Sight Unseen OFFSITE officially opens for business today at noon! Please come by Hudson Mercantile, at 500 West 36th Street, to visit us! We’ll have amazing furniture, lighting, ceramics, and objects by near 100 of our favorite independent designers, delicious food in a café installation by Sunday Supper, a Print All Over Me living room that changes its pattern everyday, Instagrammable photo booths by RoAndCo and Katie Stout, a zen-like sanctuary created by The Principals for our partnership with Ford, and much much more. Hope to see you there!
One of the many great things about living in this post-Postmodern, cyber-gray area of the 2k10s, is that artists and designers can draw inspiration from pretty much any culture or period and come away with something new and exciting. There’s the brightly colored, geometric, “playful” route that has become so popular with today’s makers — and then there’s Brooklyn’s Chris Wolston. His approach to making is often from a primordial or primitive perspective, where senses of the handmade and the human spirit are easily discernable.
Months ago, when we first began chatting with Ford about what a partnership for our Sight Unseen OFFSITE event this weekend would look like, we alighted on a phrase Ford had used to talk about the spirit that their new Ford Edge vehicle embodies: They called it the new escapism, which involves designing pockets of personal space that might help to bring a sense of calm and balance to everyday life’s otherwise volatile pace. From that nugget evolved a framework for both the Dynamic Sanctuary installation we commissioned from The Principals (above) — which uses light to visualize users’ biorhythms, creating a calming oasis during the hectic schedule of New York design week — and the programming we’ve created surrounding it.
In March we broke the news about our second annual New York design week exhibition, Sight Unseen OFFSITE, which is free and open to the public and takes place this year at Hudson Mercantile, 500 W. 36th St. at 10th Ave., from May 15 to 18. But today we’re giving you an official preview of the show, which this year encompasses nearly 100 brands, designers, and studios creating everything from furniture to a photo booth to an immersive living room installation to a vegan-friendly daily lunch cafe.
A weekly Saturday recap to share with you our favorite links, discoveries, exhibitions, and more from the past seven days. This week we survey some amazing recent design-art by the likes of Scott Burton and Nick Van Woert (pictured above), then cast our gaze forward instead of back, previewing some of the furniture and accessories set to launch during New York design week from folks like Matter and Umbra Shift.
Copenhagen’s Etage Projects is one of the newer galleries on the scene, but it’s fast becoming one of our picks for the best. In the past two years, exhibition subjects have included SU favorites like Fredrik Paulsen, Jo Nagasaka, and Eva Berendes; the show currently on view includes Dutch designers Luuk van den Broek (who we’re working on a much larger story on!) and Sabine Marcelis, who with Brit Van Nerven is responsible for one of our favorite pieces of design from the past year. Marcelis’s newest project, called Voie Lights, is the first in a series of two investigations into the manipulation of light paths.
There’s this thing we do constantly at Sight Unseen that we don’t even realize we’re doing: We gravitate towards creatives who work in other disciplines, like art or fashion, only to find out they’ve either gone to school for or been massively inspired by design. Upon visiting, last June, the Oslo studio of sculptor Camilla Løw, whose work we’d seen on a few Tumblrs and fallen for, we quickly learned that she, too, fell into the latter camp — although she studied fine art, she spoke to us about architecture and her dreams of someday designing furniture, and showed us her prized books on Bauhaus jewelry and the work of Andrea Branzi. Some of her own pieces even function as vases or stools. But make no mistake, she is an artist, one who’s shown at galleries like Jack Hanley and Andrew Kreps, fairs like Frieze, and museums like the Astrup Fearnley. Read on to learn more about her process and ideas, and how design fits into it all.
In the lull between Milan and the frenzy of New York design week, it’s easy to become a bit myopic about what’s going on elsewhere in the design world. But we’d be remiss if we didn’t point out an exhibition happening right now with one of most fascinating concepts we’ve ever come across: At Chicago’s Volume Gallery last week, the Detroit ceramicist Anders Ruhwald opened “The Charred Room,” an exhibition that explores “the aftermath of a fire – objects as they should be, recognizable to an extent in shape and position in relation to one another – but charred. Slumped, melted and morphed the objects lose their direct references that create comfort, leaving the viewer with renderings of domestic detritus vaguely familiar.” We had the pleasure of speaking with Ruhwald about the lead-up and the process behind that exhibition earlier this year, on assignment for PIN-UP, and with the magazine’s permission, we’re excerpting that story here today.