Fredericks & Mae’s 2012 collection video

If Luis Buñuel had somehow detoured into a life making promotional lookbooks, they might have ended up something like the stop-motion video filmmaking duo Grave of Seagulls recently put together for our friends at Fredericks & Mae. The video was conceived to celebrate Fredericks & Mae’s 2012 collection, which is based loosely on the Mayan idea that 2012 marks the end of the world, and includes things like worry beads, backgammon and dominoes sets (with which to bide your time waiting for the apocalypse?), and a special edition of their signature arrows, featuring black feathers on dyed-black dowels. Says Lauryn Siegel of Grave of Seagulls: “I randomly saw their work over a year ago and immediately knew it would be great on film. It's an amazing video no matter how it's seen — as a commercial, as a documentation of work and process, as a stop-motion, or as a piece of design.” We recently spoke to the filmmakers and to Fredericks & Mae to get the scoop on the film, which debuts today on Sight Unseen.

Julien Renault on Found By James

Julien Renault is the kind of designer who wears his influences on his sleeve. Not only does he create his own utilitarian furnishings — a series of lightweight aluminum stools that appear forged like steel, a desk made from recycled-plastic boards that resemble wood — he collects everyday anonymous objects and keeps them as a kind of inspiration library, like a second-generation Jasper Morrison or third-generation Castiglioni. And as if that's not enough, he also totes around his father's old camera wherever he goes, shooting whatever he's drawn to and saving the images for future study. As a consequence, the Brussels-based designer has not one website, but three: Julien Renault Objects houses his portfolio, Inventory his fly swatters and pumice stones, and Magic Argentic his photo album. We'd been meaning to feature Renault somehow when we came across an interview with him on the enigmatic site Found By James.
The studio’s knitting table, piled high with the highlight colors for the Fall/Winter 2011 collection: royal blue, turquoise, orange. “Materials are always the starting point for us,” says Daphne, who is perpetually on the hunt for various types of yarn to help inspire new pieces. “Especially when I go to Germany or Peru, I always have my eyes open, looking for new colors and textures.” Only one variety is out of the question: “Chenille. It’s really gross — bad taste, weird, shiny,” she says. “Although I swear I have a feeling that in three years I’m going to make a piece out of it. I feel like I’m getting ready to take on the challenge.”

Correll Correll, Fashion Designers

You can learn a lot about Daphne and Vera Correll’s clothing line, Correll Correll, just by looking at who they employ: No unpaid interns, for one. When their sunny Chinatown studio is at full production capacity — as it has been in the weeks leading up to their Ecco Domani Award–sponsored Fall/Winter 2012 presentation this Friday — it’s staffed almost entirely by proper assistants. It’s not really fair, Vera reasons, to get by on free labor when the labor itself is what sells the clothes. “They look precious because you can tell we spend a lot of time on them,” she says, pointing to a recent jacket made using one of their signature techniques, where more than 40 different kinds of yarns and vintage fabric strips are woven together into a textile befitting what Vera refers to as a “shepherd from the future.” Each of the jackets takes a day’s work to create, and the sisters can make 30 or 40 such garments in a season. “Our clothes go through so many levels of work, all this sewing and knitting, and people can see that,” she says.

Örnsbergsauktionen at Stockholm Design Week

If you live in Chicago, and you’re interested in buying the self-produced, often prototypical work of today’s younger design generation, you might head to Sam Vinz and Claire Warner’s pop-up Volume Gallery, or maybe to Wright auction house. If you’re in New York or London, it’s Phillips de Pury. But Stockholm? “We really didn’t have a place like this,” says Fredrik Paulsen, a young Swedish designer, RCA grad, and co-creator of the Örnsbergsauktionen, a self-produced auction of 48 unique contemporary items launching this Friday in conjunction with Stockholm Design Week.

Jason Miller’s Big Fade Dishes

If you haven’t been on the hunt lately for info about his iconic Antler Chandelier or Duct Tape Chair — or the trio of designs he’s contributed to his own lighting label, Roll & Hill — you might not have noticed that Jason Miller quietly updated his personal website last week, adding e-commerce and setting the stage for what he calls “Jason Miller Studio 2.0.” It’s been two years since Roll & Hill’s splashy New York launch, after all, and while Miller is still tethered to his growing company, he’s slowly begun finding the time to get back to his own independent projects. Hence the new site: “The idea was to take the emphasis off some things I thought were either dated or that I changed my opinion of slightly, and to refocus it on what I’m currently doing and plan on doing for next three or four or five years,” Miller says. One of those current projects is a new series of plates inspired by his recent trip to an airbrushing stand in Miami, where he bought his daughter a t-shirt featuring palm trees and rainbows. Miller told us the full story behind his Big Fade dishes here.
Archipelago House by Tham and Videgard Hansson Arkitekter (Husarö, Sweden) "Conceived as a lightweight construction in wood and glass, this summerhouse is built on Stockholm’s outer archipelago. The robust horizontal character of the black stained exterior corresponds to reflections of the Baltic Sea."


When Henry David Thoreau took to the woods in 1845 to begin his Walden experiment, it was more of an exercise in social deprivation than an outright attempt to recharge his creative batteries. But his flight from civilization does prove that he — and all the generations of writers and makers who have flocked to sylvan retreats for productivity’s sake — felt every bit as besieged by the distractions of modern life as we do nearly two centuries later. Paging through Arcadia (Gestalten, 2009), a catalog of contemporary architectural hideaways built among trees and mountains, all I could think about was how powerful a tool nature has always been in creative life: We need to be immersed in culture to inform the things we create, but we also desperately need escape to give our minds the space to process it.
A collection of works constructed in other cities that were too large to transport back to Portland in their entirety. All that remains are smaller parts.

Emily Counts, Artist

Portland is a place where, so the saying goes, the ’90s are alive and well. And it may very well be the only place that could have spawned an artist like Emily Counts, who deals with the self-reflective nostalgia of outdated technological innovations once found in her childhood home: dial-up telephones sculpted in porcelain and stoneware, a life-size fax machine, an interactive Mac SE computer made from walnut, casting epoxy, glass, porcelain, copper, and electrical wiring that acts as a two-way mirror after a button is pressed on the keyboard, lighting up the sculpture’s interior. “I’m interested in the mystery of these inventions that we seem to take for granted in our everyday life,” says the 35-year-old Seattle native, who we first spotted on photographer Carlie Armstrong’s blog Work.Place. “For me, there’s a thin line between technology and magic.”

Found Objects at RoAndCo

Sighted today on the blog of RoAndCo — the up-and-coming, ADC-award-winning design agency run by our friend Roanne Adams — a beautifully presented series of old treasures discovered under a client's floorboards. Writes Adams: "All too often our NYC paced lifestyles make it easy to forget that the buildings we walk by and work in every day have stories to tell. Our friends and clients at Projective Space recently found some treasures hidden under floorboards while renovating their new Lower East Side space, and we thought they were too beautiful to not share! We did a little research and found that both cigarette boxes date back to 1910 and feature artwork inspired by Owen Jones, a London-born architect who reproduced the ornate designs he found while traveling in Asia, the Middle East, North Africa, and India. We thought it was pretty funny that the design for the Turkish Cigarettes packaging clearly took its style cues from Egypt. The Juicy Fruit wrapper and matchbooks all date back to the 1920s. One of the matchbooks actually has an ad for life insurance: $5,000 worth of coverage for 5 bucks!" Click through for more images.

Another Country, Semley, England

When Paul de Zwart founded Another Country a little over a year ago, the name wasn’t meant to be quite so literal: A small furniture company that focuses on affordably priced, well designed, but not overly trendy wood pieces, Another Country initially wore its Made in the UK status like a badge of honor, crafting small runs by hand using FSC-certified timber from a tiny workshop in the Dorset village of Semley, two hours east of London. De Zwart, who co-founded Wallpaper with Tyler Brûlé in the mid-‘90s, had originally devised the idea for Another Country after searching in vain for an affordable three-legged stool that might fit as well in the country home he was refurbishing as it would in his London flat. The proportions and rounded peg details of the stool De Zwart ended up designing in collaboration with Dominic Parish — a furniture-maker in Semley and now De Zwart’s business partner — eventually informed a 10-piece collection that debuted to fanfare and high praise during 2010’s London Design Festival. Fast-forward to now, and the brand is thriving, having just released a second, more angular furniture series and recently expanded into small goods like pottery, candlesticks, clocks, and desktop accessories. But ask De Zwart where the hub of Another Country’s production now sits, and the answer might surprise you.
In the main room of the couple's tiny new one-bedroom apartment is a table Tuazon made for Perret for her birthday.

Oscar Tuazon, artist, and Dorothée Perret, editor

Like most good photographers, Daniel Trese is a chronic wanderer. Troll the internet for instances of his work for magazines like Pin-Up and Butt, and you’ll find visual essays — often accompanied by musings he wrote himself — that seem like off-the-cuff missives from the road. “Oh hi, I was just traveling from Paris to the Italian countryside and I managed to shoot these beautiful images for you,” is what a typical contribution from the Los Angeles–based photog seems to say. So we were pleased earlier this winter when Trese wrote to us with pictures he’d taken during a recent visit to the new Paris home of his friends, the art-world power couple Dorothée Perret — formerly of Purple and current editor of Paris, LA — and Oscar Tuazon, a onetime Seattleite who makes sculptural art in raw concrete and wood, and who’s about to become known as one of the stars of this year’s upcoming Whitney Biennial. The couple and their two girls had recently relocated after a fire burned down their Montmartre duplex, and Tuazon had built bits of the new house from pieces of the old. Trese, who was in Paris during Fashion Week shooting bloggers Tavi Gevinson and Diane Pernet for a Dutch magazine called Girls Like Us, shot both houses and sent us notes he'd jotted down from his day with the family.

Sam Baron’s Personal Collections

As a child growing up in the Jura mountains on a small farm on the border between France and Switzerland, the first thing designer Sam Baron remembers collecting were the stickers you scrape from the skins of fruits, heralding their arrival from someplace exotic — tomatoes from Mexico, say, or bananas from Guadeloupe. “For me, it was like a small souvenir from a trip I had never taken, an invitation to think about someplace else and another way of life,” Baron told me from his studio in Lisbon earlier this fall. Of course these days, the designer needn’t only imagine what life is like in faraway places: As head of the design department at Fabrica and a designer for outfits like Ligne Roset, Secondome Gallery, and Bosa Ceramics, Baron’s work has him constantly jetting from Paris to Milan to Treviso, where Fabrica is based; to Venice, where his glassworks are blown; and back to Lisbon, where he recently opened an office with Fabrica alums Gonçalo Campos and Catarina Carreiras, and where he lives with his wife.
What inspired your Primarily / Primary series (pictured)? “The full name is actually Primarily / Primary (after Carol Bove, Scott Burton and Sol Le Witt), three artists we were obsessing about during that time that seem present in this project in a very literal way. The Seattle textile artist Ashley Helvey helped us with amazing wool felts for the chairs, and her work definitely inspired us, too.”

ROLU, Designers

Before Matt Olson and Mike Brady of the Minneapolis studio ROLU began making boxy plywood furniture in 2010 — earning them serious contemporary design cred and a reputation for channeling Donald Judd — they spent seven years designing landscapes, minimalist geometric compositions in steel, wood, concrete, and grass. It was those projects, says Olson, that have helped define the group’s work since, from their love for earthy materials to their awareness of design’s larger experiential qualities. “A landscape is a dynamic thing,” Olson explains. “It has smells, it grows and dies and changes. That taught me to pay attention to what’s really happening with an object; the chair as a visual and functional thing is only the start.” In ROLU’s case, chairs can also interact with users, reference sculptures and performance art and drawings, or become performances themselves, often by way of little more than a few planes of OSB.