A recently completed Banquete chair.

The Campana Brothers, Furniture Designers

This story was originally published on June 9, 2010. Veuve Clicquot's renovated Hotel du Marc is set to open this fall. // In their most famous works, Fernando and Humberto Campana construct by a process of accumulation, looping yards of sail rope around seat frames or folding velvet tubing in on itself to create amoeba-like sofas. So it's fitting that visitors to the brothers’ São Paulo studio should find behind its unremarkable metal grate rooms and shelves stacked high with stuff — weird material experiments by the studio’s half-dozen in-house artisans, miniature models and prototypes, artifacts the brothers picked up on their travels, miles of scrap, and dozens and dozens of sketches. In some ways, it all seems an extension of São Paulo itself, a city of 20 million that in the last century has sprawled so far and wide it’s annexed, at last count, five different downtown areas.
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Patternity’s Shift table, another collaboration with Grace’s father, launched at last month’s Clerkenwell Design Week. “People tend to misunderstand marquetry, and they think the panels are painted,” says Winteringham. “But actually they’re dyed beforehand. You can pick them out from a catalog that’s kind of like a Pantone swatchbook, with different color and grain options. The underside of the Shift table is made from sycamore and the panels are dyed cedar.”

Patternity, furniture and textile designers

For Anna Murray and Grace Winteringham, pattern is everywhere — in the flaking paint of street bollards and the crisscrossing beams of scaffolding, in the fashion photography of Mel Bles and the banded stiletto heels of Parisian shoemaker Walter Steiger. Together, Murray and Winteringham run Patternity, a studio and online resource for pattern imagery where each photo is curated, sourced, or taken by the designers themselves. Spend some time on the site, and their obsessions become clear: One week it’s rocks and strata; another it’s the vivid African textiles that line the stalls of the Ridley Road street market that runs daily in Dalston, the East London neighborhood both women call home.
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Antonio Bokel’s Temporary Amsterdam Workshop

For Brazilian artist Antonio Bokel, arriving at the Sid Lee creative offices in Amsterdam this May — where he was about to spend two weeks doing on-site prep for an in-house exhibition — was like a dream come true. For starters, the city’s garbagemen had just gone on strike, leaving mountains of detritus for him to incorporate into his Twombly-esque compositions. And then there was the location itself, arranged for him by local curator and writer Alexandra Onderwater: Having gone to school for graphic design, Bokel has spent nearly a decade using the visual tools of advertising and propaganda against themselves, Shepard Fairey-style, and here he was setting up shop in the back of a marketing agency. The juxtaposition "was a big influence on the show,” he says of his final installation, layered with spray paint, found objects, and words bleeding onto the walls.
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BCXSY presented the three finished screens, made from hinoki cypress wood, in the basement of Rossana Orlandi gallery during this spring’s Milan furniture fair — a rectangle, triangle, and circle. “Traditional tategu screens are typically very complex, with lots of geometric or floral patterns,” says Cohen. “We thought that by making the frame itself the shape we were adding only a small twist on what already exists. Turns out it introduced an enormous challenge to Mr. Tanaka, but he was quite happy with the results.” Photo (c) BCXSY

BCXSY’s Join Room Divider

On a sunny afternoon during this spring’s Milan furniture fair, blissfully unaware of the encroaching cloud of ash, I made my way through the maze of exhibitions at Spazio Rossani Orlandi, the former factory turned gallery and shop off Corso Magenta. As usual, there was plenty to see: During the fair, the gallery practically splits its seams with new work, giving over corners of the courtyard and even parts of the stairwell as exhibition space for young talent. In the basement, I encountered a bottleneck. Nearly everyone passing through the room occupied by the Eindhoven-based duo BCXSY was stopping to gape at the young couple’s latest offering: a trio of Japanese screens in hinoki cypress wood, each designed as two geometric shapes intersecting in beautifully woven grids.
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The exterior of JM Dry Goods, which is situated down the street from one of the town's best galleries, Ballroom Marfa.

JM Dry Goods in Marfa, Texas

One recent March morning, I found myself in the Mexican town of Ojinaga sipping micheladas with Michelle Teague, owner of Marfa’s effortlessly cool ranchwear and housewares shop JM Dry Goods, and her business partner, glass- and soap-maker Ginger Griffice. Every six weeks or so, Teague and Griffice travel to OJ on buying trips. Teague scouts the small array of stores, filled with both the everyday and the bizarre, for items to boost JM Dry Goods’s border-town flavor. Griffice buys empty bottles of Topo Chico, a popular Mexican sparkling mineral water, at OJ’s Coca-Cola bottling plant, and they become the bases for the drinking glasses she sells at the store. By now, their trips follow an established pattern. Morning micheladas are an important part of the ritual.
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Doshi Levien’s Loves

Sighted on the website of London-based design couple Doshi Levien: A section called Loves, which reveals the inspirations behind the couple's colorful East-meets-West sensibility.
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45 Great Jones: In honor of its 5th anniversary, New York design producer Areaware refashioned the first floor of this empty lumber warehouse into an exhibition space.

Noho Design District

Even non-New Yorkers know Soho, the swath of land below Houston Street in Manhattan, colonized by artists in the '60s and now the domain of the rich and the retail-obsessed. Noho, on the other hand, still flirts with obscurity, despite having been home to some of the city's most legendary artists — Robert Mapplethorpe, Frank Stella, and Chuck Close, to name a few — as well as its first Herzog and de Meuron building. Sure, as an emerging neighborhood with several hotels on the rise, its streets are often crisscrossed with ungainly spiderwebs of scaffolding, but beneath that lies a creative energy so strong we at Sight Unseen figured it would be the perfect place to create a new satellite destination during New York design week: the Noho Design District. All of the elements were already there.
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Annie Lenon: "I challenged myself to create a structure from as few materials as possible that still captured movement, tension and balance. This mobile is made from strips of bass wood wrapped in metallic and silk threads.”

New Useless Machines at Oak & Rogan

Back in January, when we first began contemplating how we would program Noho Design District — the just-completed four-day design extravaganza produced and curated by Sight Unseen and held in conjunction with New York’s ICFF — one thing was clear: Come hell or high water, we’d find a way to pull off an exhibition we’d been obsessing over for months, ever since the re-release last summer of the 1966 Bruno Munari classic Design As Art. Among the late Italian designer’s musings, photos, diagrams, and sketches, we were reminded of his childlike fascination with hanging mobiles — or as he calls them, useless machines.
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The prep list, menu, and choreography for the evening's meal.

Apartamento’s Tasca Dinner

Most people run around during ICFF frantically gathering design leads. But for Apartamento editor Marco Velardi, it was zucchini — about 6 pounds per night, to be exact. Tasked with organizing three dinners during the furniture fair in New York, "I had to pick them every day, individually, choosing ones that weren't too big or too fucked up as the skin was an important part of the dish," he says. "I got to know all the guys working in the fresh veggie department at Whole Foods, and I imagine they thought I was the crazy zucchini guy when I kept asking for more." The summer squash became a salad doused with lemon and olive oil, the second of four courses at the dinner Sight Unseen attended this past Sunday along with Todd Selby, Rich Brilliant Willing, the editors of Dossier, and half a dozen other New York creatives.
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Home base for Matson and Even is the 10th floor of a pre-war building that looks out over Brooklyn’s Grand Army Plaza. (From their living room they can see the fireworks that shoot off over Coney Island on Friday nights.) Shown here is a typical Mary & Matt vignette: bright colors, nostalgic titles, and the simple typography of Scrabble tiles, which inspired their first dark-chocolate bars. “It was huge on the internet until Scrabble nixed it,” says Matson. “But in a way, that was kind of cool — getting a cease-and-desist from Scrabble?”

Mary & Matt, Chocolate Designers

When designers say they like to make things with their hands, they’re not usually talking about chocolate. But for Mary Matson, a former senior designer at Kate Spade who now works freelance from the Brooklyn home she shares with her husband and co-conspirator Matt Even — an art director at Wieden + Kennedy — food has always been part of the equation.
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In terms of actual product, Waldman's latest creations include the Zub 20 Zirc watch (left) and the Zub 20 Zot watch (right). Underneath is the Strip belt, made from the same Ellastolan thermoplastic polyurethane material. "The belts are a re-imagining of a very common object, but with a closure that's super easy to use," he says. "They work well with ski pants because you don't have to take your gloves off to tighten them. Another thing that’s not so sexy is that my 92-year-old aunt can use them, but elderly folks aren't going to pay $80 for a belt. They'll be like, 'Why aren't these $18?'"

Nooka's New York Offices

In the mid-'90s, Matthew Waldman had one of those jobs that sitcoms often devote 22 minutes to making fun of. "My background is in corporate identity development," he recounts over lunch at his studio one day. "I used to do those big fact-finding whiteboard meetings in conference rooms — you’re at a cocktail party, let’s make believe, let’s do some role playing, now tell me what you do. Or, imagine your product, and give me the first three adjectives that come to mind." He thinks for a minute. "It was actually really successful. I should probably write a book." Or, we suggest, you should found a watch-design company, wear your influences on your sleeve, and thus remain instantly-recognizable in a saturated market despite expanding into wallets, belts, a fragrance, and a certain forthcoming fashion accessory that's top secret for now.
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Xavier Mañosa of Apparatu

The world has its share of design couples — husbands and wives who work together in the studio day in and day out with seemingly infrequent urges to kill one another. But Xavier Mañosa, the 28-year-old Spanish ceramicist who goes by the name Apparatu, may be the only designer we know who works every day alongside his parents.
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