paul Loebach to Tom Dixon. Styled with the help of Seattle’s Ladies & Gentlemen Studio, the space invited Noho Next visitors to kick back, relax, and experience the sound of Jawbone’s latest BIG JAMBOXES, which are newly available in more than 100 customizable color combinations. Check out the setup after the jump, plus watch the seven designer-made videos that Sight Unseen hand-picked to screen over the weekend.

  23. 05.24.13
    What We Saw
    At New York Design Week 2013, Part II: Noho Next

    In our fourth year of producing the Noho Design District, we’ve learned a few things. Namely: That while industrial, disused spaces have loads of charm, they also run the risk of leaking when those May showers hit. After two years of emergency sandbagging and climbing onto roofs in our galoshes, we decided it was time to go legit. So when we heard last fall that 45 Bleecker Street — which played host to Tom Dixon’s labyrinthine underground exhibition in 2012 — was about to undergo a gut renovation, to be reborn as a music events space, we knew we wanted in. We decided early on that the space would be filled with up-and-coming talents for our Noho Next exhibition, which in the past has proved a bellwether for design stardom, featuring the likes of Jonah Takagi, ROLU, Fort Standard, Iacoli & McAllister, and Brendan Ravenhill. We have a feeling this year’s edition will prove no different.

  24. 05.23.13
    What We Saw
    At New York Design Week 2013, Part I: The Noho Design District

    Each time we start to celebrate the end of yet another successful edition of our Noho Design District project — this one being our fourth, if you can believe it — it’s not long before a certain realization hits us like a ton of bricks: We only really get a few short months to recover before we have to start the process allllll over again. We began planning in the fall for the 2013 edition of the show, which ran from May 17-20 and which we’ll be recapping on Sight Unseen today and tomorrow, and it’s almost impossible to fathom how much work could go into a four-day event that nevertheless flew by so quickly. There were spaces to secure (thanks, SubCulture!), flyers to finagle (thanks, Benjamin Critton!), and press-preview pastries to provide (thanks, The Smile!). And of course we had to find the perfect brand to partner with to help support all the amazing emerging talents we offer a platform to (thanks, Jawbone!). But in the end all that work would have amounted to naught had our exhibitors failed to bust out with some of the most stunning and inspiring designs we’ve ever shown, from the simplest concrete domino set to painstakingly elaborate chandeliers, light-up neon desks, and textile installations. In case you weren’t lucky enough to join us for this year’s event, we’ve put together a roundup of its highlights, the first half of which is featured in the slideshow at right; stay tuned for coverage of Noho Next, ICFF, and other offsite shows to come. And thanks to everyone who joined us this weekend!

  25. 05.14.13
    What We Saw
    At the 2013 Frieze New York Art Fair

    Halfway through our ferry ride across Manhattan’s East River to Randall’s Island this weekend, thunder rang out, the skies opened up, and a torrential downpour enveloped our little boat, ruining our hair and prompting dozens of our fellow travelers to whip out their iPhone cameras with glee. But neither rain nor sleet nor snow was going to keep us away from this year’s Freize Art Fair, especially after we missed the 2012 show due to Noho Design District preparations and — through the reports of friends and critics — definitely lived to regret it. Once we were inside the giant white tent (designed by the local architecture firm SO-IL), snapping away on our own iPhones while drooling over the smell of Mission Chinese that hovered mercilessly over the central arc of the space, we didn’t mind so much that our feet were sloshing around inside our shoes. We managed to see nearly everything — including an amazing performance piece by our favorite, Tino Sehgal — identified several strange recurring trends (art made on or from mirrors, references to outdated technologies), and had a major celeb spotting (Jared Leto) to boot. Check out some of the pieces we Instagrammed after the jump, then head over to our Facebook gallery to see even more photos.