OFFSITE_Vorrasi_SpainPost

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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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."
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The slopes in Verbier are said to be Switzerland's most challenging; only the most athletic skiers — and their unfathomably fearless skiing prodigy 3-year-olds — vacation here.

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.
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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.
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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.
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