“It was a weird thing for a kid growing up in a Baptist family to collect,” says Andy Coolquitt of the whiskey bottles that formed his earliest stockpile. “I was interested in the beautiful, sculptural shapes of the bottles and the graphic design of the labels. It was something we didn’t have in our house, so it was a bit exotic. I had them displayed in this little cave-like space off the garage.” The now Austin-based artist was raised in Mesquite, Texas, in what he describes as a “bland, boring suburban existence,” with little “interest in visual culture.” Rebellion came in the form of “having a whole lot of stuff around me and letting that stuff dictate my aesthetic.” Since then, Coolquitt has literally turned obsessive scavenging into an art form. Metal pipes and tubing, plastic lighters, aluminum cans — these are just a few of the found materials he repurposes and transforms, setting them up in conversation with each other and giving them a life-like, almost human quality.
Finnish graphic artist and designer Inka Järvinen began her career with a degree in fashion from Helsinki University of Art and Design in 2005. But after graduating, she quickly discovered she preferred designing in two dimensions to three. So what do you do when you hold a diploma in something that doesn’t suit your true passion? You follow those dreams back to school and get yourself a second degree! Armed with a BA in graphic design, Järvinen went on to co-found Tsto, a design agency whose hotshot clients include Artek, Levi’s, and Nokia, and she continues to work on solo projects in her spare time. We especially love her graphic prints, controlled yet unpredictable. They’re clean, and perfectly executed by someone that clearly understands the principles of balance, line, and pattern. We’ve excerpted some of our favorites after the jump.
Here at Sight Unseen, we have a pretty strict bias against kitsch. But every so often we stumble upon a project that, while somewhat gimmicky, injects so much fun into the daily routine and has such roots in formal and material investigation, that it’s impossible to deny its utter lovability. We discovered such a project from the Leicester, England–based creative duo 12 Dozen Egg Cups, whose initial outing to a pottery class at a local community center developed into a challenge to repurpose the ubiquitous egg cup 144 different ways in the space of 12 months.
With Labor Day around the corner (we’ll be taking off this Monday, along with the rest of America) we’re allowing ourselves to get just a tiny bit excited about the impending fall. Sweaters, the color navy, and the smell of burning leaves are right up there among our favorite things. Fall is also the time when we stop spending our waking hours wondering when we can next get to the beach and start spending them a bit more inside on the computer, shopping for knickknacks that will make the homes we’re about to spend a whole lot more time in even cozier. Our newest destination is The Game, a brand new shop that exists both online and in two Belgian outposts, founded and curated by Alexis Ryngaert, who’s also behind of one of our all-time favorite design galleries, Victor Hunt.
An offshoot of a 1940s-era French-Persian rug house, CC-Tapis is a contemporary design label founded in 2011 and based in Milan. Each rug is hand-crafted by Tibetan artisans in Nepal using natural fibers, dyes, and processes to create a high-quality work of art. The company occasionally collaborates with artists and includes more traditional degradé wool patterns in its archive but we fell hard for these perfectly styled, geometrically-inclined specimens from their most recent catalog. Shot by Lorenzo Gironi, the photos of the collection are a perfect blend of simple colors and minimal props that bring the rugs into the third dimension with style. Check out some of our favorites below.
Seven years ago, when Page Neal and Anna Bario decided to relocate from New York and San Francisco respectively to work on a sustainably-minded line of jewelry, they chose Philadelphia because it was both affordable and close to New York City. “The decision to move here was a complete whim,” Neal told me over iced tea in her kitchen when I visited her South Philly home earlier this summer. “I didn’t know anyone and neither did Anna.” But the gamble paid off: The city, it turned out, had a thriving jewelry district where casting, engraving, and stone-setting workshops have sat above storefronts for generations. “It’s an amazing place for makers because small-scale manufacturing is really accessible,” Neal says.
For some reason, this is the week we finally put our money where our mouth is: First we took home one of Fort Standard’s beautiful, mint-colored standing bowls, and then, on a whim last Wednesday, we picked up a risograph by Dutch visual artist Sigrid Calon, who we’ve had on our radar for quite some time. The hardest thing about buying Calon’s work is narrowing down your options to just one — each print, which is based on the Tilburg artist’s interpretation of an embroidery grid, is beautifully layered, using eight gradated colors, dots, and lines to achieve endless variations. Which one would you choose? See more after the jump.